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Epilogue

A STATUE of great cost and fame
Th' Athenians raised to Esop's name,
Him setting on th' the eternal base,
Whom servile rank could not disgrace;
That they might teach to all makind
The way to honor's unconfined,
That glory's due to rising worth,
And not alone to pomp and birth.
Since then another seized the post
Lest I priority should boast,
This pow'r and praise was yet my own,
That he should not excel alone:
Nor is this Envy's jealous ire,
But Emulation's genuine fire.
And if Rome should approve my piece,
She'll soon have more to rival Greece.
But should th' invidious town declare
Against my plodding over-care,
They cannot take away, nor hurt
Th' internal conscience of desert.
If these my studies reach their aim,
And, reader, your attention claim,
If your perception fully weighs
The drift of these my labour'd lays;
Then such success precludes complaint.
But if the Picture which I paint
Should happen to attract their sight,
Whom luckless Nature brought to light,
Who scorn the labours of a man,
And when they carp do all they can;
Yet must this fatal cause to mourn
With all its bitterness be borne,
Till fortune be ashamed of days,
When genius fails, and int'rest sways.

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