[Page 97]

The FOX and the HEN.


1 'TWAS on a fair and healthy Plain,
2 There liv'd a poor but honest Swain,
3 Had to his Lot a little Ground,
4 Defended by a quick-set Mound:
5 'Twas there he milk'd his brindled Kine,
6 And there he fed his harmless Swine:
7 His Pigeons flutter'd to and fro,
8 And bask'd his Poultry in a Row:
[Page 98]
9 Much we might say of each of these,
10 As how his Pigs in Consort wheeze;
11 How the sweet Hay his Heifers chew,
12 And how the Pigeons softly coo:
13 But we shall wave this motley Strain,
14 And keep to one that's short and plain:
15 Nor paint the Dunghill's feather'd King,
16 For of the Hen we mean to sing.
17 A Hen there was, a strange one too,
18 Cou'd sing (believe me, it is true)
19 Or rather (as you may presume)
20 Wou'd prate and cackle in a Tune:
21 This quickly spread the Pullet's Fame,
22 And Birds and Beasts together came:
23 All mixt in one promiscuous Throng,
24 To visit Partlet and her Song.
25 It chanc'd there came amongst the Crew,
26 Of witty Foxes not a few:
27 But one more smart than all the rest,
28 His serious Neighbour thus addrest:
[Page 99]
29 'What think you of this Partlet here?
30 ''Tis true her Voice is pretty clear:
31 'Yet without pausing I can tell,
32 'In what much more she wou'd excel:
33 'Methinks she'd eat exceeding well.
34 This heard the list'ning Hen, as she
35 Sat perch'd upon a Maple-tree.
36 The shrewd Proposal gall'd her Pride,
37 And thus to Reynard she reply'd:
38 'Sir, you're extremely right I vow,
39 'But how will you come at me now?
40 'You dare not mount this lofty Tree,
41 'So there I'm pretty safe, you see.
42 'From long ago, (or Record lies)
43 'You Foxes have been counted wise:
44 'But sure this Story don't agree
45 'With your Device of eating me.
46 'For you, Dame Fortune still intends
47 'Some coarser Food than singing Hens:
48 'Besides e'er you can reach so high,
49 'Remember you must learn to fly.
[Page 100]
50 'I own 'tis but a scurvy way,
51 'You have as yet to seize your Prey,
52 'By sculking from the Beams of Light,
53 'And robbing Hen-roosts in the Night:
54 'Yet you must keep this vulgar Trade
55 'Of thieving till your Wings are made.
56 'Had I the keeping of you tho',
57 'I'd make your subtle Worship know,
58 'We Chickens are your Betters due,
59 'Not fatted up for such as you:
60 'Shut up in Cub with rusty Chain,
61 'I'd make you lick your Lips in vain:
62 'And take a special Care, be sure,
63 'No Pullet shou'd come near your Door:
64 'But try if you cou'd feed or no,
65 'Upon a Kite or Carrion Crow.'
66 Here ceas'd the Hen. The baffl'd Beast
67 March'd off without his promis'd Feast.


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Title (in Source Edition): The FOX and the HEN. A FABLE.
Author: Mary Leapor
Genres: fable

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Source edition

Leapor, Mrs. (Mary), 1722-1746. Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor of Brackley in Northamptonshire. London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 97-100. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413; OTA K101776.000) (Page images digitized from a copy at University of California Libraries.)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Mary Leapor