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Next post some fatal news shall tell:
God send my Cornish friends be well!
Unhappy Widow, cease thy tears,
Nor feel affliction in thy fears;
Let not thy stomach be suspended ;
Eat now, and weep when dinner's ended;
And when the butler clears the table,
For thy desert I'll read my Fable.
Betwixt her swagging pannier's load
A Farmer's Wife to market rode,
And, jogging on with thoughtful care,
Summ’d up the profits of her ware;
When, starting from her silver dream,
Thus far and wide was heard a scream.
That Raven on yon' left-hand oak
(Curse on his ill-betiding croak !)
Bodes me no good. No more she said,
poor blind Ball, with stumbling tread
Fell prone; o'erturn’d the pannier lay,
And her mash'd eggs bestrow'd the way.
She, sprawling in the ye low road,
Rail'd, swore, and curs’d. Thou croaking toad,
A murrain take thy whoreson throat !
I knew misfortune in the note.
Dame, quoth the Raven, spare your oaths,
Unclench your fist, and wipe your clothes.
But why on me those curses thrown?
Goody, the fault was all your own;
For had you laid this brittle ware
On Dun, the old sure-footed mare,
Tho' all the Ravens of the Hundred,
With croaking had your tongue out-thund'red,
Sure-footed Dun had kept her legs,
And you, good Woman, sav'd your eggs.
In other men we faults can spy,
And blame the mote that dims their eye;
Each little speck and blemish find,
To our own stronger errors blind.
A Turkey, tir'd of common food,
Forsook the barn, and sought the wood;
Behind her ran an infant train,
Collecting here and there a grain.
Draw near, my birds, the mother crieza
This hill delicious fare supplies;
Behold the busy negro race,
See millions blacken all the place!
Fear not; like me with freedom eat;
An Ant is most delightful meat.
How bless’d, how envy'd were our life,
Could we but 'scape the poult'rer's knife!
But man, curs’d man, on Turkeys preys,
And Christmas shortens all our days.
Sometimes with oysters we combinc,
Sometimes assist the sav'ry chine;
From the low peasant to the lord,
The Turkey smokes on ev'ry board.'
Sure men for gluttony are curst,
Of the sev'n deadly sins the worst.
An Ant, who climb'd beyond his reach,
Thus answer'd from the neighb'ring beech:
Ere you remark another's sin,
Bid thy own conscience look within;
Controul thy more voracious bill,
Nor for a breakfast nations kill.
The Man to Jove his suit preferr’d;
He begg'd a wife: his pray'r was heard.
Jove wonder'd at his bold addressing;
For how precarious is the blessing !
A wife he takes; and now for heirs
Again he worries Heav'n with pray'rs,
Jove nods assent: two hopeful boys
And a fine girl reward his joys.
No more solicitous he grew,
And set their future lives in view;
He saw that all respect and duty
Were paid to wealth, to pow'r, and beauty.
Once more, he cries, accept my pray’r;
Make my lov'd progeny thy care:
Let my first hope, my fav’rite boy,
All Fortune's richest gifts enjoy:
My next with strong ambition fire;
May favour teach him to aspire,
Till he the step of pow'r ascend,
And courtiers to their idol bend.
With ev'ry grace, with ev'ry charm,
My daughter's perfect features arm.
If Heav'n approve, a Father's bless'd.
Jove smiles, and grants his full request.
The first, a miser at the heart,
Studious of ev'ry, griping art,
Heaps hoards on hoards with anxious pain,
And all his life devotes to gain.
He feels nojoy, his cares increase,
He neither wakes nor sleeps in peace;
In fancy.'d want (a wretch complete)
He starves, and yet he dares not eat.
The next to sudden honours grew;
The thriving art of courts he knew;
He reach'd the height of pow'r and place,
Then fell the victim of disgrace.
Beauty with early bloom supplies
His daughter's cheek, and points her eyes.
The vain coquette each suit disdains,
And glcries in her lover's pains.
With age she fades, each lover flies;
Contemn'd, forlorn, she pines and dies.
When Jove the Father's grief survey'd,
And heard him Heav'n and Fate upbraid,
Thus spoke the God: By outward show
Men judge of happiness and woe:
Shall ignorance of good and ill
Dare to direct th'eternal will ?
Seek virtue; and of that possest,
To Providence resign the rest.
The learned, full of inward pride,
The fops of outward show deride;
The fop, with learning at defiance,
Scoffs at the pedant and the science:
The Don, a formal solemn strutter,
Despises Monsieur's airs and flutter;
While Monsieur mocks the formal fool,
Who looks, and speaks, and walks, by rule.
Britain, a medley of the twain,
As pert as France, as grave as Spain,
In fancy wiser than the rest,
Laughs at them both, of both the jest.
Is not the Poet's chiming close
Censur'd by all the sons of Prose ?