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JOHN GAY
English poet and dramatist
(1685 - 1732)
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In beauty, faults conspicuous grow;
  The smallest speck is seen on snow.
      - Fable--The Peacock, Turkey and Goose
         (l. 1) [Beauty]

One common fate we both must prove;
  You die with envy, I with love.
      - Fable--The Poet and Rose (l. 29) [Fate]

Cowards are cruel, but the brave
  Love mercy, and delight to save.
      - Fables (pt. I, fable 1) [Cowards]

Nor love, not honour, wealth nor pow'r,
  Can give the heart a cheerful hour
    When health is lost. Be timely wise;
      With health all taste of pleasure flies.
      - Fables (pt. I, fable 31) [Health]

Alas! you know the cause too well;
  The salt is spilt, to me it fell.
    Then to contribute to my loss,
      My knife and fork were laid across;
        On Friday, too! the day I dread;
          Would I were safe at home, in bed!
            Last night (I vow to Heaven 'tis true)
              Bounce from the fire a coffin flew.
                Next post some fatal news shall tell:
                  God send my Cornish friends be well!
      - Fables (pt. I, fable 37) [Superstition]

How bless'd, how envied, were our life,
  Could we but scape the poulterer's knife!
    But man, curs'd man, on Turkeys preys,
      And Christmas shortens all our days:
        Sometimes with oysters we combine,
          Sometimes assist the savory chine;
            From the low peasant to the lord,
              The Turkey smokes on every board.
      - Fables (pt. I, fable 39) [Christmas]

I never, with important air,
  In conversation overbear.
    . . . .
      My tongue within my lips I rein;
        For who talks much must talk in vain.
      - Fables (pt. I, introduction, l. 53)
        [Conversation]

Look round, the wrecks of play behold;
  Estates dismember'd, mortgag'd, sold!
    Their owners now to jails confin'd,
      Show equal poverty of mind.
      - Fables (pt. II, fable 12) [Gambling]

The prince who kept the world in awe,
  The judge whose dictate fix'd the law;
    The rich, the poor, the great, the small,
      Are levell'd; death confounds 'em all.
      - Fables (pt. II, fable 16) [Death]

When rogues like these (a sparrow cries)
  To honours and employments rise,
    I court no favor, ask no place,
      For such preferment is disgrace.
      - Fables (pt. II, fable 2) [Corruption]

Of all the fools that pride can boast,
  A Coxcomb claims distinction most.
      - Fables (pt. II, fable 5) [Foppery]

From wine what sudden friendship springs?
      - Fables (pt. II, fable 6)
        [Wine and Spirits]

Studious of elegance and ease.
      - Fables (pt. II, no. 8) [Study]

Give me, kind Heaven, a private station,
  A mind serene for contemplation:
    Title and profit I resign;
      The post of honor shall be mine.
      - Fables
         (pt. II, The Vulture, The Sparrow and other Birds)
        [Honor]

In every age and clime we see,
  Two of a trade can ne'er agree.
      - Fables--Rat-Catcher and Cats (l. 43)
        [Business : Proverbs]

Reproachful speech from either side
  The want of argument supplied;
    They rail, reviled; as often ends
      The contests of disputing friends.
      - Fables--Ravens--Sexton and Earth Worm
         (pt. II, l. 117) [Argument]

Who hath not heard the rich complain
  Of surfeits, and corporeal pain?
    He barr'd from every use of wealth,
      Envies the ploughman's strength and health.
      - Fables--The Cookmaid, Turnspit, and Ox
        [Wealth]

That Raven on yon left-hand oak
  (Curse on his ill-betiding croak)
    Bodes me no good.
      - Fables--The Farmer's Wife and the Raven
        [Ravens]

A lost good name is ne'er retriev'd.
      - Fables--The Fox at the Point of Death
         (l. 46) [Reputation]

And when a lady's in the case,
  You know all other things give place.
      - Fables--The Hare and Many Friends (l. 41)
        [Women]

Those who in quarrels interpose,
  Must often wipe a bloody nose.
      - Fables--The Mastiffs (l. 1) [Quarreling]

By outward show let's not be cheated;
  An ass should like an ass be treated.
      - Fables--The Packhorse and Carrier
         (pt. II, l. 99) [Appearance]

Remote from cities liv'd a Swain,
  Unvex'd with all the cares of gain;
    His head was silver'd o'er with age,
      And long experience made him sage.
      - Fables--The Shepherd and the Philosopher
         (part I) [Age]

From kings to cobblers 'tis the same;
  Bad servants wound their masters' fame.
      - Fables--The Squire and his Cur (pt. II)
        [Fame]

Envy's a sharper spur than pay:
  No author ever spar'd a brother;
    Wits are gamecocks to one another.
      - Fables-The Elephant and the Bookseller
         (pt. I, fable 10, l. 74) [Authorship : Envy]


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