[Page 67]

FABLE [20] XX.

The Old Hen and the Cock.

1 REstrain your child; you'll soon believe
2 The text, which says, we sprung from Eve.
3 As an old Hen led forth her train,
4 And seem'd to peck to show the grain;
5 She rak'd the chaff, she scratch'd the ground,
6 And glean'd the spacious yard around.
7 A giddy chick, to try her wings,
8 On the well's narrow margin springs,
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9 And prone she drops. The mother's breast
10 All day with sorrow was possest.
11 A Cock she met; her son she knew,
12 And in her heart affection grew.
13 My son, says she, I grant your years
14 Have reach'd beyond a mother's cares;
15 I see you vig'rous, strong and bold,
16 I hear with joy your triumphs told;
17 'Tis not from cocks thy fate I dread:
18 But let thy ever-wary tread
19 Avoid yon well; that fatal place
20 Is sure perdition to our race.
21 Print this my counsel on thy breast;
22 To the just Gods I leave the rest.
23 He thank'd her care; yet day by day
24 His bosom burn'd to disobey,
25 And every time the well he saw
26 Scorn'd in his heart the foolish law;
27 Near and more near each day he drew,
28 And long'd to try the dang'rous view.
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29 Why was this idle charge? he crys:
30 Let courage female fears despise.
31 Or did she doubt my heart was brave,
32 And therefore this injunction gave?
33 Or does her harvest store the place,
34 A treasure for her younger race?
35 And would she thus my search prevent?
36 I stand resolv'd, and dare th' event.
37 Thus said. He mounts the margin's round,
38 And prys into the depth profound.
39 He stretch'd his neck; and from below
40 With stretching neck advanc'd a foe;
41 With wrath his ruffled plumes he rears,
42 The foe with ruffled plumes appears;
43 Threat answer'd threat, his fury grew,
44 Headlong to meet the war he flew;
45 But when the watry death he found,
46 He thus lamented, as he drown'd.
47 I ne'er had been in this condition
48 But for my mother's prohibition.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [20] XX. The Old Hen and the Cock.
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. 67-69. [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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