[Page 134]

FABLE [40] XL.

The two Monkeys.

1 The learned, full of inward pride,
2 The fops of outward show deride;
3 The fop, with learning at defiance,
4 Scoffs at the pedant and the science:
5 The Don, a formal, solemn strutter,
6 Despises Monsieur's airs and flutter;
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7 While Monsieur mocks the formal fool,
8 Who looks, and speaks, and walks by rule.
9 Britain, a medly of the twain,
10 As pert as France, as grave as Spain,
11 In fancy wiser than the rest,
12 Laughs at them both, of both the jest.
13 Is not the poet's chiming close
14 Censur'd, by all the sons of prose?
15 While bards of quick imagination
16 Despise the sleepy prose narration.
17 Men laugh at apes, they men contemn;
18 For what are we, but apes to them?
19 Two Monkeys went to Southwark fair,
20 No criticks had a sourer air.
21 They forc'd their way through draggled folks,
22 Who gap'd to catch Jack-Pudding's jokes.
23 Then took their tickets for the show,
24 And got by chance the foremost row.
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25 To see their grave observing face
26 Provok'd a laugh thro' all the place.
27 Brother, says Pug, and turn'd his head,
28 The rabble's monstrously ill-bred.
29 Now through the booth loud hisses ran;
30 Nor ended 'till the Show began.
31 The tumbler whirles the flip-flap round,
32 With sommersets he shakes the ground;
33 The cord beneath the dancer springs;
34 Aloft in air the vaulter swings,
35 Distorted now, now prone depends,
36 Now through his twisted arms ascends;
37 The croud, in wonder and delight,
38 With clapping hands applaud the sight.
39 With smiles, quoth Pug; If pranks like these
40 The giant apes of reason please,
41 How would they wonder at our arts!
42 They must adore us for our parts.
43 High on the twig I've seen you cling,
44 Play, twist and turn in airy ring;
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45 How can those clumsy things, like me,
46 Fly with a bound from tree to tree?
47 But yet, by this applause, we find
48 These emulators of our kind
49 Discern our worth, our parts regard,
50 Who our mean mimicks thus reward.
51 Brother, the grinning mate replies,
52 In this I grant that man is wise,
53 While good example they pursue,
54 We must allow some praise is due;
55 But when they strain beyond their guide,
56 I laugh to scorn the mimic pride.
57 For how fantastick is the sight,
58 To meet men always bolt upright,
59 Because we sometimes walk on two!
60 I hate the imitating crew.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [40] XL. The two Monkeys.
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. 134-137. [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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