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Full Online Book HomePoemsMan, Cat, Dog, And Fly
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Man, Cat, Dog, And Fly Post by :xsitepro Category :Poems Author :John Gay Date :May 2011 Read :1422

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Man, Cat, Dog, And Fly

(_To my Native Land._)


My native land, whose fertile ground
Neptune and Amphitrite bound,--
Britain, of trade the chosen mart,
The seat of industry and art,--
May never luxury or minister
Cast over thee a mantle sinister!
Still let thy fleet and cannon's roar
Affright thy foes and guard thy shore.
When Continental States contend,
Be thou to them a common friend.
Imperial rule may sway their land;
Here Commerce only takes her stand,
Diffusing good o'er all the world.
The flag of Commerce, where unfurled,
Stands with fair plenty in her train,
And wealth, to bless her bright domain.
For where the merchant sails to trade
Fair is the face of Nature made.
Glad is the king, in regal dome;
Glad is the rustic, in his home;
The flocks and culture glad the fields,
And Peace her boon of plenty yields.
For Nature meant that man should share
The goods abounding everywhere,
And barter corn, and oil, and wine;
The iron ore and twisted twine,
Cotton and silk, deep-bedded coal,
Be interchanged from pole to pole.
So each land's superfluities
Should bind lands by commercial ties;
And carry, from abounding stores,
The luxuries of distant shores.
The monarch and the rustic eat
Of the same harvest, the same wheat;
The artizan supplies the vest,
The mason builds the roof of rest;
The self-same iron-ores afford
The coulter of the plough and sword;
And all, from cottage to the throne,
Their common obligation own
For private and for public cause,
Protecting property and laws.

The animals were once distressed
By bitter famine, and addressed
Themselves to man to find them food,
And bound themselves in servitude;
For, whilst they starved, or whilst they fed,
Man had his lasting hoards of bread.

The cat demanded leave to sue,
"Well, Puss," says Man, "and what can you do?"
"Scatter the rats and mice," said Tib;
"And guard your grain in sack or crib.
Foe am I of the _genus Mus_,
Absurdly called '_ridiculus_;'
Dan AEsop called him so, not I;
Feed me, and every mouse shall die."

Then to the starving hound, Man said:
"Well, sir, and how can you earn bread?"

"My name is Trusty," said the hound;
"And ne'er was I untrusty found.
I am not used, by self-applause,
To pander to my famished jaws;
But I am well known; if you please
To ask my character of these.
My province is to watch, and keep
The house and fold the whilst you sleep;
And thief and wolf alike shall know
I am your friend, and am their foe."

"Ah!" said the Man, "we rarely find
Trust uncorrupted with mankind.
Such services, indeed, transcend;
Pray, be my comrade and my friend."

Then to the drone he turned, and said:
"Well, sir; can you, sir, earn your bread?"

"I will explain, sir, if I can;
I am," said drone, "a gentleman.
Mechanics earn their bread--not I:
Where'er there honey is, I fly;
But, truly, it would not be fit
I should submit to toil for it:
I visit peaches, plums, and roses,
Where Beauty on a couch reposes;
I seldom fail the placid hour,
When she takes bohea in the bower;
Nor do I gather stores of pelf--,
My object is to please myself;
And if I lay to aught pretence,
It is to ease and elegance."

"So, Mr. Drone; and have you done?
Then, from that peach, I pray, begone;
If you won't work, you shall not eat,--
That is, with me; so quit that seat.
If all the world were such as you,
We all should starve when north winds blew
But he who, with industrious zeal,
Contributes to the common weal,
Has the true secret understood
Of private and of public good.
Be off with you!" He raised his hand,
Which the vain insect dared withstand;
It smote the parasite of pride
And there the idler fell, and died.


(The end)
John Gay's poem: Man, Cat, Dog, And Fly

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