Fables For The Holy Alliance. Fable Iv. The Fly And The Bullock.

A poem by Thomas Moore


Of all that, to the sage's survey,
This world presents of topsy-turvy,
There's naught so much disturbs one's patience,
As little minds in lofty stations.
'Tis like that sort of painful wonder.
Which slender columns, laboring under
Enormous arches, give beholders;--
Or those poor Caryatides,
Condemned to smile and stand at ease,
With a whole house upon their shoulders.

If as in some few royal cases,
Small minds are born into such places--
If they are there by Right Divine
Or any such sufficient reason,
Why--Heaven forbid we should repine!--
To wish it otherwise were treason;
Nay, even to see it in a vision,
Would be what lawyers call misprision.

SIR ROBERT FILMER saith--and he,
Of course, knew all about the matter--
"Both men and beasts love Monarchy;"
Which proves how rational the latter.
SIDNEY, we know, or wrong or right.
Entirely differed from the Knight:
Nay, hints a King may lose his head.
By slipping awkwardly his bridle:--
But this is treasonous, ill-bred,
And (now-a-days, when Kings are led
In patent snaffles) downright idle.

No, no--it isn’t right-line Kings,
(Those sovereign lords in leading strings
Who, from their birth, are Faith-Defenders,)
That move my wrath--'tis your pretenders,
Your mushroom rulers, sons of earth,
Who--not, like t'others, bores by birth,
Establisht gratiâ Dei blockheads,
Born with three kingdoms in their pockets--
Yet, with a brass that nothing stops,
Push up into the loftiest stations,
And, tho' too dull to manage shops,
Presume, the dolts, to manage nations!

This class it is, that moves my gall,
And stirs up bile, and spleen and all.
While other senseless things appear
To know the limits of their sphere--
While not a cow on earth romances
So much as to conceit she dances--
While the most jumping frog we know of,
Would scarce at Astley's hope to show off--
Your ***s, your ***s dare,
Untrained as are their minds, to set them
To any business, any where,
At any time that fools will let them.

But leave we here these upstart things--
My business is just now with Kings;
To whom and to their right-line glory,
I dedicate the following story.


The wise men of Egypt were secret as dummies;
And even when they most condescended to teach,
They packt up their meaning, as they did their mummies,
In so many wrappers, 'twas out of one's reach.

They were also, good people, much given to Kings--
Fond of craft and of crocodiles, monkeys and mystery;
But blue-bottle flies were their best beloved things--
As will partly appear in this very short history.

A Scythian philosopher (nephew, they say,
To that other great traveller, young Anacharsis,)
Stept into a temple at Memphis one day,
To have a short peep at their mystical farces.

He saw a brisk blue-bottle Fly on an altar,
Made much of, and worshipt, as something divine;
While a large, handsome Bullock, led there in a halter,
Before it lay stabbed at the foot of the shrine.

Surprised at such doings, he whispered his teacher--
"If 'tisn't impertinent, may I ask why
"Should a Bullock, that useful and powerful creature,
"Be thus offered up to a bluebottle Fly?"

"No wonder"--said t'other--"you stare at the sight,
"But we as a Symbol of Monarchy view it--
"That Fly on the shrine is Legitimate Right,
"And that Bullock, the People that's sacrificed to it."

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