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The crested bird shall by experience know,
Jove made not him his masterpiece below,
And learn the latter end of joy is woe.
The vessel of his bliss to dregs is run,
And Heaven will have him taste his other tun.

Ye wise! draw near and hearken to my tale,
Which proves that oft the proud by flattery fall ;
The legend is as true I undertake
As Tristram is, and Launcelot of the Lake;
Which all our ladies in such reverence hold,
As if in book of martyrs it were told.

A Fox, full-fraught with seeming sanctity,
That fear'd an oath, but like the devil would lie ;*
Who look'd like Lent, and had the holy leer,
And durst not sin before he said his prayer ;
This pious cheat, that never suck'd the blood,
Nor chew'd the flesh of lambs, but when he could,
Had pass'd three summers in the neighbouring

wood;
And musing long, whom next to circumvent,
On Chanticleer his wicked fancy bent;
And in his high imagination cast,
By stratagem to gratify his taste.

The plot contrived, before the break of day
Saint Reynard through the hedge had made his way;
The pale was next, but proudly, with a bound,
He leapt the fence of the forbidden ground;
Yet fearing to be seen, within a bed
Of coleworts he conceald his wily head;
There sculk'd till afternoon, and watch'd his time,
(As murderers use,) to perpetrate his crime.

O hypocrite, ingenious to destroy !
O traitor, worse than Sinon was to Troy!

* Indulging, as usual, his political antipathies, Dryden fails not to make the fox a Puritan

O vile subverter of the Gallic reign,
More false than Gano was to Charlemaign !*
O Chanticleer, in an unhappy hour
Didst thou forsake the safety of thy bower;
Better for thee thou hadst believed thy dream,
And not that day descended from the beam!

But here the doctors eagerly dispute ;
Some hold predestination absolute;
Some clerks maintain, that Heaven at first foresees,
And in the virtue of foresight decrees.
If this be so, then prescience binds the will,
And mortals are not free to good or ill ;
For what he first foresaw, he must ordain,
Or its eternal prescience may be vain ;
As bad for us as prescience had not been ;
For first, or last, he's author of the sin.
And who says that, let the blaspheming man
Say worse even of the devil, if he can.
For how can that Eternal Power be just
To punish man, who sins because he must?
Or, how can he reward a virtuous deed,
Which is not done by us, but first decreed ?

I cannot bolt this matter to the bran,
As Bradwardint and holy Austin can :
If prescience can determine actions so,
That we must do, because he did foreknow,
Or that foreknowing, yet our choice is free,
Not forced to sin by strict necessity ;

*

According to the romantic history of Charlemaign, Gano, or Ganelon, betrayed the Christian army, at the battle of Roncesvalles, where Orlando and the Peers of France were slain. The pun upon Gallic, which is renewed in deriving the cock from Brennus and Belinus, a little farther down, is entirely Dryden's.

+ Thomas Bradwardin, Archbishop of Canterbury, a contemporary

of Chaucer, composed a treatise on Predestination, and a work entitled, De Causu Dei, against Pelagius.

This strict necessity they simple call,
Another sort there is conditional.
The first so binds the will, that things foreknown
By spontaneity, not choice, are done.
Thus galley-slaves tug willing at their oar,
Consent to work, in prospect of the shore ;
But would not work at all, if not constrain'd be-

fore.
That other does not liberty constrain,
But man may either act, or may refrain.
Heaven made us agents free to good or ill,
And forced it not, though he foresaw the will.
Freedom was first bestow'd on human race,
And prescience only held the second place.

If he could make such agents wholly free,
I not dispute; the point's too high for me :
For heaven's unfathom'd power what man can

sound, Or put to his omnipotence a bound ? He made us to his image, all agree; That image is the soul, and that must be, Or not the Maker's image, or be free. But whether it were better man had been By nature bound to good, not free to sin, I waive, for fear of splitting on a rock ; The tale I tell is only of a cock; Who had not run the hazard of his life, Had he believed his dream, and not his wife : For women, with a mischief to their kind, Pervert, with bad advice, our better mind. A woman's counsel brought us first to woe, And made her man his paradise forego, Where at heart's ease he lived; and might have been As free from sorrow as he was from sin. For what the devil had their sex to do, That, born to folly, they presumed to know,

And could not see the serpent in the grass ?
But I myself presume, and let it pass.

Silence in times of suffering is the best,
'Tis dangerous to disturb a hornet's nest.
In other authors you may find enough,
But all they say of dames is idle stuff.
Legends of lying wits together bound,
The wife of Bath would throw them to the ground:
These are the words of Chanticleer, not mine,
I honour dames, and think their sex divine.

Now to continue what my tale begun. Lay Madam Partlet basking in the sun, Breast-high in sand; her sisters, in a row, Enjoy'd the beams above, the warmth below. The cock, that of his flesh was ever free, Sung merrier than the mermaid in the sea; And so befel, that as he cast his eye, Among the colworts, on a butterfly, He saw false Reynard where he lay full low; I need not swear he had no list to crow; But cried, Cock, cock, and gave a sudden start, As sore dismay'd and frighted at his heart. For birds and beasts, inform’d by nature, know Kinds opposite to theirs, and fly their foe. So Chanticleer, who never saw a fox, Yet shunnd him, as a sailor shuns the rocks.

But the false loon, who could not work his will By open force, employ'd his flattering skill : I hope, my lord, said he, I not offend; Are you afraid of me, that am your friend? I were a beast indeed to do you wrong, I, who have loved and honour'd you so long : Stay, gentle sir, nor take a false alarm, For, on my soul, I never meant you harm! I come no spy, nor as a traitor press, To learn the secrets of your soft recess:

Far be from Reynard so profane a thought,
But by the sweetness of your voice was brought :
For, as I bid my beads, by chance I heard
The song as of an angel in the yard ;
A
song

that would have charm’d the infernal gods,
And banish'd horror from the dark abodes :
Had Orpheus sung it in the nether sphere,
So much the hymn had pleased the tyrant's ear,
The wife had been detain'd, to keep the husband

there. My lord, your sire familiarly I knew, A peer deserving such a son as you: He, with your lady-mother, (whom heaven rest!) Has often graced my house, and been my guest: To view his living features does me good, For I am your poor neighbour in the wood; And in my cottage should be proud to see The worthy heir of my friend's family.

But since I speak of singing, let me say, As with an upright heart I safely may, That, save yourself, there breathes not on the ground One like your father for a silver sound. So sweetly would he wake the winter-day, That matrons to the church mistook their way, And thought they heard the merry organ play. And he to raise his voice with artful care, (What will not beaux attempt to please the fair ?) On tiptoe stood to sing with greater strength, And stretch'd his comely neck at all the length: And while he strain'd his voice to pierce the skies, As saints in raptures use, would shut his eyes, That the sound striving through the narrow throat, His winking might avail to mend the note. By this, in song, he never had his peer, From sweet Cecilia down to Chanticleer ; Not Maro's muse, who sung the mighty man, Nor Pindar's heavenly lyre,nor Horace when a swan.

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