« 上一页继续 »
Behind a hanging in a spacious room
(The richest work of Mortlake's noble loom),
They wait awhile, their wearied limbs to rest,
Till silence should invite them to their feast.
About the hour that Cynthia's silver light
Has reached the pale meridian of the night,
At last, the various supper being done,
It happened that the company was gone
Into a room remote, servants and all,
To please their noble fancies with a ball.
Our host leads forth the stranger, and does find
All fitted to the bounties of his mind.
Still on the table half-filled dishes stood,
And with delicious bits the floor was strewed.
The courteous mouse presents him with the best,
And both with fat varieties were blest.
The industrious peasant everywhere doth range,
And thanks the gods for his life's happy change.
Lo! in the midst of a well-freighted pie
They both at last glutted and wanton lie,
When see the sad reverse of prosperous fate,
And what fierce storms on mortal glories wait
With hideous noise, down the rude servants come,
Six dogs before ran barking into th' room.
The wretched gluttons fly with wild affright,
And hate the fulness which retards their flight;
Our trembling peasant wishes now in vain
That rocks and mountains covered him again.
O how the change of his poor life he curst!
'This, of all lives,' said he, 'is sure the worst.
Give me again, ye gods, my cave and wood;
With peace, let tares and acorns be my food.""
When beasts could speak, (the learned say
They still can do so every day,)
It seems, they had religion then,
As much as now we find in men.
It happen'd, when a plague broke out,
(Which therefore made them more devout,)
The king of brutes (to make it plain,
Of quadrupeds I only mean)
By proclamation gave command,
That every subject in the land
Should to the priest confess their sins;
And thus the pious Wolf begins:-
Good father, I must own with shame,
That often I have been to blame:
I must confess, on Friday last,
Wretch that I was! I broke my fast:
But I defy the basest tongue
To prove I did my neighbour wrong;
Or ever went to seek my food,
By rapine, theft, or thirst of blood.
The Ass approaching next, confess'd,
That in his heart he loved a jest:
wag he was, he needs must own,
And could not let a dunce alone:
Sometimes his friend he would not spare,
And might perhaps be too severe :
1 Dean Swift-born in Dublin, 1667; wrote "The Battle of the Books," "Gulliver's Travels," "Tale of a Tub," and several short essays, poems, etc.; died, 1745.
But yet the worst that could be said,
He was a wit both born and bred;
And, if it be a sin and shame,
Nature alone must bear the blame:
One fault he has, is sorry for't,
His ears are half a foot too short;
Which could he to the standard bring,
He'd show his face before the king:
Then for his voice, there's none disputes
That he's the nightingale of brutes.
The Swine with contrite heart allow'd, His shape and beauty made him proud: In diet was perhaps too nice, But gluttony was ne'er his vice: In every turn of life content, And meekly took what fortune sent : Inquire through all the parish round, A better neighbour ne'er was found; His vigilance might some displease; 'Tis true, he hated sloth like pease.
The mimic Ape began his chatter, How evil tongues his life bespatter; Much of the censuring world complain'd, Who said, his gravity was feign'd: Indeed, the strictness of his morals Engaged him in a hundred quarrels: He saw, and he was grieved to see't, His zeal was sometimes indiscreet: He found his virtues too severe For our corrupted times to bear; Yet such a lewd licentious age Might well excuse a stoic's rage. The Goat advanced with decent pace,
And first excused his youthful face;
Forgiveness begg'd that he appear'd
('Twas Nature's fault) without a beard.
'Tis true, he was not much inclined
To fondness for the female kind :
Not, as his enemies object,
From chance, or natural defect;
Not by his frigid constitution;
But through a pious resolution:
For he had made a holy vow
Of Chastity, as monks do now:
Which he resolved to keep for ever hence
And strictly too, as doth his reverence.
Apply the tale, and you shall find,
How just it suits with human kind.
Some faults we own; but can you guess?
-Why, virtue's carried to excess,
Wherewith our vanity endows us,
Though neither foe nor friend allows us.
The Lawyer swears (you may rely on't)
He never squeezed a needy client;
And this he makes his constant rule,
For which his brethren call him fool;
His conscience always was so nice,
He freely gave the poor advice;
By which he lost, he may affirm,
A hundred fees last Easter term;
While others of the learned robe,
Would break the patience of a Job.
No pleader at the bar could match
His diligence and quick dispatch;
Ne'er kept a cause, he well may boast,
Above a term or two at most.
The cringing knave, who seeks a place Without success, thus tells his case: Why should he longer mince the matter? He failed, because he could not flatter; He had not learn'd to turn his coat, Nor for a party give his vote: His crime he quickly understood; Too zealous for the nation's good: He found the ministers resent it, Yet could not for his heart repent it.
The Chaplain vows, he cannot fawn, Though it would raise him to the lawn: He passed his hours among his books; You find it in his meagre looks: He might, if he were worldly wise, Preferment get, and spare his eyes; But owns he had a stubborn spirit, That made him trust alone to merit; Would rise by merit to promotion; Alas! a mere chimeric notion.
The Doctor, if you will believe him, Confess'd a sin; (and God forgive him!) Call'd up at midnight, ran to save A blind old beggar from the grave: But see how Satan spreads his snares; He quite forgot to say his prayers. He cannot help it, for his heart, Sometimes to act the parson's part: Quotes from the Bible many a sentence, That moves his patients to repentance; And, when his medicines do no good, Supports their minds with heavenly food: At which, however well intended,