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FABLE [15] XV.

The Philosopher and the Pheasants.

1 The Sage, awak'd at early day,
2 Through the deep forest took his way;
3 Drawn by the musick of the groves,
4 Along the winding gloom he roves;
5 From tree to tree, the warbling throats
6 Prolong the sweet alternate notes.
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7 But where he past he terror threw,
8 The song broke short, the warblers flew,
9 The thrushes chatter'd with affright,
10 And nightingales abhorr'd his sight;
11 All animals before him ran
12 To shun the hateful sight of man.
13 Whence is this dread of ev'ry creature?
14 Fly they our figure or our nature?
15 As thus he walk'd in musing thought,
16 His ear imperfect accents caught;
17 With cautious step he nearer drew,
18 By the thick shade conceal'd from view:
19 High on the branch a Pheasant stood,
20 Around her all her list'ning brood,
21 Proud of the blessings of her nest,
22 She thus a mother's care exprest.
23 No dangers here shall circumvent,
24 Within the woods enjoy content.
25 Sooner the hawk or vulture trust
26 Than man; of animals the worst;
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27 In him ingratitude you find,
28 A vice peculiar to the kind.
29 The sheep, whose annual fleece is dy'd,
30 To guard his health, and serve his pride,
31 Forc'd from his fold and native plain,
32 Is in the cruel shambles slain.
33 The swarms, who, with industrious skill,
34 His hives with wax and honey fill,
35 In vain whole summer days employ'd,
36 Their stores are sold, the race destroy'd.
37 What tribute from the goose is paid!
38 Does not her wing all science aid?
39 Does it not lovers hearts explain,
40 And drudge to raise the merchant's gain?
41 What now rewards this general use?
42 He takes the quills and eats the goose.
43 Man then avoid, detest his ways,
44 So safety shall prolong your days.
45 When services are thus acquitted,
46 Be sure we pheasants must be spitted.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [15] XV. The Philosopher and the Pheasants.
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. 50-52. [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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