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MERCURY and the ELEPHANT.

A Prefatory FABLE.

1 AS Merc'ry travell'd thro' a Wood,
2 (Whose Errands are more Fleet than Good)
3 An Elephant before him lay,
4 That much encumber'd had the Way:
5 The Messenger, who's still in haste,
6 Wou'd fain have bow'd, and so have past;
7 When up arose th' unweildy Brute,
8 And wou'd repeat a late Dispute,
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9 In which (he said) he'd gain'd the Prize
10 From a wild Boar of monstrous Size:
11 But Fame (quoth he) with all her Tongues,
12 Who Lawyers, Ladies, Soldiers wrongs,
13 Has, to my Disadvantage, told
14 An Action throughly Bright and Bold;
15 Has said, that I foul Play had us'd,
16 And with my Weight th' Opposer bruis'd;
17 Had laid my Trunk about his Brawn,
18 Before his Tushes cou'd be drawn;
19 Had stunn'd him with a hideous Roar,
20 And twenty-thousand Scandals more:
21 But I defy the Talk of Men,
22 Or Voice of Brutes in ev'ry Den;
23 Th' impartial Skies are all my Care,
24 And how it stands Recorded there.
25 Amongst you Gods, pray, What is thought?
26 Quoth Mercury Then have you Fought!
27 Solicitous thus shou'd I be
28 For what's said of my Verse and Me;
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29 Or shou'd my Friends Excuses frame,
30 And beg the Criticks not to blame
31 (Since from a Female Hand it came)
32 Defects in Judgment, or in Wit;
33 They'd but reply Then has she Writ!
34 Our Vanity we more betray,
35 In asking what the World will say,
36 Than if, in trivial Things like these,
37 We wait on the Event with ease;
38 Nor make long Prefaces, to show
39 What Men are not concern'd to know:
40 For still untouch'd how we succeed,
41 'Tis for themselves, not us, they Read;
42 Whilst that proceeding to requite,
43 We own (who in the Muse delight)
44 'Tis for our Selves, not them, we Write.
45 Betray'd by Solitude to try
46 Amusements, which the Prosp'rous fly;
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47 And only to the Press repair,
48 To six our scatter'd Papers there;
49 Tho' whilst our Labours are preserv'd,
50 The Printers may, indeed, be starv'd.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): MERCURY and the ELEPHANT. A Prefatory FABLE.
Themes:
Genres: fable

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Source edition

Miscellany poems, on several occasions: Written by the Right Honble Anne, Countess of Winchilsea. London: printed for J. B. and sold by Benj. Tooke, William Taylor, and James Round, 1713, pp. 1-4. [8],390p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T94539; Foxon pp. 274-5; OTA K076314.000)

Editorial principles

The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Anne Finch (née Kingsmill), countess of Winchilsea