Abbildungen der Seite

Dispute their property and share,
Or in a cherry or a pear?
No lord chief justice, all agree,
So able and so just as she!
Whichever way their causes went,
All parties came away content.
At length she found herself decay,
Death sent mementos every day.
Her drooping strength sustains no more
The shell which on her back she bore.

had lost its visual art,
The heavy ear refused its part;
The teeth perform’d their office ill;
And every member fail'd her will.
But no defects in mind appear,
Her intellects are strong and clear.
Thus when his glorious course is run,
How brightly shines the setting sun !

The news through all the garden spread,
The neighbours throng'd about her bed;
Cheerful she raised her voice aloud,
And thus address'd the weeping crowd--

My friends, I'm hastening to the grave, And know nor plum nor peach can save. Yes, to those mansions go I must, Where our good fathers sleep in dust. Nor am I backward to explore That gloomy vale they trod before. 'Gainst fate's decree what can I say? Like other snails I've had my day. Full many summer suns I've seen, And now die grateful and serene.

If men the higher powers arraign, Shall we adopt the plaintive strain?


Nature, profuse to us and ours,
Hath kindly built these stately towers;
Where, when the skies in night are dress’d,
Secure from every ill we rest.
Survey our curious structure well-
How firm and yet how light our shell!
Our refuge when cold storms invade,
And in the dogday's heat our shade.

« Thus when we see a fleeter race,
We'll not lament our languid pace.
Do dangers rise or foes withstand ?
Are not our castles close at hand ?
For let a snail at distance roam,
The happy snail is still at home.

Survey our garden's bless'd retreats
Oh! what a paradise of sweets !
With what variety 'tis stored !
Unnumber'd dainties spread our board.
The plums assume their glossy blue,
And cheeks of nectarines glow for you;
Peaches their lovely blush betray,
And apricots their gold display;
While for your beverage, when you dine,
There streams the nectar of the vine.

• Be not my dying words forgot; Depart, contented with your

Repress complaints when they begin :
Ingratitude's a crying sin.
And hold it for a truth, that we
Are quite as bless'd as snails should be.'

The Gardener hears with great surprise
This sage discourse, and thus he cries--
• Oh! what a thankless wretch am I,

pass ten thousand favours by!

I blame, whene'er the linnet sings,
My want of song or want of wings.
The piercing hawk, with towering flight,
Reminds me of deficient sight.
And when the generous steed I view,
Is not his strength my envy too?
I thus at birds and beasts repine,
And wish their various talents mine.
Fool as I am, who cannot see
Reason is more than all to me.

My landlord boasts a large estate,
Rides in his coach, and eats in plate.
What! shall these lures bewitch my eye?
Shall they extort the murmuring sigh?
Say, he enjoys superior wealth
Is not my better portion health?
Before the sun has gilt the skies,
Returning labour bids me rise;
Obedient to the hunter's horn,
He quits bis couch at early morn.
By want compelld, I dig the soil;
His is a voluntary toil.
For truth it is, since Adam's fall,
His sons must labour one and all.
No man's exempted by his purse;
Kings are included in the curse.
Would monarchs relish what they eat?
'Tis toil that makes the manchet sweet;
Nature enacts before they're fed,
That prince and peasant earn their bread.

• Hence wisdom and experience show, That bliss in equal currents flow; That happiness is still the same, Howe'er ingredients change their name.

Nor doth this theme our search defy;
"Tis level to the human eye.
Distinctions, introduced by men,
Bewilder and obscure our ken.
I'll store these lessons in my heart,
And cheerful act my proper part.
If sorrows rise, as sorrows will,
I'll stand resign'd to every ill;
Convinced that wisely every pack
Is suited to the bearer's back.'


That the complaints of mankind against their several stations

and provinces in life are often frivolous, and always unwarrantable.

and ten,

« 'Tis a vain world, and all things show it;
I thought so once, but now I know it'.'
Ah! Gay! is thy poetic page
The child of disappointed age?
Talk not of threescore years
For what avails our knowledge then?

But grant that this experienced truth
Were ascertain'd in early youth;
Reader, what benefit would flow?
I vow I'm at a loss to know !
The world alarms the human breast,
Because in savage colours dress’d.
'Tis treated with invective style,
And stands impeach'd of fraud and guile.

Gay's Epitaph.


All in this heavy charge agree:
But who's in fault-the world, or we?
The question's serious, short, and clear,
The answer claims our patient ear.
Yet if this office


declineWith all


heart-the task be mine. I'm certain, if I do my best, Your candour will excuse the rest.

A Farmer, with a pensive brow,
One morn accompanied his plough.
The larks their cheerful matins sung,
The woods with answering music rung
The sun display'd his golden ray,
And Nature hail'd the rising day.
But still the peasant all the while
Refused to join the general smile.
He, like his fathers long before,
Resembled much the Jews of yore;
Whose murmurs impious, weak, and vain
Nor quails nor manna could restrain.

Did accidental death prevail ?
How prone to tell his piteous tale!
Pregnant with joys did plenty rise ?
How prone to blame indulgent skies!
Thus ever ready to complain;
For plenty sinks the price of grain.

At length he spake-'Ye powers divine,
Was ever lot so bard as mine?
From infant life an arrant slave,
Close to the confines of the grave.
Have not I follow'd my employ
Near threescore winters, man and boy?
But since I call’d this farm my own,
What scenes of sorrow have I known!

« ZurückWeiter »