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Willing into the fires the plung'd her head,
With greater ease than others seek their bed.
Not more aghast the matrons of renown,
When tyrant Nero burn'd th' imperial town,
Shriek'd for the downfal in a doleful cry,
For which their guiltless lords were doom'd to die.
Now to my story I return again:
The trembling widow, and her daughters twain,
This woful cackling cry with horror heard,
Of those distracted damsels in the yard ;
And starting up beheld the heavy fight,
How Reynard to the foreft took his Aight,
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn,
The hope and pillar of the house was borne.
The fox, the wicked fox, was all the cry;
Out from his house ran ev'ry neighbour nigh:
The vicar first, and after him the crew,
With forks and staves the felon to pursue.
Ran Coll our dog, and Talbot with the band,
And Malkin, with her distaff in her hand:
Ran cow and calf, and family of hogs,
In panic horror of pursuing dogs ;
With many a deadly grunt and doleful squeak,
Poor swine, as if their pretty hearts would break.
The fhouts of men, the women in dismay,
With shrieks augment the terror of the day.
The ducks that heard the proclamation cry'd,
And fear'd a persecution might betide,
Full twenty mile from town their voyage take,
Obfcure in rushes of the liquid lake.
The geese fly o'er the barn; the bees in arms
Drive headlong from their waxen cells in swarms.
Jack Straw at London-stone, with all his rout,
Struck not the city with so loud a shout;
Not when with English hate they did pursue
A French man, or an unbelieving Jew :
Not when the welkin rung with one and all ;
And echoes bounded back from Fox's hall:
Earth seem'd to fink beneath, and heaven above to fall.
With might and main they chac'd the murd'rous fox,
With brazen trumpets, and inflated box,
To kindle Mars with military sounds,
Nor wanted horns t'inspire fagacious hounds.
But see how Fortune can confound the wise,
And when they least expect it, turn the dice.
The captive-cock, who scarce cou'd draw his breath,
And lay within the very jaws of death;
Yet in this agony his fancy wrought,
And fear supply'd him with this happy thought:
Yours is the prize, victorious prince, said he,
The vicar my defeat, and all the village fee.
Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may,
And bid the churls that envy you
Call back their mungril curs, and cease their cry,
See fools, the shelter of the wood is nigh,
And Chanticleer in your despite thall die,
He shall be pluck'd and eaten to the bone.
'Tis well advis'd, in faith it shall be done;
This Reynard said: but as the word he spoke,
The pris'ner with a spring from prison broke:
Then stretch'd his feather’d fans with all his might,
And to the neighb'ring maple wing'd his flight;
Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld,
He curs’d the Gods, with shame and sorrow fill'd;
Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time,
For plotting an unprofitable crime;
Yet maft'ring both, th'artificer of lies
Renews th' assault, and his last batery tries.
Tho'l, said he, did ne'er in thought offend,
How justly may my lord suspect his friend?'
Th’appearance is against me, I confess,
Who seemingly have put you in distress:
You, if your goodness does not plead my cause,
May think I broke all hospitable laws,
To bear you from your palace-yard by might,
And put your noble person in a fright:
This, fince you take it ill, I must repent,
Tho' Heav'n can witness with no bad intent:
I practis'd it, to make you tafte your cheer
With double pleasure, first prepar'd by fear.
So loyal subjects often seize their prince,
Forc'd (for his good) to seeming violence,
Yet mean his sacred person not the least offence.
Descend; so help me Jove as you shall find
That Reynard comes of no diffembling kind,
Nay quoth the cock; but I beshrew us both,
If I believe a faint upon his oath:
An honest man may take a knave's advice,
But idiots only may be cozen’d twice:
Once warn'd is well bewar'd; not flatt'ring lies
Shall footh me more to sing with winking eyes,
And open mouth, for fear of catching fies.
Who blindfold walks upon a river's brim,
When he should see, has he deserv'd to swim ?
Better, Sir cock, let all contention cease,
Come down, said Reynard, let us treat of peace.
A peace with all my soul, said Chanticleer;
But, with your favour, I will treat it here:
And left the truce with treason should be mixt,
Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt.
In this plain fable you
Of negligence, and fond credulity :
And learn besides of flatt'rers to beware,
Then most pernicious when they speak too fair,
The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply;
The truth is moral, tho' the tale a lye.
Who spoke in parables, I dare not say ;
But sure he knew it was a pleasing way,
Sound sense, by plain example, to convey.
And in a heathen author we may find,
That pleasure with instruction shou'd be join'd;
So take the corn, and leave the chaf behind.
OW turning from the wintry figns, the sun
And whirling up the skies, his chariot drove
Thro' Taurus, and the lightsome realms of love;
Where Venus from her orb descends in show'rs,
To glad the ground, and paint the fields with flow'rs:
When first the tender blades of grass appear,
And buds, that yet the blaft of Eurus fear,
Stand at the door of life, and doubt to clothe the year:
Till gentle heat, and soft repeated rains,
Make the green blood to dance within their veins:
Then, at their call, embolden'd out they come,
And swell the gems, and burst the narrow room;
Broader and broader yet, their blooms display,
Salute the welcome sun, and entertain the day.
Then from their breathing fouls the sweets repair
To scent the skies, and purge th’unwholesom air:
Joy spreads the heart, and, with a general song,
Spring issues out, and leads the jolly months along.
In that sweet season, as in bed I lay,
And sought in fleep to pafs the night away,
I turn'd my weary'd fide, but still in vain,
Tho’ full of youthful health, and void of pain: