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.
Demetrius and MenanderIf Esop's name at any time
I bring into this measured rhyme,
To whom I've paid whate'er I owe,
Let all men by these presents know.
I with th' old fabulist make free,
To strengthen my authority.
As certain sculptors of the age,
The more attention to engage,
And raise their price, the curious please,
By forging of Praxiteles;
And in like manner they purloin
A Myro to their silver coin.
'Tis thus our fables we can smoke,
As pictures for their age bespoke:
For biting envy, in disgust
To new improvements, favors rust;
But now a tale comes in of course,
Which these assertions will enforce.
Demetrius, who was justly call'd
The tyrant, got himself install'd,
And held o'er Athens impious sway.
The crowd, as ever is the way,
Came, eager rushing far and wide,
And, "Fortunate event!" they cried.
The nobles came, the throne address'd'
The hand by which they were oppress'd
They meekly kiss'd, with inward stings
Of anguish for the face of things.
The idlers also, with the tribe
Of those who to themselves prescribe
Their ease and pleasure, in the end
Came sneaking, lest they should offend.
Amongst this troop Menander hies,
So famous for his comedies
(Him, though he was not known by sight,
The tyrant read with great delight,
Struck with the genius of the bard.)
In flowing robes bedaub'd with nard,
And saunt'ring tread he came along,
Whom, at the bottom of the throng,
When Phalereus beheld, he said:
" How dares that fribble show his head
In this our presence ?" he was told-
" It is Menander you behold."
Then, changed at once from fierce to bland,
He call'd, and took him by the hand.
The Thief and the TravellrsTwo men equipp'd were on their way;
One fearful; one without dismay,
An able fencer. As they went,
A robber came with black intent;
Demanding, upon pain of death,
Their gold and silver in a breath.
At which the man of spirit drew,
And instantly disarm'd and slew
The Thief, his honor to maintain.
Soon as the rogue was fairly slain,
The tim'rous chap began to puff,
And drew his sword, and stripp'd in buff-
"Leave me alone with him! stand back!
I'll teach him whom he should attack."
Then he who fought, " I wish, my friend,
But now you'd had such words to lend;
I might have been confirm'd the more,
Supposing truth to all you swore;
Then put your weapon in the sheath,
And keep your tongue within your teeth,
Though you may play an actor's part
On them who do not know your heart,
I, who have seen this very day
How lustily you ran away,
Experience when one comes to blows
How far your resolution goes."
This narrative to those I tell
Who stand their ground when all is well;
But in the hour of pressing need
Abash'd, most shamefully recede.
The Bald Man and the FlyAs on his head she chanced to sit,
A Man's bald pate a Gadfly bit;
He, prompt to crush the little foe,
Dealt on himself a grievous blow:
At which the Fly, deriding said,
" You that would strike an insect dead
For one slight sting, in wrath so strict,
What punishment will you inflict
Upon yourself, who was so blunt
To do yourself this gross affront ?"-
"0," says the party, "as for me,
I with myself can soon agree.
The spirit of th' intention's all;
But thou, detested cannibal!
Blood-sucker! to have thee secured
More would I gladly have endured."
What by this moral tale is meant
Is-those who wrong not with intent
Are venial; but to those that do
Severity, I think, is due.
The Man and the AssA certain Man, when he had made
A sacrifice, for special aid
To Hercules, and killed a swine,
Did for his Ass's share assign
All the remainder of the corn;
But he, rejecting it with scorn,
Thus said: "I gladly would partake-
But apprehend that life's at stake;
For he you fatted up and fed
With store of this, is stuck and dead."
Struck with the import of this tale,
I have succeeded to prevail
Upon my passions, and abstain,
From peril of immod'rate gain.
But, you will say, those that have come
Unjustly by a handsome sum,
Upon the pillage still subsist-
Why, if we reckon up the list,
You'll find by far the major part
Have been conducted in the cart:
Temerity for some may do,
But many more their rashness rue.
The Buffoon and Country-fellowIn ev'ry age, in each profession,
Men err the most by prepossession;
But when the thing is clearly shown,
Is fairly urged, and fully known,
We soon applaud what we deride.
And penitence succeeds to pride.
A certain noble, on a day,
Having a mind to show away,
Invited by reward the mimes
And play'rs and tumblers of the times,
And built a large commodious stage
For the choice spirits of the age:
But, above all, amongst the rest
There came a genius who profess'd
To have a curious trick in store
That never was performed before.
Through all the town this soon got air,
And the whole house was like a fair;
But soon his entry as he made,
Without a prompter or parade,
'Twas all expectance and suspense,
And silence gagg'd the audience.
He, stooping down and looking big,
So wondrous well took off a pig,
All swore 'twas serious, and no joke,
For that, or underneath his cloak
He had concealed some grunting elf,
Or was a real hog himself
A search was made-no pig was found-
With thund'ring claps the seats resound,
And pit, and box, and gall'ries roar
With--" 0 rare! bravo !" and " encore."
Old Roger Grouse, a country clown,
Who yet knew something of the town,
Beheld the mimic of his whim,
And on the morrow challenged him
Declaring to each beau and belle
That he this grunter would excel.
The morrow came-the crowd was greater--
But prejudice and rank ill-nature
Usurp'd the minds of men and wenches,
Who came to hiss and break the benches.
