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FABLE [08] VIII.

The Lady and the Wasp.

1 What whispers must the Beauty bear!
2 What hourly nonsense haunts her ear!
3 Where-e'er her eyes dispense their charms
4 Impertinence around her swarms.
5 Did not the tender nonsense strike,
6 Contempt and scorn might look dislike,
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7 Forbidding airs might thin the place,
8 The slightest flap a fly can chase.
9 But who can drive the num'rous breed?
10 Chase one, another will succeed.
11 Who knows a fool, must know his brother;
12 One fop will recommend another;
13 And with this plague she's rightly curst,
14 Because she listen'd to the first.
15 As Doris, at her toilette's duty,
16 Sate meditating on her beauty,
17 She now was pensive, now was gay,
18 And loll'd the sultry hours away.
19 As thus in indolence she lyes,
20 A giddy wasp around her flies,
21 He now advances, now retires,
22 Now to her neck and cheek aspires;
23 Her fan in vain defends her charms,
24 Swift he returns, again alarms,
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25 For by repulse he bolder grew,
26 Perch'd on her lip and sipt the dew.
27 She frowns, she frets. Good Gods, she crys,
28 Protect me from these teazing flys!
29 Of all the plagues that heav'n hath sent
30 A wasp is most impertinent.
31 The hov'ring insect thus complain'd.
32 Am I then slighted, scorn'd, disdain'd?
33 Can such offence your anger wake?
34 'Twas beauty caus'd the bold mistake.
35 Those cherry lips that breathe perfume,
36 That cheek so ripe with youthful bloom
37 Made me with strong desire pursue
38 The fairest peach that ever grew.
39 Strike him not, Jenny, Doris crys,
40 Nor murder wasps, like vulgar flys,
41 For though he's free (to do him right)
42 The creature's civil and polite.
43 In ecstasies away he posts,
44 Where-e'er he came the favour boasts,
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45 Brags how her sweetest tea he sips,
46 And shows the sugar on his lips.
47 The hint alarm'd the forward crew.
48 Sure of success away they flew;
49 They share the daintys of the day,
50 Round her with airy musick play,
51 And now they flutter, now they rest,
52 Now soar again, and skim her breast,
53 Nor were they banish'd, 'till she found
54 That wasps have stings, and felt the wound.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [08] VIII. The Lady and the Wasp.
Author: John Gay
Themes: animals
Genres: fable

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Source edition

FABLES. By Mr. GAY. London: Printed for J. Tonson and J. Watts, MDCCXXVII., 1727, pp. 25-28. [14],173,[1]p.: ill.; 4°. (ESTC T13818)

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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.

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