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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Denis's Fables

Denis's Fables.

Here are the sparkling diamonds of this book.
Behold the Greeks with Cisce's nectar drunk,
Who wildly revell'd at her wanton feasts;
In sensual pleasures plung'd and sunk,
Were all transform'd to beasts.
With Syren smiles she gave the nectar'd bowl,
Sweet to the taste, but bitter to the soul;
Swift thro' each vein the poison ran,
page 3 And soon the beast absorb'd the man.
When mortals from the paths of honour stray,
And the strong passions over reason sway,
What are they then but brutes?
Tis vice alone that constitutes
Th' enchanting wand and magic bowl,
Th' exterior form of man they wear,
But are in fact both wolf and bear,
The transformation's in the soul.
Freedom is the soul of joy!
Chesterfield's applause is fame!
Let truth o'er all you write preside;
Of wit and sense add what you may;
But chief let virtue be your guide.
Nothing could move the giddy crowd;
That creature with a thousand heads,
Which veer with every breeze that blows,
That nothing heeds, that nothing dreads,
Nor any danger knows,
But what it feels.
Where Resolution leads and Prudence guides.
Misfortunes level all the human race.
Statesmen and such as Courts frequent,
Who never taste a quiet hour;
Nor know the joys of sweet content.
Some to their vast ambition left a prey,
Others by softer passions lec astray,
And some unhappy thro' excess of bliss.
How oft does reputation rise
From chance and mere conceit?
Be but in vogue, the world will nurse the cheat;
In being new the merit lies,
And not because you're learn'd or wise.
'Tis prejudice that governs all mankind.
Some little cunning, impudence in store,
Dark terms of art, hard words what would you more?
Opinion's all.
The noble structure which thy hand shall raise
Must stand the test of time to latest days.
Unlike the transient writers of a day,
Whose mushroom works sprout up, and rot away.
Kind as compassion, and as honor true.
Art is acquir'd, but genius must be born.
Whate'er is forced can never truly please.
Protect the orphan from the Harpy's claws.
Law, like Janus, has a double face.
Who'd quiet live, must live alone.
Within himself sweet peace of mind.
Never to judge of people by their look?
Marlbro' will live in Addison,
When Blenheim and the Pillar's gone.
Already in his arms another is complying.
All think themselves of more importance far,
Than really what they are.
A beau is nothing but a suit of clothes.
With taste and true discernment blest,
Whose very praise rewards the artist's toil.
page 4 Providence is an unerring guide;
'Tis Nature's and 'tis Reason's law.
By custom everything familiar grows.
It was a charnel-house, a mere hog sty,
Where filth and nastiness ran o'er.
I scorn such nauseous, wheedling prate,
The bolts of envy and the darts of spite.
Ambition and love
Banish reason from her throne.
Excesses are of human growth,
But what delighted every mind and heart,
Was how each actor suited with his part.
The voice, the look, each gesture, every feature,
Were proper to the character they bore.
Who everything attempts, does nothing well,
We must by vermin be eat up at last.
Governors, leeches, parasites, and flies,
Blood-suckers all.
Young, handsome, rich, just one of those
That's form'd to cure a widow's fits.
A pretty widow in her weeds,
The lovely lucid leer,
Which sparkles in a widow's eyes.
'Twas for our happiness design'd,
Men should not know each other's thought.
More harm one enemy portends,
Than all the good from twenty friends.
Love often slumbers, friendship nods,
But hatred's eye-lids never close.
Justice and virtue flourish'd in his reign.
You judge of things, like men, by the event.
'Twas chance, not merit, gave the prize.
The symbol of ingratitude is man.
Of base ingratitude the type,
That basest of all crimes beneath the sun.
From hell's deep gulph a thousand fiends arise
To talk of wind when belly croaks;
Each brute beast was deified
By much more brute mankind.
To-day the God, victim to-morrow.
How weak and wav'ring is mankind!
One hour elated and the next deprest;
Their drift is happiness to find,
And yet they know not when they're really blest.
Sweet peace of mind, contentment, love and joy.
For ever wishing, ne'er content,
On wild chimeras bent,
Neglect the sure to follow airy game.
Those who but know the world in books,
Know just as much as in the map it looks,
Who all things and yet nothing knows.
He is one neither cold nor hot,
Who all things weighs with where, and whence,
Nor leaves a circumstance forgot.
