Archive for July 26th, 2018

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Fable: Of the Cock and the Fox by John Dennis

A Cock stood Sentry on a Tree,
A shrowd experienc’d creature He,
A damn’d arch Bird, as one shall see.
Him Renard in his rounds espy’d,
And near he drew, and thus he cry’d,
Why how now, Coz! do’st hear the News?
There’s now an universal Truce;
Which must be follow’d by a Peace,
War amongst Animals must cease.
Come down, and let me hug thee, Dear Rogue.
Thought Chanticleer, thou art a meer Rogue,
A damn’d false Dog as e’re told lye,
Ile shew thee a Dog trick by and by.
Friend Renard, this is glorious News,
Who could have hop’d for such a Truce.
And yet I doubt not but it’s true,
For look you hitherwards, come two
Tall hide-bound Curs, who doubtless bring
Expresses to confirm the thing.
The first with meager mien and Phys-grim,
Is he who in single fight slew Isgrim:
The other’s he with whom thy Sire
Did in a close embrace expire.
Full stretch along the plain they scower
And in a minute of an hour,
Will tell us how th’ affair has pass’d.
Ah! Plague and Pox upon their hast;
Cryes Renard, who ran scampering thence,
So scar’d h’ has ne’re left stinking since.
Thus was the wily Beast defeated:
‘Tis just the Cheater should be cheated.

There’s no Man more obnoxious to deceit,
Than an experienc’d, and successful Cheat;
For he presuming on his own address,
Draws deep Security from long Success.
He’s oft too vain, another to suspect,
Now Caution of suspicion is th’ Effect,
And only Caution can from Fraud protect.
Those Sharpers who by cheating throve so fast,
They thought t’ have topp’d upon the World at last;
Did on the sudden one Tarpawlin meet,
Who gull’d them of their Gold and of their Fleet.

From: Dennis, John, Miscellanies in Verse and Prose a Quote, 2004, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 111-113.

Date: 1693

By: John Dennis (1657-1734)