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FABLE [47] XLVII.

The Court of Death.

1 Death, on a solemn night of state,
2 In all his pomp of terrors sate:
3 Th' attendants of his gloomy reign,
4 Diseases dire, a ghastly train,
5 Croud the vast court. With hollow tone
6 A voice thus thunder'd from the throne.
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7 This night our minister we name,
8 Let ev'ry servant speak his claim;
9 Merit shall bear this eban wand.
10 All, at the word, stretch'd forth their hand.
11 Feaver, with burning heat possest,
12 Advanc'd, and for the wand addrest.
13 I to the weekly bills appeal,
14 Let those express my fervent zeal,
15 On ev'ry slight occasion near,
16 With violence I persevere.
17 Next Gout appears with limping pace,
18 Pleads how he shifts from place to place,
19 From head to foot how swift he flies,
20 And ev'ry joint and sinew plys,
21 Still working when he seems supprest,
22 A most tenacious stubborn guest.
23 A haggard spectre from the crew
24 Crawls forth, and thus asserts his due.
25 'Tis I who taint the sweetest joy,
26 And in the shape of love destroy:
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27 My shanks, sunk eyes, and noseless face
28 Prove my pretension to the place.
29 Stone urg'd his ever-growing force.
30 And, next, Consumption's meagre corse,
31 With feeble voice, that scarce was heard,
32 Broke with short coughs, his suit prefer'd.
33 Let none object my lingring way,
34 I gain, like Fabius, by delay,
35 Fatigue and weaken ev'ry foe
36 By long attack, secure though slow.
37 Plague represents his rapid power,
38 Who thinn'd a nation in an hour.
39 All spoke their claim, and hop'd the wand.
40 Now expectation hush'd the band,
41 When thus the monarch from the throne.
42 Merit was ever modest known.
43 What, no physician speak his right!
44 None here! But fees their toils requite.
45 Let then Intemp'rance take the wand,
46 Who fills with gold their zealous hand.
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47 You, Feaver, Gout, and all the rest,
48 (Whom wary men, as foes, detest,)
49 Forgo your claim; no more pretend:
50 Intemp'rance is esteem'd a friend,
51 He shares their mirth, their social joys,
52 And, as a courted guest, destroys;
53 The charge on him must justly fall,
54 Who finds employment for you all.

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Title (in Source Edition): FABLE [47] XLVII. The Court of Death.
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. 159-162. [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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