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Here, waiter! take my sordid ore,
Which lacqueys else might hope to win;
It buys, what courts have not in store;
It buys me freedom, at an inn.
Whoe'er has travelled life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have been, May sigh to think he still has found The warmest welcome at an inn.
FROM THE BEASTS' CONFESSION
When beasts could speak, (the learned say
They still can do so every day,)
It seems they had religion then,
As much as now we find in men.
It happened, when a plague broke out,
(Which therefore made them more devout,)
The king of brutes (to make it plain,
Of quadrupeds I only mean)
By proclamation gave command
That every subject in the land
Should to the priest confess their sins;
And thus the pious Wolf begins:-
'Good father, I must own with shame,
That often I have been to blame:
I must confess, on Friday last,
Wretch that I was! I broke my fast:
But I defy the basest tongue
To prove I did my neighbour wrong;
Or ever went to seek my food,
By rapine, theft, or thirst of blood.'
The Ass approaching next, confessed
That in his heart he loved a jest:
A wag he was, he needs must own,
And could not let a dunce alone:
Sometimes his friend he would not spare,
And might perhaps be too severe:
But yet the worst that could be said,
He was a wit both born and bred;
And, if it be a sin and shame,
Nature alone must bear the blame:
One fault he has, is sorry for't,
His ears are half a foot too short;
Which could he to the standard bring,
He'd show his face before the king:
Then for his voice, there's none disputes
That he's the nightingale of brutes.
The Swine with contrite heart allowed His shape and beauty made him proud: In diet was perhaps too nice, But gluttony was ne'er his vice: In every turn of life content, And meekly took what fortune sent: Inquire through all the parish round, A better neighbour ne'er was found; His vigilance might some displease; 'Tis true, he hated sloth like pease.
The mimic Ape began his chatter, How evil tongues his life bespatter; Much of the censuring world complained, Who said, his gravity was feigned: Indeed, the strictness of his morals Engaged him in a hundred quarrels: He saw, and he was grieved to see 't, His zeal was sometimes indiscreet: He found his virtues too severe For our corrupted times to bear; Yet such a lewd licentious age Might well excuse a stoic's rage.
The Goat advanced with decent pace, And first excused his youthful face; Forgiveness begged that he appeared ('Twas Nature's fault) without a beard. 'Tis true, he was not much inclined To fondness for the female kind: Not, as his enemies object, From chance, or natural defect;
Not by his frigid constitution;
But through a pious resolution:
For he had made a holy vow
Of chastity, as monks do now:
Which he resolved to keep for ever hence
And strictly too, as doth his reverence.
Apply the tale, and you shall find,
How just it suits with human kind.
Some faults we own; but can you guess?
-Why, virtues carried to excess,
Wherewith our vanity endows us,
Though neither foe nor friend allows us.
The Lawyer swears (you may rely on't)
He never squeezed a needy client;
And this he makes his constant rule,
For which his brethren call him fool;
His conscience always was so nice,
He freely gave the poor advice;
By which he lost, he may affirm,
A hundred fees last Easter term;
While others of the learned robe,
Would break the patience of a Job.
No pleader at the bar could match
His diligence and quick dispatch;
Ne'er kept a cause, he well may boast,
Above a term or two at most.
The cringing Knave, who seeks a place Without success, thus tells his case: Why should he longer mince the matter? He failed, because he could not flatter; He had not learned to turn his coat, Nor for a party give his vote: His crime he quickly understood; Too zealous for the nation's good: He found the ministers resent it, Yet could not for his heart repent it.
The Chaplain vows, he cannot fawn, Though it would raise him to the lawn: He passed his hours among his books; You find it in his meagre looks: He might, if he were worldly wise, Preferment get, and spare his eyes;
But owns he had a stubborn spirit,
That made him trust alone to merit;
Would rise by merit to promotion;
Alas! a mere chimeric notion.
The Doctor, if you will believe him, Confessed a sin; (and God forgive him!) Called up at midnight, ran to save A blind old beggar from the grave: But see how Satan spreads his snares; He quite forgot to say his prayers. He cannot help it, for his heart, Sometimes to act the parson's part: Quotes from the Bible many a sentence, That moves his patients to repentance; And, when his medicines do no good, Supports their minds with heavenly food: At which, however well intended, He hears the clergy are offended; And grown so bold behind his back, To call him hypocrite and quack.
I own the moral not exact,
Besides, the tale is false, in fact;
And so absurd, that could I raise up,
From fields Elysian, fabling Æsop,
I would accuse him to his face,
For libelling the four-foot race.
Creatures of every kind but ours
Well comprehend their natural powers,
While we, whom reason ought to sway,
Mistake our talents every day.
The Ass was never known so stupid
To act the part of Tray or Cupid;
Nor leaps upon his master's lap,
There to be stroked, and fed with pap,
As Esop would the world persuade;
He better understands his trade:
Nor comes whene'er his lady whistles,
But carries loads, and feeds on thistles.
Our author's meaning, I presume, is
A creature bipes et implumis;
Wherein the moralist designed
A còmpliment on human kind;
For here he owns, that now and then
Beasts may degenerate into men.
FROM VERSES ON THE DEATH OF DR. SWIFT
Vain human kind! fantastic race!
Thy various follies who can trace?
Self-love, ambition, envy, pride,
Their empire in our hearts divide.
Give others riches, power, and station,
'Tis all on me a usurpation.
I have no title to aspire;
Yet, when you sink, I seem the higher.
In Pope I cannot read a line
But with a sigh I wish it mine;
When he can in one couplet fix
More sense than I can do in six,
It gives me such a jealous fit
I cry, Pox take him and his wit!'
I grieve to be outdone by Gay
In my own humorous biting way.
Arbuthnot is no more my friend,
Who dares to irony pretend,
Which I was born to introduce,
Refined it first, and showed its use.
St. John, as well as Pultney, knows,
That I had some repute for prose;
And, till they drove me out of date,
Could maul a minister of state.
If they have mortified my pride,
And made me throw my pen aside:
If with such talents Heaven has blessed 'em,
Have I not reason to detest 'em?
Suppose me dead; and then suppose
A club assembled at the Rose;
Where, from discourse of this and that,
I grow the subject of their chat.