A friend to truth, disdaining every vice,
Mildly severe, not scrupulously nice,
To merit gives, with joy, the praises due,
Nor fears to censure when he censures true;
Averse to flattery, from envy free,
He soon became a man of sense.
Full of himself, he scorn'd the world beside.
page 5 He wanted neither wit's nor judgment's aid.
And now the blooming virgin stands confest,
In native innocence and beauty drest.
Inordinate desire, strange lust of more,
Still to accumulate and ne'er enjoy.
Monster, whose greedy all devouring eye
Covets the whole for his own private store.
Interest is a casuist guide,
That makes us lawyers all.
Those very gods he made, now make him quake.
False zeal and superstition, next, prepare
To form for ignorance a shrine.
All men their visions realise.
The rigid Stoic thus, with zeal austere,
Each innocent desire controls:
Good, bad, indifferent, to all severe,
He tears up every passion from our souls.
Absence is the only cure for hate,
As 'tis a remedy for love.
The soul, alas! we seldom mind,
The body's all our care.
Vain man, importunate and weak,
With empty vows and idle prayers,
Not for the whole but for his own clear sake,
Dims all Olympus with his selfish cares;
And thinks each trifling scene in life,
Must needs as much concern the Gods,
As when the Greeks and Trojans were at odds.
He would have stirr'd all earth and sea
Th' Herculean Club and thunderbolt employed,
To crush a flea.
Too high a station is a dangerous thing.
How vain, absurd, and fickle are mankind!
Still prone to veer with every blast of wind.
And as the bee for ever ranging,
That's never happy but when changing,
Just sip the sweets and fly along.
The case is seldom rightly stated,
That's judged from outward show.
Man's life or happy or unhappy proves,
By secret springs unseen, on which it moves.
Nothing so common as a friend by name;
Nor anything so scarce as one in deed.
Thus thro' a telescope mankind we spy;
A brother's frailties, monstrous grown,
We at the magnifying end descry,
Then turn the glass to view our own.
Where great rogues stand the little fall.
To prove a fool is in the wrong,
Is talk and time both thrown away.
Whatever interest prompts, or fools devise,
Possess yourselves of knowledge, and be wise.
What spur like reputation?
A Raffael's lost, if out of place.
Who undertakes to alter human kind,
A task shall surely find,
That will be left undone.
With int'rest there's no competition,
Love, honour, duty, all
Before that Idol fall. Be gone; and in the other world, behold
page 6 Thy spendthrift heirs dispense thy gold.
What will not mortals do for gain?
O'er what Ambition not prevail?
For all the wealth that India brings,
The pomp of courts, the power of kings,
My peace of mind I would not barter.
In all our deeds, let truth and justice shine;
And keep the golden rule in eye,
To do as we would be done by.
Who most pretend performs the least.
What in ourselves we think no crime,
Is shocking in another.
For which is best do you decide—
Reason, that goes with man astray?
Or Instinct, brutes' unerring guide?
Let honesty and truth, your actions guide.
Man may cheat man: but can't deceive the gods.
In little senates greatest noise is.
The gods would choose for a retreat;
'Twas verdant lawns, sequester'd glades,
With purling streams, and cooling shades.
False to your vows! and false to love!
As conscious how a lover's quarrel ends,
A curtain lecture, kiss and friends.
In yon parterre I saw you full employ'd,
By turns caressing different flowers.
When upstarts overbearing, saucy, proud,
Forget the source from whence they spring.
Would you the sweets of virtuous love enjoy?
Be not too yielding, nor to coy;
For she who is too hard to please,
Will run the risk (pray note it well)
To live a maiden all her days.
Around the stage they stand, as it behoves,
And as the wire is pull'd, the puppet moves,
Do but the hook with flatt'ry bait,
The'll bite.
When the hot Thracian forced you to his arms;
Rvaished your sweets, and rifled all your charms.
Was goodness but innate with beauty
I'd seek a wife to-morrow.
But oh! instead of pleasure, love, and duty,
'Tis often contradiction, pain and sorrow.
How like the brutes man acts, without a plan.
A little jarring,
Far from marring,
Enhances love—like man and wife.
Freethinkers thus, in self-opinion strong,
Deny whatever is above their reach.
His eyes seem'd almost sunk within his head.
Our rights and liberties, all trampled on,
Extinct our commerce, and our riches gone,
In vain we stretch our suppliant hands,
Where av'rice calls, and power commands.
Rome is a nest of luxury and vice;
Corruption, brib'ry, adulation,
Of all your venal posts the sordid price,
And only steps to each high station.