to his highness William, Duke of Cumberland.

FABLE [01] I.

The Lyon, the Tyger, and the Traveller.

1 ACcept, young Prince, the moral lay,
2 And in these tales mankind survey;
3 With early virtues plant your breast,
4 The specious arts of vice detest.
[Page 2]
5 Princes, like Beautys, from their youth
6 Are strangers to the voice of truth:
7 Learn to contemn all praise betimes;
8 For flattery's the nurse of crimes.
9 Friendship by sweet reproof is shown,
10 (A virtue never near a throne;)
11 In courts such freedom must offend,
12 There none presumes to be a friend.
13 To those of your exalted station
14 Each courtier is a dedication;
15 Must I too flatter like the rest,
16 And turn my morals to a jest?
17 The muse disdains to steal from those,
18 Who thrive in courts by fulsome prose.
19 But shall I hide your real praise,
20 Or tell you what a nation says?
21 They in your infant bosom trace
22 The virtues of your Royal race,
23 In the fair dawning of your mind
24 Discern you gen'rous, mild and kind,
[Page 3]
25 They see you grieve to hear distress,
26 And pant already to redress.
27 Go on, the height of good attain,
28 Nor let a nation hope in vain.
29 For hence we justly may presage
30 The virtues of a riper age.
31 True courage shall your bosom fire,
32 And future actions own your Sire.
33 Cowards are cruel; but the brave
34 Love mercy, and delight to save.
35 A Tyger, roaming for his prey,
36 Sprung on a Trav'ler in the way;
37 The prostrate game a Lyon spys,
38 And on the greedy tyrant flys:
39 With mingled roar resounds the wood,
40 Their teeth, their claws distill with blood,
41 'Till, vanquish'd by the Lyon's strength,
42 The spotted foe extends his length.
[Page 4]
43 The Man besought the shaggy lord,
44 And on his knees for life implor'd,
45 His life the gen'rous hero gave.
46 Together walking to his Cave,
47 The Lyon thus bespoke his guest.
48 What hardy beast shall dare contest
49 My matchless strength? You saw the fight,
50 And must attest my pow'r and right.
51 Forc'd to forego their native home
52 My starving slaves at distance roam,
53 Within these woods I reign alone,
54 The boundless forest is my own;
55 Bears, wolves, and all the savage brood
56 Have dy'd the regal den with blood;
57 These carcasses on either hand,
58 Those bones that whiten all the land
59 My former deeds and triumphs tell,
60 Beneath these jaws what numbers fell.
61 True, says the Man, the strength I saw
62 Might well the brutal nation awe;
[Page 5]
63 But shall a monarch, brave like you,
64 Place glory in so false a view?
65 Robbers invade their neighbour's right.
66 Be lov'd. Let justice bound your might.
67 Mean are ambitious heroes boasts
68 Of wasted lands and slaughter'd hosts;
69 Pyrates their power by murders gain,
70 Wise kings by love and mercy reign;
71 To me your clemency hath shown
72 The virtue worthy of a throne;
73 Heav'n gives you power above the rest,
74 Like Heav'n to succour the distrest.
75 The case is plain, the Monarch said;
76 False glory hath my youth mis-led,
77 For beasts of prey, a servile train,
78 Have been the flatt'rers of my reign.
79 You reason well. Yet tell me, friend,
80 Did ever you in courts attend?
81 For all my fawning rogues agree
82 That human heroes rule like me.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [01] I. The Lyon, the Tyger, and the Traveller.
Author: John Gay
Themes: animals
Genres: fable

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Source edition

Gay, John, 1685-1732. FABLES. By Mr. GAY. London: Printed for J. Tonson and J. Watts, MDCCXXVII., 1727, pp. []-5. [14],173,[1]p.: ill.; 4°. (ESTC T13818)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. 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.

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