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FABLE [04] IV.

The Eagle, and the Assembly of Animals.

1 AS Jupiter's all-seeing eye
2 Survey'd the worlds beneath the sky,
3 From this small speck of earth were sent
4 Murmurs and sounds of discontent;
5 For ev'ry thing alive complain'd
6 That he the hardest life sustain'd.
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7 Jove calls his Eagle. At the word
8 Before him stands the royal bird.
9 The Bird, obedient, from heav'n's height
10 Downward directs his rapid flight;
11 Then cited ev'ry living thing,
12 To hear the mandates of his king.
13 Ungrateful creatures, whence arise
14 These murmurs which offend the skies;
15 Why this disorder? say the cause:
16 For just are Jove's eternal Laws.
17 Let each his discontent reveal.
18 To yon sour dog I first appeal.
19 Hard is my lot, the hound replys,
20 On what fleet nerves the greyhound flys!
21 While I with weary step and slow
22 O'er plains and vales and mountains go;
23 The morning sees my chase begun,
24 Nor ends it 'till the setting sun.
25 When (says the greyhound) I pursue,
26 My game is lost, or caught in view,
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27 Beyond my sight the prey's secure:
28 The hound is slow but always sure.
29 And, had I his sagacious scent,
30 Jove ne'er had heard my discontent.
31 The lyon crav'd the foxe's art;
32 The fox, the lyon's force and heart;
33 The cock implor'd the pidgeon's flight,
34 Whose wings were rapid, strong and light;
35 The pidgeon strength of wing despis'd,
36 And the cock's matchless valour priz'd:
37 The fishes wish'd to graze the plain,
38 The beasts to skim beneath the main.
39 Thus, envious of another's state,
40 Each blam'd the partial hand of Fate.
41 The bird of heav'n then cry'd aloud.
42 Jove bids disperse the murm'ring croud:
43 The God rejects your idle prayers.
44 Would ye, rebellious mutineers,
45 Entirely change your name and nature,
46 And be the very envy'd creature?
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47 What, silent all, and none consent!
48 Be happy then, and learn content.
49 Nor imitate the restless mind,
50 And proud ambition of mankind.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [04] IV. The Eagle, and the Assembly of Animals.
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. 12-15. [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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