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Poem by John Gay


Part I. Fable 48. The Gardener and the Hog


  A gard'ner, of peculiar taste,
  On a young hog his favour placed;
  Who fed not with the common herd;
  His tray was to the hall preferred.
  He wallowed underneath the board,
  Or in his master's chamber snored;
  Who fondly stroked him every day,
  And taught him all the puppy's play;
  Where'er he went, the grunting friend
  Ne'er failed his pleasure to attend.

     As on a time, the loving pair
  Walked forth to tend the garden's care,
  The master thus address'd the swine:
     'My house, my garden, all is thine.
  On turnips feast whene'er you please,
  And riot in my beans and peas;
  If the potato's taste delights,
  Or the red carrot's sweet invites,
  Indulge thy morn and evening hours,
  But let due care regard my flowers:

  My tulips are my garden's pride,
  What vast expense those beds supplied!'
     The hog by chance one morning roamed,
  Where with new ale the vessels foamed.
  He munches now the steaming grains,
  Now with full swill the liquor drains.
  Intoxicating fumes arise;
  He reels, he rolls his winking eyes;
  Then stagg'ring through the garden scours,
  And treads down painted ranks of flowers.

  With delving snout he turns the soil,
  And cools his palate with the spoil.
     The master came, the ruin spied,
  'Villain, suspend thy rage,' he cried.
  'Hast thou, thou most ungrateful sot,
  My charge, my only charge forgot?
  What, all my flowers!' No more he said,
  But gazed, and sighed, and hung his head.
     The hog with stutt'ring speech returns:
  'Explain, sir, why your anger burns.

  See there, untouched, your tulips strown,
  For I devoured the roots alone.'
     At this the gard'ner's passion grows;
  From oaths and threats he fell to blows.
  The stubborn brute the blow sustains;
  Assaults his leg, and tears the veins.
     Ah! foolish swain, too late you find
  That sties were for such friends designed!
     Homeward he limps with painful pace,
  Reflecting thus on past disgrace:

  Who cherishes a brutal mate
  Shall mourn the folly soon or late.




                      John Gay


John Gay's other poems:
  1. Part II. Fable 17. Ay and No
  2. Sweet William's Farewell To Black-Ey'd Susan
  3. The Quidnunckis
  4. To A Young Lady, With Some Lampreys
  5. Part II. Fable 12. Pan and Fortune


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