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FABLE [36] XXXVI.

Pythagoras and the Countryman.

1 Pythag'ras rose at early dawn.
2 By soaring meditation drawn,
3 To breathe the fragrance of the day,
4 Through flow'ry fields he took his way;
5 In musing contemplation warm,
6 His steps mis-led him to a farm,
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7 Where, on the ladder's topmost round
8 A Peasant stood; the hammer's sound
9 Shook the weak barn. Say, friend, what care
10 Calls for thy honest labour there?
11 The Clown with surly voice replies.
12 Vengeance aloud for justice cries:
13 This kite, by daily rapine fed,
14 My hen's annoy, my turkey's dread,
15 At length his forfeit life hath paid;
16 See, on the wall his wings display'd,
17 Here nail'd, a terror to his kind,
18 My fowls shall future safety find,
19 My yard the thriving poultry feed,
20 And my barn's refuse fat the breed.
21 Friend, says the Sage, the doom is wise,
22 For publick good the murd'rer dies;
23 But if these tyrants of the air
24 Demand a sentence so severe,
25 Think how the glutton man devours;
26 What bloody feasts regale his hours!
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27 O impudence of power and might,
28 Thus to condemn a hawk or kite,
29 When thou perhaps, carniv'rous sinner,
30 Hadst pullets yesterday for dinner!
31 Hold, cry'd the Clown, with passion heated,
32 Shall kites and men alike be treated?
33 When Heav'n the world with creatures stor'd,
34 Man was ordain'd their sov'raign lord.
35 Thus tyrants boast, the Sage reply'd,
36 Whose murders spring from power and pride.
37 Own then this manlike kite is slain
38 Thy greater lux'ry to sustain;
39 For
* Garth's Dispensary.
petty rogues submit to fate
40 That great ones may enjoy their state.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [36] XXXVI. Pythagoras and the Countryman.
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. 121-123. [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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