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The shouts of men, the women in dismay, With shrieks augment the terror of the day. The ducks that heard the proclamation cry’d, And fear'd a per'ecution might betide, Full twenty mile from town their voyage take, Obscure in rushes of the liquid lake. The geese fly o’er the barn ; the bees in arms Drive headlong from their waxen cells in swarms. Jack Straw at London-stone, with all his rout, Struck not the city with so loud a sout; Not when with English hate they did pursue A Frenchman, or an unbelieving Jew: Not when the welkin rung with one and all; And echoes bounded back from Fox's hall : Earth seem'd to sink beneath, and heaven above to fall. With might and main they chac'd the murderous fox, With brazen trumpets, and inflated box, To kindle Mars with military sounds, Nor wanted horns t'inspire sagacious hounds.
But see how Fortune can confound the wise, And, when they least expect it, turn the dice. The captive-cock, who scarce could draw his breath, And lay within the very jaws of death ; Yet in this agony his fancy wrought, And fear fupply'd him with this happy thought : Your's is the prize, victorious prince, said he, The vicar my defeat, and all the village see. Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may, And bid the churls that envy you the
Call back their mungril curs, and cease their cry,
See, fools, the shelter of the wood is'nigh,
And Chanticleer in your despite shall die,
He shall be pluck'd and eaten to the bone.
'Tis well advis’d, in faith it shall be done ;
This Reynard said: but, as the word he spoke,
The prisoner with a spring from prison broke :
Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might,
And to the neighbouring maple wing’d his flight;
Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld,
He cursd the Gods, with fame and sorrow fill'd;
Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time,
For plotting an unprofitable crime ;
Yet, mastering both, th'artificer of lyes
Renews th’affault, and his last battery tries.
Though I, said he, did ne'er in thought offend,
How justly may my lord suspect his friend!
Th’appearance is against me, I confess,
Who seemingly have put you in distress :
You, if your goodness does not plead my càufe,
May think I broke all hospitable laws,
To bear you from your palace-yard by might,
And put your noble person in a fright:
This, since you take it ill, I must repent,
Though, heaven can witness, with no bad intent:
I practis'd it, to make
With double pleasure, first prepar'd by fear.
So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
Forc'd (for his good) to seeming violence,
Yet mean his facred person not the least offence.
Deicend ; so help me Jove as you shall find
That Reynard comes of no dissembling kind.
Nay, quoth the cock; but I beshrew us both,
If I believe a faint upon his oath :
An honest man may take a knave's advice,
But idiots only may be cozen'd twice :
Once warn’d is well bewar’d; not flattering lies
Shall footh me more to sing with winking eyes,
And open mouth, for fear of catching flies.
Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim,
When he should see, has he deserv’d to swim ?
Better, fir cock, let all contention cease,
Come down, faid Reynard, let us treat of peace.
A peace with all my soul, said Chanticleer;
But, with your favour, I will treat it here :
And, left the truce with treason should be mixt,
'Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt.
THE M O R A L.
In this plain fable
Of negligence, and fond credulity :
And learn besides of flatterers to beware,
Then most pernicious when they speak too fair.
The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply ;
The truth is moral, though the tale a lye.
Who spoke in parables, I dare not say ;
But sure he knew it was a pleasing way,
Sound sense, by plain example, to convey.
And in a heathen author we may find,
That pleasure with instruction should be join'd;
So ake the corn, and leave the chaff behind.
A V I S I O N.
Now turning from the wintery figns, the sun
His course exalted through the Ram had run,
And, whirling up the skies, his chariot drove
Through Taurus and the lightsome realms of love;
Where Venus from her orb descends in showers,
To glad the ground, and paint the fields with flowers :
When first the tender blades of grass appear,
And buds, that yet the blast of Eurus fear,
Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clothe the year:
Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains,
Make the green blood to dance within their veins :
Then, at their call embolden’d, out they come,
And swell the germs, and burst the narrow room ;
Broader and broader yet, their blooms display.
Salute the welcome sun, and entertain the day.
Then from their breathing souls the sweets repair,
To scent the skies, and purge th’unwholsome air :
Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song,
Spring issues out, and leads the jolly months along.
In that sweet season, as in bed I lay,
And fought in sleep to pass the night away,
I turn'd my weary'd fide, but still in vain,
Though full of youthfui health, and void of pain :
Cares I had none, to keep me from my
For love had never enter'd in my breast;
I wanted nothing fortune could supply,
Nor did she slumber till that hour deny.
I wonder'd then, but after found it true,
Much joy had dry'd away the balmy dew :
Seas would be pools, without the brushing air,
To curl the waves : and fure some little care
Should weary nature so, to make her want repair.
When Chanticleer the second watch had fung,
Scorning the scorner fieep, from bed I sprung ;
And, dressing, by the moon, in loose array,
Pass’d out in open air, preventing day,
And fought a goodly grove, as fancy led my way.
Straight as a line in beauteous order stood
Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood;
Fresh was the grass beneath, and every tree
At distance planted in a due degree,
Their branching arms in air with equal space
Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace :-
And the new leaves on every bough were seen,
Some ruddy colourd, fome of lighter green.
The painted birds, companions of the spring;
Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to fing-
and ears receiv’d a like delight, Enchanting music, and a charming fight. On Philomel I fix'd
whole desire ;
And listen'd for the queen of all the quire ;
Fain would I hear her heavenly voice to fing;
And wanted yet an omen to the spring.