Sidor som bilder

Nor tardier fruits of cruder kind are loft,
But tam'd with fire, or mellow'd by the froft;
While kine to pails diftended udders bring,
And bees their honey redolent of fpring;
While earth not only can your needs fupply,
But, lavish of her ftore, provides for luxury;
A guiltless feast adminifters with ease,
And without blood is prodigal to please.

Wild beafts their maws with their flain brethren fill,

And yet not all, for fome refuse to kill:
Sheep, goats, and oxen, and the nobler steed,
On browz, and corn, the flow'ry meadows feed.
Bears, tigers, wolves, the lion's angry brood,
Whom heav'n endu'd with principles of blood,
He wifely funder'd from the reft, to yell
In forests, and in lonely caves to dwell,
Where stronger beasts oppress the weak by might,
And all in prey and purple feafts delight.

O impious use! to Nature's laws oppos'd,
Where bowels are in other bowels clos'd:
Where, fatten'd by their fellow's fat, they thrive;
Maintain'd by murder, and by death they live.
'Tis then for nought that mother earth provides
The ftores of all the fhows, and all she hides,

If men with fleshly morfels must be fed, And chaw with bloody teeth the breathing bread;

What else is this but to devour our guests,
And barb'roufly renew Cyclopean feasts!
We, by destroying life, our life sustain ;
And gorge th' ungodly maw with meats obfcene.
Not fo the golden age, who fed on fruit,
Nor durft with bloody meals their mouths pollute.
Then birds in airy space might fafely move,
And tim'rous hares on heaths fecurely rove:
Nor needed fish the guileful hooks to fear,
For all was peaceful, and that peace fincere.
Whoever was the wretch (and curs'd be he)
That envy'd first our food's fimplicity;
Th' effay of bloody feafts on brutes began,
And after forg'd the fword to murder man.
Had he the sharpen'd steel alone employ'd
On beafts of prey that other beasts destroy'd,
Or men invaded with their fangs and paws,
This had been juftify'd by Nature's laws,
And felf-defence: but who did feasts begin
Of flesh, he stretch'd neceffity to fin.
To kill man-killers, man has lawful pow'r,
But not th' extended licence, to devour.


Ill habits gather by unfeen degrees,
As brooks make rivers, rivers run to feas.
The fow, with her broad fnout for rooting up
Th' intrusted feed, was judg'd to fpoil the crop,
And intercept the sweating farmer's hope:
The covetous churl, of unforgiving kind,
Th' offender to the bloody priest refign'd:
Her hunger was no plea; for that she dy'd.
The goat came next in order, to be try'd:
The goat had cropt the tendrils of the vine:
In vengeance laity and clergy join,
Where one had loft his profit, one his wine.
Here was, at least, some shadow of offence:
The sheep was facrific'd on no pretence,
But meek and unrefifting innocence.
A patient, ufeful creature, born to bear

The warm and woolly fleece, that cloath'd her murderer,

And daily to give down the milk she bred,
A tribute for the grafs on which she fed.
Living, both food and raiment fhe fupplies,
And is of least advantage when she dies.

How did the toiling ox his death deserve,
A downright fimple drudge, and born to serve?
O tyrant! with what juftice canft thou hope
The promise of the year, a plenteous crop ;

When thou destroy'ft thy lab'ring fteer, who till'd, And plow'd, with pains, thy elfe ungrateful field? From his yet reeking neck to draw the yoke, That neck with which the furly clods he broke ; And to the hatchet yield thy husbandman, Who finish'd autumn, and the spring began! Nor this alone! but heav'n itself to bribe, We to the Gods our impious acts afcribe: First recompense with death their creature's toil, Then call the blefs'd above to fhare the spoil: The fairest victim muft the pow'rs appease: (So fatal 'tis fometimes too much to please!) A purple fillet his broad brows adorns, With flow'ry garlands crown'd, and gilded horns: He hears the murd'rous pray'r the priest prefers, But understands not, 'tis his doom he hears: Beholds the meal betwixt his temples caft, (The fruit and product of his labors past ;) And in the water views perhaps the knife Uplifted, to deprive him of his life; Then broken up alive, his entrails fees Torn out, for priests t' infpect the Gods decrees.

From whence, O mortal men, this guft of blood Have you deriv'd, and interdicted food?

Be taught by me this dire delight to shun,
Warn'd by my precepts, by my practice won:

And when you eat the well-deferving beast,
Think, on the lab'rer of your field you
Now fince the God infpires me to proceed,
Be that, whate'er infpiring Pow'r, obey'd.
For I will fing of mighty myfteries,

Of truths conceal'd before from human eyes,
Dark oracles unveil, and open all the skies.
Pleas'd as I am to walk along the fphere
Of shining stars, and travel with the year,
To leave the heavy earth, and scale the height
Of Atlas, who fupports the heav'nly weight:
To look from upper light, and thence furvey
Mistaken mortals wand'ring from the
And wanting wisdom, fearful for the state.
Of future things, and trembling at their fate!
Those I would teach; and by right reafon bring
To think of death, as but an idle thing.
Why thus affrighted at an empty name,
A dream of darkness, and fictitious flame?
Vain themes of wit, which but in poems pass,
And fables of a world, that never was!
What feels the body when the foul expires,
By time corrupted, or confum'd by fires?
Nor dies the fpirit, but new life repeats
In other forms, and only changes feats.

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