You lust of gain,—foul fiend, whose evil eyes Regard as nothing the blessings of the skies, Must I for ever battle you in vain? How long demandest you to gain The meaning of my lessons plain?
How do I hate the tide of vulgar thought! Profane, unjust, with childish folly fraught; It breaks and bends the rays of truth divine, And by its own conceptions measures mine. Famed Epicurus' master tried The power of this unstable tide.
Lapluck and Caesar brothers were, descended From dogs by Fame the most commended, Who falling, in their puppyhood, To different masters anciently, One dwelt and hunted in the boundless wood; From thieves the other kept a kitchen free.
With mighty rush and roar, Adown a mountain steep A torrent tumbled,—swelling over Its rugged banks,—and bore Vast ruin in its sweep.
Four creatures, wont to prowl,— Sly Grab-and-Snatch, the cat, Grave Evil-bode, the owl, Thief Nibble-stitch, the rat, And Madam Weasel, prim and fine,— Inhabited a rotten pine.
You often hear a sweet seductive call: If wise, you haste towards it not at all;— And, if you heed my apologue, You act like John de Nivelle's dog. A capon, citizen of Mans, Was summoned from a throng To answer to the village squire,
Said Jupiter, one day, As on a cloud he lay, "Observing all our crimes, Come, let us change the times, By leasing out anew A world whose wicked crew
Between two citizens A controversy grew. The one was poor, but much he knew: The other, rich, with little sense, Claimed that, in point of excellence, The merely wise should bow the knee To all such moneyed men as he.