The Turnspit Taught

The dinner must be dish'd at one.
Where's this vexatious Turnspit gone?
Unless the skulking cur is caught,
The sir-loin 's spoil'd and I'm in fault.
Thus said; (for sure you'll think it fit
That I the Cook-maid's oaths omit)
With all the fury of a cook,
Her cooler kitchin Nan forsook;
The broomstick o'er her head she waves,
She sweats, she stamps, she puffs, she raves;
The sneaking cur before her flies,
She whistles, calls, fair speech she tries,
These nought avail; her choler burns,
The fist and cudgel threat by turns.
With hasty stride she presses near,
He slinks aloof, and howls with fear.
Was ever cur so curs'd, he cry'd,
What star did at my birth preside!
Am I for life by compact bound
To tread the wheel's eternal round?
Inglorious task! Of all our race
No slave is half so mean and base.
Had fate a kinder lot assign'd,
And form'd me of the lap-dog kind,
I then, in higher life employ'd,
Had indolence and ease enjoy'd,
And, like a gentleman carest.
Had been the lady's fav'rite guest.
Or were I sprung from spaniel line,
Was his sagacious nostril mine,
By me, their never erring guide,
From wood and plain their feasts supply'd,
Knights, squires, attendant on my pace,
Had shar'd the pleasures of the chace.
Endu'd with native strength and fire,
Why call'd I not the lyon sire?
A lyon! such mean views I scorn.
Why was I not of woman born?
Who dares with reason's power contend?
On man we brutal slaves depend:
To him all creatures tribute pay,
And luxury employs his day.
An Ox by chance o'erheard his moan,
And thus rebuk'd the lazy drone.
Dare you at partial fate repine?
How kind's your lot compared with mine!
Decreed to toil, the barb'rous knife
Hath sever'd me from social life;
Urg'd by the stimulating goad,
I drag the cumbrous waggon's load;
'Tis mine to tame the stubborn plain,
Break the stiff soil, and house the grain;
Yet I without a murmur bear
The various labours of the year.
But then consider that one day
(Perhaps the hour's not far away)
You, by the duties of your post,
Shall turn the spit when I'm the roast:
And for reward shall share the feast,
I mean, shall pick my bones at least.
'Till now, th' astonish'd Cur replies,
I look'd on all with envious eyes;
How false we judge by what appears!
All creatures feel their sev'ral cares.
If thus yon mighty beast complains,
Perhaps man knows superior pains.
Let envy then no more torment.
Think on the Ox, and learn content.
Thus said; close-following at her heel,
With chearful heart he mounts the wheel.
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