« PreviousContinue »
Whence had you
this illustrious name?
From virtue and unblemish'd fame.
By birth the name alone descends ;
Your honour on yourself depends :
Think not your coronet can hide
Assuming ignorance and pride.
Learning by study must be won,
'Twas ne'er entail'd from son to son.
Superior worth your rank requires ;
for that mankind revere your sires :
If you degen'rate from your race,
Their merits heighten your disgrace.
A Carrier, ev'ry night and morn,
Would see his horses eat their corn :
This sunk the hostler's vails, 'tis true;
But then his horses had their due.
Were we so cautious in all cases,
Small gain would rise from greater places,
The manger now had all its measure ; He heard the grinding teeth with pleasure : When all at once confusion rung ; They snorted, jostled, bit, and fung. A Pack-horse turn'd his head aside; Poaming, his eye-balls swellid with pride.
Good gods! (says he) how hard's my lot! Is then my high descent forgot? Reduc'd to drudg'ry and disgrace, (A life unworthy of my race) Must I too bear the vile attacks Of ragged scrubs, and vulgar hacks? See scurvy Roan, that brute ill-bred, Dares from the
manger thrust my head! Shall I, who boast a noble line, On offals of these creatures dine? Kick'd by old BALL! so mean a foe! My honour suffers by the blow. NEWMARKET speaks my grandsire's fame, All jockies still revere his name : There ye irly are his triumphs tol', There all his massy plates enroll'a. Whene'er led forth upon the plain, You saw him with a liv'ry train ;
Returning too, with laurels crown'd,
You heard the drums and trumpets sound.
Let it then, sir, be understood,
Respect's my due ; for I have blood.
Vain-glorious fool! (the Carrier cry'd)
Respect was never paid to pride.
Know, 'twas thy giddy, wilful heart,
Reduc'd thee to this slavish part.
Did not thy headstrong youth disdain
To learn the conduct of the rein ?
Thus coxcombs, blind to real merit,
In vicious frolics fancy spirit.
What is't to me by whom begot,
Thou restiff, pert, conceited sot?
Your sires I rev'rence; 'tis their due :
But, worthless fool! what's that to you?
Ask all the Carriers on the road,
They'll say thy keeping's ill bestow'd.
Then vaunt no more thy noble race,
That neither mends thy strength nor pace.
What profits me thy boast of blood ?
An ass hath more intrinsic good.
By outward shew let's not be cheated ;
An ass should like an ass be treated.
The APE, the Parrot, and the JACKDAW.
A FABLE. -(WILKIE.)
I HOLD it rash at any time
To deal with fools dispos'd to rhime ;
Dissuasive arguments provoke
Their utmost rage as soon as spoke :
Encourage them, and for a day
Or two you're safe by giving way;
But when they find themselves betray'dhy
On you at last the blame is laid.
They hate and scorn you as a traitor,
The common lot of those who flatter.
But can a scribbler, sir, be shunn'd?
What will you do when teaz’d and dunn'd?
When watch'd, and caught, and closely pressid,
When complimented and caress'd :
When Bavius greets you with a bow,
" Sir, please to read a line or two."
If you approve and say they're clever,
“You make me happy, Sir, for ever.”
What can be done the case is plain,
No methods of escape remain :
You're fairly noos’d, and must consent
To bear, what nothing can prevent,
A coxcomb's anger; and your fate
Will be to suffer soon or late.
An Ape, that was the sole deliglit
Of an old woman day and night,
Indulg'd at table and in bed,
Attended like a child and fed ;
Who knew each trick, and twenty more
Than ever Monkey play'd before,
At last grew frantic, and would try,
In spite of nature's laws, to fly.
Oft from the window would he view
The passing swallows as they flew,
Observe them flutt'ring round the walls,
Or gliding o'er the smooth canals :
He too must fly, and cope with these ;
For this and nothing else would please.
Oft thinking from the window's height,
Three stories down, to take his fight;
He still was something loth to venture,
As tending strongly to the center;
And knowing that the least mistake
Might cost a limb, perhaps his neck,
The case, you'll own, was something nice;
He thought it best to ask advice;
And to the Parrot straight applying,
Allow'd to be a judge of flying,
He thus began : “ You'll think me rude,
Forgive me if I do intrude,
alone my doubts can clear
In something that concerns me near :
Do you imagine, if I try,
That I shall e'er attain to fly?
The project's whimsical, no doubt,
But, ere you censure, hear me out:
That liberty's our greatest blessing,
You'll grant me without further pressing ;
To live confin'd, 'tis plain and clear,
Is something very hard to bear :
This you must know, who for an age
Have been kept pris'ner in a cage,
Deny'd the privilege to soar,
With boundless freedom, as before.
I have, 'tis true, much greater scope
Than you, my friend, can ever hope;
I traverse all the house, and play
My tricks and gambols every day :
Oft with ny mistress in a chair
I ride abroad to take the air ;
Make visits with her, walk at large,
A maid or footman's constant charge.
Yet this is nothing, for I find
Myself still hamper'd and confin'd;
A grov'ling thing: I fain would rise
Above the earth, and mount the skies :
The meanest birds, and insects too,
This feat with greatest ease can do.
To that gay creature turn about,
That's beating on the pane without;
Ten days ago, perhaps but five,
A worm, it scarcely seem d alive :
By threads suspended, tough and small,
'Midst dusty cobwebs on a wall :
Now dress'd in all the different dies
in the ev'ning skies,
He soars at large, and on the wing
Enjoys with freedom all the spring;
Skims the fresh lakes, and rising sees
Beneath him far the loftiest trees;
And when he rests he makes his bow'r
The cup of some delicious flow'r.
Shall creatures so obscurely bred,
On niere corruption nurs'd and fed,
A glorious privilege obtain,
Which I can never hope to gain?
Shall I, like man's imperial race
In manners, customs, shape, and face,
Expert in all ingenious tricks,
To tumble, dance, and leap o'er sticks;
Who know to sooth and coax my betters,
And match a beau, at least in letters;
Shall I despair and never try
(What meanest insects can) to fly?
Say, mayn't I, without dread or care,
*At once commit me to the air,
And not fall down, and break my bones
Upon those hard and flinty stones?
Say, if to stir my limbs before
Will make me glide along or soar?
All things, they say, are learn’d by trying ;
No doubt it is the same with flying.
I wait your judgment with respect,
And shall proceed as you
Poor Poll, with gen'rous pity mov'd,
The Ape's fond rashness thus reprov'd;
For, tho' instructed by mankind,
Her tongue to candour still inclin'd:
My friend, the privilege to rise
Above the earth, and mount the skies,
Is glorious sure, and 'tis my fate
To feel the want on't with regret ;
A pris'ner to a.cage confin'd,
Tho' wing'd and of the flying kind.
the case is not the same,
You're quite terrestrial by your frame,
And should be perfectly .content
With your peculiar element:
You have no wings, I pray reflect,
To lift you, and your course direct;
Those arms of yours will never do,
Not twenty in the place of two ;
They ne'er can lift you from the ground,
For broad and long, they're thick and round;
And, therefore, if you choose tlıe way
To leap the window, as you say,
"Tis certain that you'll be the jest
Of every insect, bird, and beast,
lie batter'd by your fall
Just at the bottom of the wall.
Be prudent, then, improve the pow'rs
Which nature gives in place of ours;
You'll find them readily conduce
At once to pleasure and to use :
But airy whims and crotchets lead
To certain loss, and ne'er succeed.