Prologue, To ParticuloWHEN I resolved my hand to stay
For this, that others might have play,
On reconsidering of my part
I soon recanted in my heart:
For if a rival should arise,
How can he possibly devise
The things that I have let alone,
Since each man's fancy is his own,
And likewise colouring of the piece ?"-
It was not therefore mere caprice,
But strong reflection made me write:
Wherefore since you in tales delight,
Which I, in justice, after all,
Not Esop's, but Esopian call;
Since he invented but a few;
I more, and some entirely new,
Keeping indeed the ancient style,
With fresh materials all the while.
As at your leisure you peruse
The fourth collection of my muse,
That you may not be at a stand,
A fifth shall shortly come to hand;
'Gainst which, if as against the rest,
Malignant cavillers protest,
Let them carp on, and make it plain
They carp at what they can't attain.
My fame's secure, since I can show
How men of eminence like you
My little book transcribe and quote,
As like to live of classic note.
It is th' ambition of my pen
To win th' applause of learned men.