About the Poem
About the poet
Anne Finch was an aristocrat acquainted with the most famous poet of the age, Alexander Pope....
The hog, the sheep and the goat, carrying to a fair
Who does not wish, ever to judge aright,
And, in the course of life's affairs,
To have a quick, and far-extended sight,
Though it too often multiplies his cares?
And who has greater sense, but greater sorrow shares?
This felt the swine, now carrying to the knife;
And whilst the lamb and silent goat
In the same fatal cart lay void of strife,
He widely stretches his foreboding throat,
Deafening the easy crew with his outrageous note.
The angry driver chides th' unruly beast,
And bids him all this noise forbear;
Nor be more loud, nor clamorous than the rest,
Who with him travelled to the neighbouring fair,
And quickly should arrive and be unfettered there.
‘This,’ quoth the swine, ‘I do believe, is true,
And see we're very near the town;
Whilst these poor fools, of short and bounded view,
Think 'twill be well, when you have set them down,
And eased one of her milk, the other of her gown.
‘But all the dreadful butchers in a row,
To my far-searching thoughts appear,
Who know indeed we to the shambles go,
Whilst I, whom none but Beelzebub would shear,
Nor but his dam would milk, must for my carcase fear.’
‘But tell me then, will it prevent thy fate?’
The rude, unpitying farmer cries;
‘If not, the wretch who tastes his sufferings late,
Not he, who through th' unhappy future pries,
Must of the two be held most fortunate and wise.’
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