The mimic took his usual station,
And squeak'd with general approbation;
Again "Encore! encore!" they cry-
" 'Tis quite the thing, 'tis very high."
Old Grouse conceal'd, amidst this racket,
A real pig beneath his jacket-
Then forth he came, and with his nail
He pinch'd the urchin by the tail.
The tortured pig, from out his throat,
Produced the genuine nat'ral note.
All bellow'd out 'twas very sad!
Sure never stuff was half so bad.
" That like a pig!" each cried in scoff;
"Pshaw! nonsense! blockhead! off! off! off!"
The mimic was extoll'd, and Grouse
Was hiss'd, and catcall'd from the house.
" Soft ye, a word before I go,"
Quoth honest Hodge; and stooping low,
Produced the pig, and thus aloud
Bespoke the stupid partial crowd:
"Behold, and learn from this poor cratur,
How much you critics know of natur!"
To ParticuloAs yet my muse is not to seek,
But can from fresh materials speak;
And our poetic fountain springs
With rich variety of things.
But you're for sallies short and sweet;
Long tales their purposes defeat.
Wherefore, thou worthiest, best of men,
Particulo, for whom my pen
Immortal honour will insure,
Long as a rev'rence shall endure
For Roman learning-if this strain
Cannot your approbation gain,
Yet, yet my brevity admire,
Which may the more to praise aspire,
The more our poets now-a-days
Are tedious in their lifeless lays.
The Two Bald MenAs on his way a Bald-pate went,
He found a comb by accident;
Another, with a head as bare,
Pursued, and hollow'd for a share.
The first produced the prize, and cried,
" Good Providence was on our side;
But by the strange caprice of Fate,
We 're to no purpose fortunate;
And, as the proverb says, have found
A hobnail, for a hundred pound."
They by this tale may be relieved
Whose sanguine hopes have been deceived.
Prince the PiperA little, friv'lous, abject mind,
Pleased with the rabble, puff'd with wind,
When once, as fast as pride presumes,
Itself with vanity it plumes,
Is by fond lightness brought with ease
To any ridicule you please.
One Prince, a piper to the play,
Was rather noted in his way,
As call'd upon to show his art,
Whene'er Bathyllus did his part,
He being at a certain fair,
(I do not well remember where,)
While they pull'd down the booth in haste,
Not taking heed, his leg displaced,
He from the scaffold fell so hard-
(Would he his pipes had rather marr'd!
Though they, poor fellow! were to him
As dear almost as life and limb).
Borne by the kind officious crowd,
Home he's conducted, groaning loud.
Some months elapsed before he found
Himself recover'd of his wound:
Meantime, according to their way,
The droll frequenters of the play
Had a great miss of him, whose touch
The dancers' spirits raised so much.
A certain man of high renown
Was just preparing for the town
Some games the mob to entertain,
When Prince began to walk again;
Whom, what with bribes and pray'rs, his grace?
Prevail'd upon to show his face
In this performance, by all means-
And while he waits behind the scenes,
A rumour through the house is spread,
By certain, that "the piper's dead."
Others cried out, "The man is here,
And will immediately appear."
The curtain draws, the lightnings flash,
The gods speak out their usual trash.
An ode, not to the Piper known,
Was to the chorus leader shown,
Which he was order'd to repeat,
And which was closed with this conceit--
"Receive with joy, O loyal Rome,
Thy Prince just rescued from his tomb."
They all at once stand up and clap,
At which my most facetious chap
Kisses his hand, and scrapes and bows
To his good patrons in the house.
First the equestrian order smoke
The fool's mistake, and high in joke,
Command the song to be encored;
Which ended, flat upon the board
The Piper falls, the knights acclaim;
The people think that Prince's aim
Is for a crown of bays at least.
Now all the seats perceived the jest,
And with his bandage white as snow,
White frock, white pumps, a perfect beauty
Proud of the feats he had achieved,
And these high honours he received,
With one unanimous huzza,
Poor Prince was kick'd out of the play.
OpportunityBald, naked, of a human shape,
With fleet wings ready to escape,
Upon a razor's edge his toes,
And lock that on his forehead grows-
Him hold, when seized, for goodness' sake
For Jove himself cannot retake
The fugitive when once he's gone.
The picture that we here have drawn
Is Opportunity so brief.-
The ancients, in a bas-relief,
Thus made an effigy of Time,
That every one might use their prime;
Nor e'er impede, by dull delay,
Th' effectual business of to-day.
The Bull and the CalfA Bull was struggling to secure
His passage at a narrow door,
And scarce could reach the rack of hay,
His horns so much were in his way.
A Calf officious, fain would show
How he might twist himself and go.
"Hold thou thy prate; all this," says he,
Ere thou wert calved was known to me."
He, that a wiser man by half
Would teach, may think himself this Calf.
The Old Dog and the HuntsmanA Dog, that time and often tried,
His master always satisfied;
And whensoever he assail'd,
Against the forest-beasts prevail'd
Both by activity and strength,,
Through years began to flag at length
One day, when hounded at a boar,
His ear he seized, as heretofore;
But with his teeth, decay'd and old,
Could not succeed to keep his hold.
A t which the huntsman, much concern'd,
The vet'ran huff'd, who thus return'd:
" My resolution and my aim,
Though not my strength, are still the same;
For what I am if I am chid,
Praise what I was, and what I did."
Philetus, you the drift perceive
Of this, with which I take my leave.