Remote from cities dwelt a swain, Unvexed by petty cares of gain; His head was silvered, and by age He had contented grown and sage;
John Gay (30 June 1685 – 4 December 1732) was an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for The Beggar’s Opera (1728), a ballad opera. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, became household names.
He had written several fables which were also very popular.
Accept, my Prince, the moral fable, To youth ingenuous, profitable. Nobility, like beauty's youth, May seldom hear the voice of truth;
A spaniel mightily well bred, Ne'er taught to labour for his bread, But to play tricks and bear him smart, To please his lady's eyes and heart,
“Give me a son, grant me an heir!” The fairies granted her the prayer. And to the partial parent's eyes Was never child so fair and wise;
As Jupiter's all-seeing eye Surveyed the worlds beneath the sky, From this small speck of earth were sent, Murmurs and sounds of discontent;
A sheep lay tethered, and her life Fast ebbing on the butcher's knife; The silly flock looked on with dread. A wild boar, passing them, then said:
The wind was high, the window shook, The miser woke with haggard look; He stalked along the silent room, He shivered at the gleam and gloom,
A lion, sick of pomp and state, Resolved his cares to delegate. Reynard was viceroy named—the crowd Of courtiers to the regent bowed;