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Then stretch'd his neck, and wink'd with both his eyes,
Ambitious as he sought the 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 sought his wonted shelter of the wood;
Swiftly he made his way, the mischief done,
Of all unheeded, and pursued by none.

Alas, what stay is there in human state,
Or who can shun inevitable fate ?
The doom was written, the decree was pass’d,
Ere the foundations of the world were cast!
In Aries though the sun exalted stood,
His patron-planet to procure his good ;
Yet Saturn was his mortal foe, and he,
In Libra raised, opposed the same degree :
The rays both good and bad, of equal power,
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 could'st thou suffer thy devoted knight
On thy own day to fall by foe oppress'd,
The wight of all the world who served thee best ?
Who, true to love, was all for recreation,
And minded not the work of propagation.
Gaufride, who could'st so well in rhyme complain
The death of Richard with an arrow slain,
Why had not I thy muse, or thou my heart,
To sing this heavy dirge with equal art !
That I like thee on Friday might complain;
For on that day was Caur de Lion slain.
Not louder cries, when Ilium was in flames,
Were sent to heaven by woful 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 borne from sight,
With sovereign shrieks bewail'd her captive knight :
Far louder than the Carthaginian wife,
When Asdrubal her husband lost his life,
When she beheld the smouldering flames ascend,
And all the Punic glories at an end :

Willing into the fires she plunged her head,
With greater ease than others seek their bed.
Not more aghast the matrons of renown,
When tyrant Nero burn'd the 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 sight,
How Reynard to the forest took his flight,
And cross his back, as in triumphant scorn,
The hope and pillar of the house was borné.

The fox, the wicked fox! was all the cry;
Out from his house ran every 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 shouts of men, the women in dismay,
With shrieks augment the terror of the day.
The ducks, that heard the proclamation cried,
And fear'd a persecution might betide,
Full twenty miles from town their voyage take,
Obscure 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 Frenchman, 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 sink beneath, and heaven above to fall.
With might and main they chased the murderous fox,
With brazen trumpets, and inflated box,
To kindle Mars with military sounds,
Nor wanted horns to inspire sagacious hounds

But see how Fortune can confound the wise,
And, when they least expect it, turn the dice.
The captive-cock, who scarce could draw his breath,
And lay within the very jaws of death;
Yet in this agony his fancy wrought,
And fear supplied him with this happy thought:
Your's is the prize, victorious prince, said he,
The vicar my defeat, and all the village see.
Enjoy your friendly fortune while you may,
And bid the churls that envy you the

prey,
Call back their mongrel curs, and cease their cry.
See, fools, the shelter of the wood is nigh,
And Chanticleer in your despite shall die,
He shall be pluck'd and eaten to the bone.

'Tis well advised, in faith it shall be done ;
This Reynard said: but as the word he spoke,
The prisoner with a spring from prison broke :
Then stretch'd his feather'd fans with all his might,
And to the neighbouring maple wing'd his flight.

Whom when the traitor safe on tree beheld, He cursed the gods, with shame and sorrow fill'd; Shame for his folly, sorrow out of time, For plotting an unprofitable crime; Yet mastering both, the artificer of lies Renews the assault, and his last battery tries.

Though I, said he, did ne'er in thought offend, How justly may my lord suspect his friend ? The 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, since you take it ill, I must repent, Though Heaven can witness, with no bad intent I practised it, to make you taste your cheer With double pleasure, first prepared by fear. So loyal subjects often seize their prince, Forced (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 dissembling kind.

Nay, quoth the cock; but I beshrew us both, If I believe a saint 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 bewared : Not flattering lies
Shall soothe me more to sing with winking eyes,
And open mouth, for fear of catching flies.
Who blindfold walks upon a river’s brim,
When he should see, has he deserved 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 lest the truce with treason should be mix'd,
'Tis my concern to have the tree betwixt.

THE MORAL.

In this plain fable you the effect may see
Of negligence, and fond credulity:
And learn besides of flatterers to beware,
Then most pernicious when they speak too fair.
The cock and fox, the fool and knave imply;
The truth is moral, though the tale a lie.
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 should be join'd;
So take the corn, and leave the chaff behind.

THE FLOWER AND THE LEAF:

A VISION.

OR, THE LADY IN THE ARBOUR. Now turning from the wintry signs, the sun His course exalted through the Ram had run, And whirling up the skies, his chariot drove Through Taurus, and the lightsome realms of love; Where Venus from her orb descends in showers, To glad the ground, and paint the fields with flowers : When first the tender blades of grass appear, And buds, that yet the blast 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 souls the sweets repair
To scent the skies, and purge the unwholesome 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 sleep to pass the night away,
I turn'd my weary side, but still in vain,
Though full of youthful health, and void of pain :
Cares I had none, to keep me from my rest,
For love had never enter'd in my breast;
I wanted nothing Fortune could supply,
Nor did she slumber till that hour deny.
I wonder'd then, but after found it true,
Much joy had dried away the balmy dew:
Seas would be pools, without the brushing air,
To curl the waves ; and sure some little care
Should weary nature so, to make her want repair.

When Chanticleer the second watch had sung, Scorning the scorner sleep, from bed I

sprung ; And dressing, by the moon, in loose array, Pass'd out in open air, preventing day, And sought a goodly grove, as fancy led my way. Straight as a line in beauteous order stood Of oaks unshorn a venerable wood; Fresh was the grass beneath, and every tree, At distance planted in a due degree, Their branching arms in air with equal space Stretch'd to their neighbours with a long embrace : And the new leaves on every bough were seen, Some ruddy-colour'd, some of lighter green. The painted birds, companions of the spring, Hopping from spray to spray, were heard to sing, Both eyes and ears received a like delight, Enchanting music, and a charming sight. On Philomel I fix'd my whole desire; And listen'd for the queen of all the choir ; Fain would I hear her heavenly voice to sing ; And wanted yet an omen to the spring.

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