The Colt And The Farmer

: Moores Fables For Girls

Tell me, CORINNA, if you can,

Why so averse, so coy, to man?

Did NATURE, lavish of her care,

From her best pattern form you fair,

That you, ungrateful to her cause,

Should mock her gifts, and spurn her laws?

And, miser-like, withhold that store,

Which, by imparting, blesses more?

Beauty's a gift, by heav'n assign'd,

The portion of the female kind;

or this the yielding maid demands

Protection at her lover's hands;

And though, by wasting years, it fade,

Remembrance tells him, once 'twas paid.

And will you then this wealth conceal,

For AGE to rust, or TIME to steal?

The summer of your youth to rove,

A stranger to the joys of love?

Then, when LIFE'S winter hastens on,

And YOUTH'S fair heritage is gone,

Dow'rless to court some peasant's arms,

To guard your wither'd age from harms!

No gratitude to warm his breast,

For blooming beauty once possess'd;

How will you curse that stubborn pride,

Which drove your bark across the tide;

And, sailing before FOLLY'S wind,

Left sense and happiness behind!

CORINNA, lest these whims prevail,

To such as you I write my tale.

A COLT, for blood and mettled speed,

The choicest of the running breed,

Of youthful strength and beauty vain,

Refus'd subjection to the rein;

In vain the groom's officious skill

Oppos'd his pride, and check'd his will;

In vain the master's forming care,

Restrain'd with threats, or sooth'd with pray'r;

Of freedom proud, and scorning man,

Wide o'er the spacious plains he ran.

Where'er luxuriant NATURE spread

Her flow'ry carpet o'er the mead,

Or bubbling streams, soft gliding, pass

To cool and freshen up the grass;

Disdaining bounds, he cropp'd the blade,

And wanton'd in the spoil he made.

In plenty thus the summer pass'd,

Revolving winter came at last;

The trees no more a shelter yield;

The verdure withers from the field;

Perpetual snows invest the ground,

In icy chains the streams are bound,

Cold nipping winds, and rattling hail,

His lank, unshelter'd sides assail.

As round he cast his rueful eyes,

He saw the thatch-roof'd cottage rise;

The prospect touch'd his heart with cheer,

And promis'd kind deliv'rance near.

A stable, erst his scorn and hate,

Was now become his wish'd retreat;

His passion cool, his pride forgot,

A FARMER'S welcome yard he sought.

The master saw his woeful plight,

His limbs, that totter'd with his weight,

And friendly to the stable led,

And saw him litter'd, dress'd, and fed.

In slothful ease all night he lay;

The servants rose at break of day;

The market calls.--Along the road

His back must bear the pond'rous load;

In vain he struggles, or complains--

Incessant blows reward his pains.

To-morrow varies but his toil;

Chain'd to the plough he breaks the soil:

While scanty meals at night repay

The painful labours of the day.

Subdu'd by toil, with anguish rent,

His self-upbraidings found a vent.

Wretch that I am! he sighing said,

By arrogance and folly led;

Had but my restive youth been brought

To learn the lesson NATURE taught,

Then had I, like my sires of yore,

The prize from ev'ry courser bore;

While man bestow'd rewards and praise,

And females crown'd my latter days.

Now lasting servitude's my lot,

My birth contemn'd, my speed forgot;

Doom'd am I, for my pride, to bear

A living death from year to year.