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Once on a time (so runs the fable)
A country mouse, right hospitable,
Received a town mouse at his board,
Just as a farmer might a Lord.
A frugal mouse upon the whole,


Yet loved his friend, and had a soul,

Knew what was handsome, and would do't,
On just occasion, coute qui coute.

He brought him bacon, nothing lean,


Pudding, that might have pleased a Dean;
Cheese, such as men in Suffolk make,
But wish'd it Stilton for his sake;
Yet, to his guest though no way sparing,
He eat himself the rind and paring.
Our courtier scarce could touch a bit,
But show'd his breeding and his wit;
He did his best to seem to eat,
And cried, "I vow you're mighty neat.
But Lord, my friend, this savage scene!
For God's sake, come, and live with men :
Consider, mice, like men, must die,
Both small and great, both you and I:
Then spend your life in joy and sport:



This doctrine, friend, I learn'd at court."


The veriest hermit in the nation

May yield, God knows, to strong temptation.
Away they come, through thick and thin,

To a tall house near Lincoln's Inn;


recalled to-morrow, I shall savour so strong of a French court, that I must make my quarantine in some Kentish village, before I dare come near the Cockpit. In every place and estate, I am,

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My Lord, &c. &c.

66 'M. PRIOR."

Ver. 177. like men, must die,] The parody on Dryden's poem on the Hind and Panther, alluding to the City and Country Mouse, was the first of Prior's performances, in conjunction with his friend Montague.— Warton.



Nox medium coeli spatium, cùm ponit uterque
In locuplete domo vestigia: rubro ubi cocco
Tincta super lectos canderet vestis eburnos ;
Multaque de magnâ superessent fercula cœnâ,
Quæ procul exstructis inerant hesterna canistris.
Ergo ubi purpureâ porrectum in veste locavit
Agrestem, veluti succinctus cursitat hospes,
Continuatque dapes: nec non verniliter ipsis
Fungitur officiis, prælibans omne quod affert.
Ille cubans gaudet mutatâ sorte, bonisque
Rebus agit lætum convivam: cùm subitò ingens
Valvarum strepitus lectis excussit utrumque.
Currere per totum pavidi conclave; magisque
Exanimes trepidare, simul domus alta Molossis
Personuit canibus. Tum rusticus, Haud mihi vitâ
Est opus hâc, ait, et valeas: me sylva, cavusque
Tutus ab insidiis tenui solabitur ervo.

'Twas on the night of a debate,
When all their Lordships had sate late.
Behold the place, where, if a poet
Shined in description, he might show it;
Tell how the moonbeam trembling falls,
And tips with silver all the walls;
Palladian walls, Venetian doors,
Grotesco roofs, and stucco floors:
But let it, in a word, be said,
The moon was up, and men a-bed,
The napkins white, the carpet red;
The guests withdrawn had left the treat,
And down the mice sat, téte à téte.

Our courtier walks from dish to dish,

Tastes for his friend of fowl and fish;




Tells all their names, lays down the law,


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That jelly's rich, this Malmsey healing,

Pray, dip your whiskers and your tail in."
Was ever such a happy swain?

He stuffs and swills, and stuffs again.


"I'm quite ashamed-'tis mighty rude
To eat so much-but all's so good.
I have a thousand thanks to give—
My Lord alone knows how to live."
No sooner said, but from the hall
Rush chaplain, butler, dogs, and all:
"A rat! a rat! clap to the door "—
The cat comes bouncing on the floor.
O for the heart of Homer's mice,

Or Gods to save them in a trice!

(It was by Providence, they think,

For your damn'd stucco has no chink.)

"An't please your honour," quoth the peasant,

"This same dessert is not so pleasant:

Give me again my hollow tree,

A crust of bread, and liberty!"

H 2







INTERMISSA, Venus, diu,

Rursus bella moves? parce, precor, precor.
Non sum qualis eram bonæ

Sub regno Cynara. Desine, dulcium

Mater sæva Cupidinum,

Circa lustra decem flectere mollibus

Jam durum imperiis. Abi

Quò blandæ juvenum te revocant preces.
Tempestiviùs in domum

Pauli, purpureis ales oloribus,
Comissabere Maximi,

Si torrere jecur quæris idoneum.
Namque et nobilis, et decens,

Et pro solicitis non tacitus reis,

Et centum puer artium,

Latè signa feret militiæ tuæ.

Et quandoque potentior

Largis muneribus riserit æmuli,

Albanos prope te lacus

Ponet marmoream sub trabe citreâ.


*This, and the unfinished imitation of the ninth Ode of the Fourth Book which follows, show as happy a vein for managing the Odes of Horace as the Epistles.--Warburton.

It may be worth observing, that the measure Pope has here chosen, is precisely the same that Ben Jonson used in a translation of this very Ode; folio, p. 268.-Warton.

Ver. 9. Number five] The number of Murray's lodgings in King's Bench Walks.-Bowles.




AGAIN? new tumults in my breast?

Ah spare me, Venus! let me, let me rest!

I am not now, alas! the man

As in the gentle reign of my Queen Anne. Ah sound no more thy soft alarms,

Nor circle sober fifty with thy charms.

Mother too fierce of dear desires!

Turn, turn to willing hearts your wanton fires; To Number five direct your doves,


There spread round MURRAY all your blooming


Noble and young, who strikes the heart

With every sprightly, every decent part;

Equal, the injured to defend,

To charm the mistress, or to fix the friend.


He, with a hundred arts refined,

Shall stretch thy conquests over half the kind :

To him each rival shall submit,

Make but his riches equal to his wit.

Then shall thy form the marble grace,


(Thy Grecian form) and Chloe lend the face: 20


Ver. 18. Make but his riches, &c.] Seward has an anecdote of Lord Mansfield, respecting the difficulties of his early life; I know not what foundation there is for it. He says that Murray, acquainting Lord Foley,

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