[Page 37]

FABLE [11] XI.

The Peacock, the Turkey, and Goose.

1 In beauty faults conspicuous grow,
2 The smallest speck is seen on snow.
3 As near a barn, by hunger led,
4 A Peacock with the poultry fed;
5 All view'd him with an envious eye,
6 And mock'd his gaudy pageantry:
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7 He, conscious of superior merit,
8 Contemns their base reviling spirit,
9 His state and dignity assumes,
10 And to the sun displays his plumes,
11 Which, like the heav'n's o'er-arching skies,
12 Are spangled with a thousand eyes;
13 The circling rays and varied light
14 At once confound their dazled sight,
15 On ev'ry tongue detraction burns,
16 And malice prompts their spleen by turns.
17 Mark, with what insolence and pride
18 The creature takes his haughty stride,
19 The Turkey crys. Can spleen contain?
20 Sure never bird was half so vain!
21 But were intrinsic merit seen,
22 We turkeys have the whiter skin.
23 From tongue to tongue they caught abuse;
24 And next was heard the hissing Goose.
25 What hideous legs! what filthy claws!
26 I scorn to censure little flaws.
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27 Then what a horrid squawling throat!
28 Ev'n owls are frighted at the note.
29 True. Those are faults, the Peacock crys,
30 My scream, my shanks you may despise:
31 But such blind critics rail in vain.
32 What, overlook my radiant train!
33 Know, did my legs (your scorn and sport)
34 The turkey or the goose support,
35 And did ye scream with harsher sound,
36 Those faults in you had ne'er been found;
37 To all apparent beautys blind,
38 Each blemish strikes an envious mind.
39 Thus in Assemblys have I seen
40 A nymph of brightest charms and mien
41 Wake envy in each ugly face;
42 And buzzing scandal fills the place.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [11] XI. The Peacock, the Turkey, and Goose.
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. 37-39. [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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