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And fills the bowl up to her homely lord,
And with domestick plenty loads the board ;
Not all the lustful shell-fish of the sea,
Dress'd by the wanton hand of luxury,
Not ortolans, nor godwits, nor the rest
Of costly names that glorify a feast,
Are at the princely tables better cheer,
Than lamb and kid, lettuce and olives, here.
'A Paraphrase upon Horace, Bouk II. Sat. vi.
AT the large foot of a fair hollow tree, Close to plough'd ground, seated commodiously, His ancient and hereditary house, There dwelt a good substantial country mouse; Frugal, and grave, and careful of the main, Yet one who once did nobly entertain A city mouse, well-coated, sleek, and gay, A mouse of high degree, which lost his way, Wantonly walking forth to take the air, And arriv'd early, and belighted, there, For a day's lodging: the good hearty host (The ancient plenty of his hall to boast) Did all the stores produce that might excite, With various tastes, the courtier's appetite: Fitches and beans, peason and oats, and wheat, And a large chesnut, the delicious meat Which Jove himself, were he a mouse, would eat.
And, for a haut goust, there was mix'd with these
The swerd of bacon, and the coat of cheese :
The precious reliques which, at harvest, he
Had gather'd from the reaper's luxury.
Freely (said he) fall on, and never spare ;
The bounteous gods will for to-morrow care.
And thus at ease, on beds of straw, they lay,
And to their genius sacrific'd the day :
Yet the nice guest's Epicurean mind
(Though breeding made him civil seem and kind)
Despis'd this country feast; and still his thought
Upon the cakes and pies of London wrought.
Your bounty and civility (said he),
Which I'm surpris’d in these rude parts to see,
Shew that the gods have given you a mind
Too noble for the fate which here
Why should a soul, so virtuous and so great,
Lose itself thus in an obscure retreat?
Let savage beasts lodge in a country den ;
You should see towns, and manners know and men;
And taste the generous luxury of the court,
Where all the mice of quality resort;
Where thousand beauteous shes about you move,
And, by high fare, are pliant made to love.
We all, ere long, must render up our breath ;
No cave or hole can shelter us from death.
Since life is so uncertain, and so short,
Let 's spend it all in feasting and in sport.
Come, worthy sir, come with me and partake
All the great things that mortals happy make.
Alas! what virtue hath sufficient arms T'oppose bright honour, and soft pleasure's charms: What wisdom can their magick force repel?
draws this reverend hermit from his cell. It was the time, when witty poets tell, “ That Phæbus into Thetis' bosom fell: “ She blush'd at first, and then put out the light, “ And drew the modest curtains of the night.” Plainly the truth to tell, the sun was set, When to the town our wearied travellers get: To a lord's house, as lordly as can be, Made for the use of pride and luxury, They come; the gentle courtier at the door Stops, and will hardly enter in before ; But 't is, sir, your command, and being so, I'm sworn t' obedience; and so in they go. Behind a hanging, in a spacious room (The richest work of Mortlacke's noble loom) They wait a while, their wearied limbs to rest, Till silence should invite them to their feast. “ About the hour that Cynthia's silver light “ Had touch'd the pale meridies of the night;" At last, the various supper being done, It happen'd that the company was gone Into a room remote, servants and all, To please their noble fancies with a ball. Our host leads forth his stranger, and does find All fitted to the bounties of his mind. Still on the table half-fill'd dishes stood, And with delicious bits the floor was strew'd,
The courteous mouse presents him with the best,
And both with fat varieties are bless'd.
Th' industrious peasant every-where does range,
And thanks the gods for his life's happy change.
Lo! in the midst of a well-freighted pye,
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 run barking into th' room ;
The wretched gluttons fly with wild affright,
And hate the fullness which retards their flight.
Our trembling peasant wishes now, in vain,
That rocks and mountains cover'd him again;
Oh, how the change of his poor life he curs'd !
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
HORACE TO FUSCUS ARISTIUS.
A Paraphrase upon the Tenth Epistle of the First Book
HEALTH from the lover of the country, me,
Health to the lover of the city, thee;
A difference in our souls, this only proves ;
In all things else, we agree like married doves.
But the warm nest and crowded dovehouse thou
Dost like ; I loosely fly from bough to bough,
And rivers drink, and all the shining day
Upon fair trees or mossy rocks I play;
In fine, I live and reign, when I retire
From all that you equal with heaven admire;
Like one at last from the priest's service fled,
Loathing the honied cakes, I long for bread.
Would I a house for happiness erect,
Nature alone should be the architect;
She 'd build it more convenient than great,
And doubtless in the country choose her seat:
Is there a place doth better helps supply
Against the wounds of winter's cruelty ?
Is there an air that gentlier does assuage
The mad celestial dog's, or lion's, rage?
Is it not there that sleep (and only there)
Nor noise without, nor cares within, does fear?
Does art through pipes a purer water bring,
Than that which nature strains into a spring ?
Can all your tap’stries, or your pictures, show
More beauties than in herbs and flowers do grow ?
Fountains and trees our wearied pride do please,
Ev'n in the midst of gilded palaces,
And in your towns that prospect gives delight,
opens round the country to our sight.
Men to the good, from which they rashly fly,
Return at last; and their wild luxury
Does but in vain with those true joys contend,
Which nature did to mankind recommend,
The man who changes gold for burnish'd brass,
Or small right gems for larger ones of glass,