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• What meed, Beneficence, thy care repays ?
What, Sympathy, thy still returning pang? And why his generous arm should Justice raise,
To dare the vengeance of a tyrant's fang?
• From thankless spite no bounty can secure ;
Or froward wish of discontent fulfil,
That knows not to regret thy bounded power,
But blames with keen reproach thy partial will. • To check th' impetuous all-involving tide
Of human woes, how impotent thy strife! High o'er thy mounds devouring surges ride,
Nor reek thy baffled toils, or lavish'd life. • The bower of bliss, the smile of love be thine,
Unlabour'd ease, and leisure's careless dream ; Such be their joys, who bend at Venus' shrine,
And own her charms beyond compare supreme.' Warm'd as she spoke, all panting with delight,
Her kindling beauties breathed triumphant bloom : And Cupids flutter'd round in circlets bright,
And Flora pour'd from all her stores perfume. • Thine be the prize,' exclaim'd th' enraptured youth,
Queen of unrivall’d charms, and matchless joy.' O blind to fate, felicity, and truth
But such are they, whom Pleasure's snares decoy. The sun was sunk; the vision was no more;
Night downward rush'd tempestuous, at the frown Of Jove's awaken'd wrath: deep thunders roar,
And forests howl afar and mountains groan. And sanguine meteors glare athwart the plain ;
With horror's scream the Ilian towers resound, Raves the hoarse storm along the bellowing main, And the strong earthquake rends the shuddering
(Written in 1757, and first published in 1766.) Laws, as we read in ancient sages, Have been like cobwebs in all ages. Cobwebs for little flies are spread, And laws for little folks are made; But if an insect of renown, Hornet or beetle, wasp or drone, Be caught in quest of sport or plunder, The flimsy fetter flies in sunder.
Your simile perhaps may please one With whom wit holds the place of reason : But can you prove that this in fact is Agreeable to life and practice ?
Then hear what in his simple way
Old Æsop told me t other day.
In days of yore, but (which is very odd)
Our author mentions not the period,
We mortal men, less given to speeches,
Allow'd the beasts sometimes to teach us.
But now we all are prattlers grown,
And suffer no voice but our own;
With us no beast has leave to speak,
Although his honest heart should break.
'Tis true, your asses and your apes,
And other brutes in human shapes,
And that thing made of sound and show
Which mortals have misnamed a beau,
(But in the language of the sky
Is call'd a two-legg'd butterfly)
Will make your very heartstrings ache
With loud and everlasting clack,
And beat your auditory drum,
Till you grow deaf, or they grow dumb.
But to our story we return:
'Twas early on a summer morn
A wolf forsook the mountain-den,
And issued hungry on the plain.
Full many a stream and lawn he pass'd,
And reach'd a winding vale at last ;
Where from a hollow rock he spied
The shepherds drest in flowery pride.
Garlands were strew'd, and all was gay,
To celebrate an holiday,
The merry tabor's gamesome sound
Provoked the sprightly dance around.
Hard by a rural board was rear'd,
On which in fair array appear'd
The peach, the apple, and the raisin,
And all the fruitage of the season.
But, more distinguished than the rest,
Was seen a wether ready drest,
That smoking, recent from the flame,
Diffused a stomach-rousing steam.
Our wolf could not endure the sight,
Courageous grew his appetite :
His entrails groan'd with tenfold pain,
He lick'd his lips, and lick'd again ;
At last, with lightning in his eyes,
He bounces forth, and fiercely cries,
• Shepherds, I am not given to scolding,
But now my spleen I cannot hold in.
By Jove! such scandalous oppression
Would put an elephant in passion.
You, who your flocks (as you pretend)
By wholesome laws from harm defend,
Which make it death for any beast,
How much soe'er by hunger press'd,
To seize a sheep by force or stealth,
For sheep have right to life and health ;
Can you commit, uncheck'd by shame,
What in a beast so much you blame?
What is a law, if those who make it
Become the forwardest to break it?
The case is plain : you would reserve
All to yourselves, while others starve.
Such laws from base self-interest spring,
Not from the reason of the thing—'
He was proceeding, when a rain Burst out:- And dares a wolf arraign
His betters, and condemn their measures,
And contradict their wills and pleasures?
We have establish'd laws, 'tis true,
But laws are made for such as you.
Know, sirrah, in its very nature
A law can't reach the legislature.
For laws, without a sanction join'd,
As all men know, can never bind:
But sanctions reach not us the makers,
For who dares punish us, though breakers?
'Tis therefore plain, beyond denial,
That laws were ne'er design'd to tie all,
But those, whom sanctions reach alone;
We stand accountable to none.
Besides, 'tis evident, that, seeing
Laws from the great derive their being,
They as in duty bound should love
The great, in whom they live and move,
And humbly yield to their desires :
'Tis just, what gratitude requires.
What suckling dandled on the lap
Would tear away its mother's pap ?
But hold—Why deign I to dispute
With such a scoundrel of a brute ?
Logic is lost upon a knave,
Let action prove the law our slave.'
An angry nod his will declared
To his gruff yeomen of the guard;
The full-fed mongrels, train'd to ravage,
Fly to devour the sbaggy savage.
The beast had now no time to lose
In chopping logic with his foes ;
* This argument,' quoth he,' has force,
And swiftness is my sole resource.'
He said, and left the swains their prey, And to the mountains scower'd away.
Παρά την σκίην, βάθυλλε,
BATHYLLUS, in yonder lone grove
All carelessly let us recline:
To shade us the branches above
Their leaf-waving tendrils combine ;
While a streamlet, inviting repose,
Soft-murmuring, wanders away,
And gales warble wild through the boughs:
Who there would not pass the sweet day?
MOTHER of mighty Rome's imperial line,
Delight of man, and of the powers divine,
Venus, all bounteous queen! whose genial power
Diffuses beauty in unbounded store
Through seas, and fertile plains, and all that lies
Beneath the starr'd expansion of the skies.
Prepared by thee, the embryo springs to day,
And opes its eyelids on the golden ray.
At thy approach, the clouds tumultuous fly,
And the hush'd storms in gentle breezes die;
Flowers instantaneous spring; the billows sleep;
A wavy radiance smiles along the deep :
At thy approach, th' un troubled sky refines,
And all serene Heaven's lofty concave shines.