ePub 版

failed in finding a Monmouth or a Burlington to soothe his wounded feelings. Moreover, the profits from his works, which enabled him, in spite of losses, to die worth a considerable sum, could not have been inconsiderable.

The Fables are Gay's most extensive effort. His remaining works consist of Epistles, Town Eclogues, Tales, and Miscellaneous Pieces. The Epistles are sprightly and familiar. One of them, A Welcome from Greece, addressed to Pope on his having finished his translation of the Iliad, has an unexpected vivacity and lyric movement. It is in an ottava-rima earlier than Frere or Byron ; and exhibits the poet's contemporaries assembling to greet him after his six years' toil. Prior, Congreve, Steele, Chandos, Bathurst, few of the illustrious names of the age are absent. Nor are the other sex unrepresented :—

'What lady's that, to whom he gently bends?

Who knows not her? ah! those are Wortley's eyes!
How art thou honoured, numbered with her friends!

For she distinguishes the good and wise.
The sweet-tongued Murray near her side attends;

Now to my heart the glance of Howard flies;
Now Hervey, fair of face, I mark full well,

With thee, Youth's youngest daughter, sweet Lepell.'

As to Gay's Town Eclogues, they are neither better nor worse than Lady Mary's own; and probably had a like origin, ridicule of Ambrose Philips. His Tales have the indelicacy but not the graceof Prior's. Of his songs and ballads, that of Sweet William's Farewell to Black-Eyed Susan is too well-known to need description; and too great a favourite to be omitted from any anthology. Damon and Cupid and The Lady's Lamentation are other examples of that singing faculty which Gay possessed in so degree, and which contributed so triumphantly to the success of the Beggar's Opera.

marked a



Ah, Colin! canst thou leave thy Sweetheart true!
What I have done for thee will Cic'ly do?
Will she thy linen wash or hosen darn,
And knit thee gloves made of her own-spun yarn?
Will she with huswife's hand provide thy meat,
And every Sunday morn thy neckcloth plait ?
Which o'er thy kersey doublet spreading wide,
In service-time drew. Cic'ly's eyes aside.


If in the soil you guide the crooked share,
Your early breakfast is my constant care;
And when with even hand you strow the grain,
I fright the thievish rooks from off the plain.
In misling days when I my thresher heard,
With nappy beer I to the barn repaired;
Lost in the music of the whirling flail,

To gaze on thee I left the smoking pail :
In harvest when the sun was mounted high,
My leathern bottle did thy drought supply;
Whene'er you mowed I followed with the rake,
And have full oft been sun-burnt for thy sake;
When in the welkin gathering showers were seen,
I lagged the last with Colin on the green;
And when at eve returning with thy car,
Awaiting heard the jingling bells from far;
Straight on the fire the sooty pot I placed,
To warm thy broth I burnt my hands for haste.
When hungry thou stoodst staring, like an oaf,
I sliced the luncheon from the barley loaf:
With crumbled bread I thickened well thy mess.
Ah, love me more, or love thy pottage less!


[From The What d'ye Call It.]

"Twas when the seas were roaring
With hollow blasts of wind;
A damsel lay deploring,

All on a rock reclined. Wide o'er the rolling billows She cast a wistful look; Her head was crowned with willows, That tremble o'er the brook.

'Twelve months are gone and over,
And nine long tedious days.
Why didst thou, venturous lover,
Why didst thou trust the seas?
Cease, cease, thou cruel ocean,

And let my lover rest:
Ah! what's thy troubled motion
To that within my breast?

"The merchant, robbed of pleasure, Sees tempests in despair;

But what's the loss of treasure,
To losing of my dear?

Should you some coast be laid on
Where gold and diamonds grow,
You'd find a richer maiden,

But none that loves you so.

'How can they say that nature Has nothing made in vain ; Why then beneath the water,

Should hideous rocks remain ?

No eyes the rocks discover
That lurk beneath the deep,
To wreck the wandering lover,
And leave the maid to weep.'

All melancholy lying,

Thus wailed she for her dear;
Repaid each blast with sighing,

Each billow with a tear.
When, o'er the white wave stooping
His floating corpse she spied;
Then, like a lily drooping,
She bowed her head, and died.


Friendship, like love, is but a name,
Unless to one you stint the flame.
The child whom many fathers share,
Hath seldom known a father's care.
'Tis thus in friendship; who depend
On many, rarely find a friend.

A Hare, who, in a civil way,
Complied with everything, like Gay,
Was known by all the bestial train,
Who haunt the wood, or graze the plain
Her care was, never to offend,
And every creature was her friend.

As forth she went at early dawn,
To taste the dew-besprinkled lawn,
Behind she hears the hunter's cries,
And from the deep-mouthed thunder flies:
She starts, she stops, she pants for breath;
She hears the near advance of death;
She doubles, to mislead the hound,
And measures back her mazy round;

Till, fainting in the public way,

Half dead with fear she gasping lay.
What transport in her bosom grew,
When first the Horse appeared in view!
'Let me,' says she, 'your back ascend,
And owe my safety to a friend.
You know my feet betray my flight;
To friendship every burden's light.'
The Horse replied: 'Poor honest Puss,
It grieves my heart to see thee thus;
Be comforted; relief is near,

For all your friends are in the rear.'
She next the stately Bull implored;
And thus replied the mighty lord.
'Since every beast alive can tell
That I sincerely wish you well,
I may, without offence, pretend,
To take the freedom of a friend;
Love calls me hence; a favourite cow`
Expects me near yon barley-mow :
And when a lady's in the case,
You know, all other things give place.
To leave you thus might seem unkind;
But see, the Goat is just behind.'

The Goat remarked her pulse was high,
Her languid head, her heavy eye;
'My back,' says he, 'may do you harm;
The Sheep's at hand, and wool is warm.'

The Sheep was feeble, and complained His sides a load of wool sustained: Said he was slow, confessed his fears, For hounds eat sheep as well as hares.

She now the trotting Calf addressed, To save from death a friend distressed. 'Shall I,' says he, 'of tender age, In this important care engage? Older and abler passed you by; How strong are those, how weak am I!

« 上一頁繼續 »