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Much malice, mingled with a little wit,
Perhaps may censure this mysterious writ;
Because the muse has peopled Caledon
With panthers, bears, and wolves, and beasts un-
As if we were not stocked with monsters of our own.
Let Æsop answer, who has set to view
Such kinds as Greece and Phrygia never knew;
And mother Hubbard, in her homely dress,
Has sharply blamed a British lioness;
whose feast the factious rabble keep,
Exposed obscenely naked, and asleep.
Led by those great examples, may not I
The wonted organs of their words supply?
If men transact like brutes, 'tis equal then
For brutes to claim the privilege of men.
Others our Hind of folly will indite,
To entertain a dangerous guest by night.
Let those remember, that she cannot die,
Till rolling time is lost in round eternity;
Nor need she fear the Panther, though untamed,
Because the Lion's peace was now proclaimed ; t
The wary savage would not give offence,
To forfeit the protection of her prince;
But watched the time her vengeance to complete,
When all her furry sons in frequent senate met;
Meanwhile she quenched her fury at the flood,
And with a lenten sallad cooled her blood.
Their commons, though but coarse, were nothing
Nor did their minds an equal banquet want.
For now the Hind, whose noble nature strove To express her plain simplicity of love, Did all the honours of her house so well, No sharp debates disturbed the friendly meal. She turned the talk, avoiding that extreme, To common dangers past, a sadly-pleasing theme; Remembering every storm which tossed the state, When both were objects of the public hate, And dropt a tear betwixt for her own childrens' fate.
Nor failed she then a full review to make Of what the Panther suffered for her sake; Her lost esteem, her truth, her loyal care, Her faith unshaken to an exiled heir, Her strength to endure, her courage to defy, Her choice of honourable infamy. On these, prolixly thankful, she enlarged; Then with acknowledgment herself she charged; For friendship, of itself an holy tie, Is made more sacred by adversity.
+ The Declaration of Indulgence. I The Convocation,
* The adherence of the church of England to the interests of James, while he was an exile at Brussels, and the Bill of Exclusion against him was in dependence, is here, as in other places, made the subject of panegyric. Had the church joined with the sectaries, the destruction of the Catholics, at the time of the plot, would have been inevitable.
Now should they part, malicious tongues would say,
They met like chance companions on the way,
Whom mutual fear of robbers had possessed;
While danger lasted, kindness was professed;
But, that once o'er, the short-lived union ends,
The road divides, and there divide the friends.
The Panther nodded, when her speech was done,
And thanked her coldly in a hollow tone;
But said, her gratitude had gone too far
For common offices of Christian care.
If to the lawful heir she had been true,
She paid but Cæsar what was Cæsar's due.
I might, she added, with like praise describe
Your suffering sons, and so return your bribe:
But incense from my hands is poorly prized;
For gifts are scorned where givers are despised.
I served a turn, and then was cast away;
You, like the gaudy fly, your wings display,
And sip the sweets, and bask in your great pa-
This heard, the matron was not slow to find
What sort of malady had seized her mind;
Disdain, with gnawing envy, fell despite,
And cankered malice, stood in open sight;
Ambition, interest, pride without controul,
And jealousy, the jaundice of the soul;
Revenge, the bloody minister of ill,
With all the lean tormentors of the will.
'Twas easy now to guess from whence arose.
Her new-made union with her ancient foes;
Her forced civilities, her faint embrace,
Affected kindness, with an altered face;
* The church of England complained, with great reason, of the coldness which they experienced from James, in whose behalf they had exerted themselves so successfully.
Yet durst she not too deeply probe the wound,
As hoping still the nobler parts were sound;
But strove with anodynes to assuage the smart,
And mildly thus her medicine did impart.
Complaints of lovers help to ease their pain;
It shows a rest of kindness to complain;
A friendship loth to quit its former hold,
And conscious merit, may be justly bold;
But much more just your jealousy would shew,
If others' good were injury to you:
Witness, ye heavens, how I rejoice to see
Rewarded worth and rising loyalty !
Your warrior offspring, that upheld the crown,
The scarlet honour of your peaceful gown,
Are the most pleasing objects I can find,
Charms to my sight, and cordials to my mind:
When virtue spooms* before a prosperous gale,
My heaving wishes help to fill the sail ;
And if my prayers for all the brave were heard,
Cæsar should still have such, and such should still
reward. The laboured earth your pains have sowed and
tilled, 'Tis just you reap the product of the field: Yours be the harvest; 'tis the beggar's gain, To glean the fallings of the loaded wain. Such scattered ears as are not worth your care, Your charity, for alms, may safely spare, For alms are but the vehicles of prayer. My daily bread is literally implored ; I have no barns nor granaries to hoard. If Cæsar to his own his hand extends, Say which of yours his charity offends ; You know, he largely gives to more than are his
* An old sea-term, signifying to run before the wind.
Are you defrauded, when he feeds the poor?
Our mite decreases nothing of
I am but few, and by your fare you see
My crying sins are not of luxury.
Some juster motive sure your mind withdraws,
And makes you break our friendship's holy laws;
For barefaced envy is too base a cause.
Show more occasion for your discontent;
Your love, the Wolf, would help you to invent:
Some German quarrel, or, as times go now,
Some French, * where force is uppermost, will do.
When at the fountain's head, as merit ought
To claim the place, you take a swilling draught,
How easy 'tis an envious eye to throw,
And tax the sheep for troubling streams below;
Or call her, when no farther cause you find,
An enemy professed of all your kind !
But, then, perhaps, the wicked world would think,
The Wolf designed to eat as well as drink.-
This last allusion galled the Panther more,
Because, indeed, it rubbed upon the sore;
Yet seemed she not to wince, though shrewdly pained,
But thus her passive character maintained.
I never grudged, whate'er my foes report,
Your flaunting fortune in the Lion's court.
You have your day, or you are much belied,
But I am always on the suffering side;
You know my doctrine, and I need not say,
I will not, but I cannot disobey.
* Une querelle Allemande is the well-known French phrase for a quarrel picked without cause. The Hind insinuates, that the Panther, conscious of superior force, meant to take such cause of quarrel at the English Catholics, as Louis had raked up against the Huguenots, which, therefore, might be styled rather a French than a German quarrel.