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Poem by William Broome

The Oak, and the Dunghill

          A Fable

On a fair Mead a Dunghill lay,
That rotting smoakt, and stunk away;
To an excessive Bigness grown,
By Night-men's Labours on him thrown.
Ten thousand Nettles from him sprung;
Who ever came but near, was stung.
Nor ever fail'd He, to produce
The baneful Hemlock's deadly Juice:
Such as of old at Athens grew,
When Patriots thought it Phocion's Due;
And for the Man its Poison prest,
Whose Merit shone above the rest.

Not far from hence, strong-rooted stood
A sturdy Oak; it self a Wood!
With friendly Height, o'ertopt the Grove,
And look'd, the Fav'rite Tree of Jove.
Beneath his hospitable Shade,
The Shepherds all, at Leisure, plaid;
They fear'd no Storms of Hail, or Rain;
His Boughs protected all the Plain:
Gave Verdure to the Grass around,
And beautify'd the neighb'ring Ground.
The Gracious Landlord joy'd to see
The prosp'rous Vigour of his Tree;
And often sought, when in Distress,
This Oak's oracular Redress:
Sprung from the old Dodonian Grove,
Which told to Men the Will of Jove.
His Boughs He oft with Chaplets crown'd,
With azure Ribbons bound them round;
And there, in Golden Letters wrought,
Ill to the Man, who Evil thought.

With envious Rage, the Dunghill view'd
Merit, with Honour, thus pursued.
Th' Injustice of the Times, he moan'd;
With inward Jealousy, he groan'd.
A Voice at length, pierc'd thro' the Smoke,
And thus, the Patriot Dunghill spoke.

If a proud Look forerun a Fall,
And Insolence for Vengeance call;
Dost Thou not fear, insulting Oak!
The just, th' impending Hatchet's Stroke?
When all the Farmers of the Town,
Shall come with Joy, to pull Thee down;
And wear thy Leaves, all blythe, and gay,
For 'tis reserv'd to those good Times,
To punish all thy matchless Crimes.
Beyond the Alps, my Mind now sees
The Man, shall fell such Traytor Trees.
To Heav'n, 'tis true, thy Branches grow;
But thy Roots stretch to Hell below.
Oh! that my Utt'rance cou'd keep pace,
In cursing Thee, and all thy Race!
Thou Plunderer! grown rich by Crimes:
Thou Woolsey of these modern Times!
Thou curst Sejanus of the Plain!
Thou Slave, of a Tiberian Reign!
Empson and Dudley! Ч Star and Garter!Ч
A Knez! Ч a Menzicoff! Ч a Tartar!

Th' astonish'd Farmers all around
Stood gaping, at th' impetuous Sound;
The Dunghill in high Triumph lay,
And swore the Oak had nought to say.
His Work was done; Ч the Farmers All
Might gather round, and see him fall.
Not so th' Event. Ч the Oak was seen
To flourish more, in fresher green.
By Scandal unprovok'd He stood;
And answer'd thus, the Heap of Mudd.

When Folly, Noise, and Slander rage,
And Calumny reforms the Age;
They, in the Wise no Passions raise;
Their Clamours turn to real Praise.
Yet sure, hard-fated is the Tree,
Reduc'd to spatter Dirt, with Thee.
Soon should a Branch, from off my Side,
Chastise thine Insolence, and Pride,
Did not the Wise obtain their Ends,
As well from Enemies, as Friends.
Thus, some Increase thy Heap receives,
Ev'n from the falling of my Leaves;
Which, like false Friends, when dropt from Me,
Assimilate, and turn to Thee.
But be they thine. Ч New Seasons spread
New Honours, o'er my rising Head.

William Broome

William Broome's other poems:
  1. A Pastoral
  2. Melancholy
  3. The Rosebud. To the Lady Jane Wharton
  4. To a Lady of Thirty

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