Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

4?

But when possessid of Fortune's store,
The Spectre haunts him more and more;
Sets want and misery in view,
Bold thieves, and all the murd'ring crew;
Alarms him with eternal frights,
Infests his dream, or wakes his nights.
How shall he chase this hideous guest?
Pow'r may perhaps protect his rest.
To pow'r he rose. Again the Sprite
Besets him morning, noon, and night ;
Talks of Ambition's tott'ring seat,
How Envy persecutes the great,
Of rival hate, of treach'rous friends,
And what disgrace his fall attends.

The court he quits to fly from Care,
And seeks the peace of rural air:
His groves, his fields amus'd his hours;
He prun'd his trees, he rais'd his flow'rs.
But Care again his steps pursues,
Warns him of blasts, of blighting dews,
Of plund'ring insects, snails, and rains,
And droughts that starv'd the labour'd plains,
Abroad, at home, the Spectre's there;
In vain we seek to fly from Care.

At length he thus the Ghost addrest:
Since thou must be my constant guest,
Be kind, and follow me no more;
For Care, by right, should go before.

[ocr errors][merged small]

FABLE XXXII.

THE TWO OWLS AND THE SPARROW.

[ocr errors]

Two formal Owls together sat,
Conferring thus in solemn ehat:

How is the modern taste decay'd!
Where's the respect to Wisdom paid ?
Our worth the Grecian sages knew;
They gave our sires the honour due;
They weigh’d the dignity of fowls,
And pry'd into the depth of Owls.
Athens, the seat of learned fame,
With gen'ral voice rever'd our name:
On merit title was conferr'd,
And all ador'd th' Athenian bird.

Brother, you reasou well, replies
The solemn mate, with half-shut eyes.
Right. Athens was the seat of learning,
And truly Wisdom is discerning.
Besides, on Pallas' helm we sit,
The type and ornament of wit:

alas ! we're quite neglected, And a pert Sparrow's more respected.

A Sparrow, who was lodg'd beside, O’erhears them sooth each other's pride, And thus he nimbly vents his heat:

Who meets a fool must find conceit,

But now,

20

30

I grant you were at Athens grac'd,
And on Minerva's helm were plac'd;
But ev'ry bird that wings the sky,
Except an Owl, can tell you why.
From hence they taught their schools to know
How false we judge by outward show;
That we should never looks esteem,
Since fools as wise as you might seem.
Would ye contempt and scorn avoid,
Let your vain glory be destroy'd;
Humble your arrogance of thought;
Pursue the ways by Nature taught;
So shall you find delicious fare,
And grateful farmers praise your care;
So shall sleek mice your chase reward,
And no keen cat find more regard.

40

FABLE XXXIII.

THE COURTIER AND PROTEUS.

Whene'er a Courtier's out of place,
The country shelters his disgrace;
Where, doom'd to exercise and health,
His house and gardens own his wealth.
He builds new schemes, in hope to gain
The plunder of another reign ;
Like Philip's son, would fain be doing,
And sighs for other realms to ruin.

JO

20

As one of the e (without his wand)
Pensive along the winding strand
Employ'd the solitary hour,
In projects to regain his pow'r,
The waves in spreading circles ran,
Proteus arose, and thus began.

Came you from court? for in your mien
A self-important air is seen.

He frankly own'd his friends had trick'd him,
And how he fell his party's victim.

Know, says the God, by matchless skill
I change to ev'ry shape at will;
But yet, I'm told, at court you see
Those who presume to rival me.

Thus said: a snake with hideous trail,
Proteus extends his scaly mail..

Know, says the Man, tho' proud in place,
All Courtiers are of reptile race.
Like you, they take that dreadful form,
Bask in the sun, and fly the storm ;
With malice hiss, with envy glote,
And for convenience change their coat;
With new-got lustre rear their head,
Tho' on a dunghill born and bred.

Sudden the God a lion stands;
He shakes his mane, he spurns the sands;
Now a fierce lynx, with fiery glare,
A wolf, an ass, a fox, a bear,

30

40

Had I ne'er liv'd at court, he cries,
Such transformation might surprise;
But there, in quest of daily game,
Each able Courtier acts the same.
Wolves, lions, lynxes, while in place,
Their friends and fellows are their chase.
They play the bear's and fox's part,
Now rob with force, now steal with art :
They sometimes in the senate bray,
Or, chang'd again to beasts of prey,
Down from the lion to the ape,
Practise the frauds of ev'ry shape.
So said: upon the God he flies,
In cords the struggling captive ties.

Now, Proteus! now (to truth compell'd)
Speak, and confess thy art excell'd.
Use strength, surprise, or what you will,
The Courtier finds evasions still;
Not to be bound by any ties,
And never forc'd to leave his lies.

50

56

FABLE XXXIV,

THE MASTIFFS.

Those who in quarrels interpose
Must often wipe a bloody nose.

A Mastiff, of true English blood,
Lov'd fighting better than his food.

« ПредишнаНапред »