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This strict neceffity they simple call,
Another sort there is conditional.
The first fo binds the will, that things foreknown
By spontaneity, not choice, are done.
Thus galley-daves tug willing at their oar,
Content to work, in prospect of the shore;
But wou'd not work at all if not constrain'd before.
That other does not liberty constrain,
But man may either act, or may refrain.
Heav'n made us agents free to good or ills
And forc'd it not, tho’he foresaw the will.
Freedom was first beftow'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 pow'r what man can found
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 fin,
I wave, 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 believ'd 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 liv'd; and might have been
As free from forrow as he was from fin.
For what the devil had their sex to do,
That, born to folly, they prefum'd to know,
And could not see the serpent in the grass ?
But I myself presume, and let it pass.
Silence in times of suff’ring is the best,
'Tis dangerous to disturb an 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 'em to the ground;
These are the words of Chanticleer, not mine,
I honour dames, and think their sex divine.
Now to continue what
Lay madam Partlet balking in the sun,
Breast-high in sand: her fifters, 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 coleworts on a butterfly,
He saw false Reynard where he lay full low:
I need not swear he had no lift to crow:
But cry'd, cock, cock, and gave a sudden start,
As fore 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 Thunn'd him as a sailor shuns the rocks.
But the false loon, who cou'd not work his will
By open force, employ'd his flatt'ring skill;
I hope, my lord, said he, I not offend;
afraid of me, that am your friend?
I were a beast indeed to do you wrong,
1, who have lov:d and honour'd you so long :
Stay, gentle Sir, nor take a false alarm,
For on my soul I never meant you
I come no spy, nor as a traitor press,
To learn the secrets of your soft recess :
Far be from Reynard fo 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 wou'd have charm’d th’infernal Gods,
And banilh'd horrour from the dark abodes :
Had Orpheus sung it in the nether fphere,
So much the hymn had pleas'd the tyrant's ear,
The wife had been detain'd, to keep the husband there.
My lord, your fire familiarly I knew,
A peer deserving such a son as you:
He, with your lady-mother, (whom Heav'n rest)
Has often grac'd 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 shou'd be proud to fee
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 filver-sound.
So sweetly wou'd 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 faints in raptures use, would shut his eyes,
That the sound friving thro' 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 heav'nly lyre, nor Horace when a swan.
Your ancestors proceed from race divine:
From Brennus and Belinus is your line;
Who gave to fov'reign Rome such loud alarms,
That ev’n the priests were not excus'd from arms,
Besides, a famous monk of modern times
Has lift of cocks recorded in his rhimes,
That of a parish priest the son and heir,
(When sons of priests were from the proverb clear)
Affronted once a cock of noble kind,
And either lam'd his legs, or struck him blind ;
For which the clerk his father was disgrac'd,
And in his benefice another plac'd.
Now fing, my lord, if not for love of me,
Yet for the sake of sweet saint charity;
Make hills, and dales, and earth and heav'n rejoice,
And emulate your father's angel voice.
The cock was pleas’d to hear him speak fo fair,
And proud beside, as solar people are;
Nor cou'd the treason from the truth descry,
So was he ravish'd with this flattery:
So much the more, as from a little elf,
He had a high opinion of himself;
Tho' fickly, flender, and not large of limb,
Concluding all the world was made for him.
Ye princes rais’d by poets to the Gods,
And Alexander'd up in lying odes,
Believe not ev'ry flattering knave's report,
There's many a Reynard lurking in the court;
And he shall be receiv'd with more regard
And liften'd to, than modest truth is heard.
This Chanticleer, of whom the story fings,
Stood high upon his toes, and clapp'd his wings ;
Then stretch'd his neck, and wink'd with both his eyes,
Ambitious, as he fought th' Olympic prize.
But while he pain’d himself to raise his note,
False Reynard rush'd, and caught him by the throat.
Then on his back he laid the precious load,
And fought his wonted shelter of the wood;
Swiftly he made his way, the mischief done,
Of all unheeded, and pursu'd by none.
Alas, what stay is there in human ftate,
Or who can shun inevitable fate?
The doom was written, the decree was past,
Ere the foundations of the world were caft!
In Aries though the sun exalted stood,
His patron-planet to procure his good;
Yet Saturn was his mortal foe, and he,
In Libra rais'd, opposid the same degree :
The rays both good and bad, of equal pow'r,
Each thwarting other made a mingled hour.
On friday-morn he dreamt this direful dream,
Cross to the worthy native, in his scheme!
Ah blissful Venus, Goddess of delight,
How cou'dft thou suffer thy devoted knight,
On thy own day to fall by foe oppress'd,
The wight of all the world who serv'd thee best?
Who true to love, was all for recreation,
And minded not the work of propagation.
Gaufride, who cou’dst fo well in rhime complain
The death of Richard with an arrow flain,
Why had not I thy muse, or thou my heart,
To fing this beavy dirge with equal art !
That I like thee on Friday might complain;
For on that day was Coeur de Lion lain.
Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames,
Were sent to heav'n by woeful Trojan dames,
When Pyrrhus tossid on high his burnish'd blade,
And offer'd Priam to his father's shade,
Than for the cock the widow'd poultry made.
Fair Partlet first, when he was born from fight,
With sovereign shrieks bewail'd her captive knight :
Far louder than the Carthaginian wife,
When Afdrubal her husband lost his life,
When she beheld the smouldring flames ascend,
And all the Punic glories at an end :