A Brazen Pot, by scouring vext


The Brass-Pot, and Stone-Jugg. A FABLE.

Primary Texts:

No MS; 1713 Misc, 55-8*.
[Page 55]

A brazen Pot, by scouring vext,
With Beef and Pudding still perplext,
Resolv'd t' attempt a nobler Life,
Urging the Jugg to share the Strife:

[Page 56]

Brother, quoth he, (Love to endear)
Why shou'd We Two continue here,
To serve and cook such homely Cheer?
Who tho' we move with awkward pace,
Your stony Bowels, and my Face,
Abroad can't miss of Wealth and Place.
Then let us instantly be going,
And see what in the World is Doing.
The bloated Jugg, supine and lazy,
Who made no Wish, but to be easy,
Nor, like it's Owner, e'er did think
Of ought, but to be fill'd with Drink;
Yet something mov'd by this fine Story,
And frothing higher with Vain-glory,
Reply'd, he never wanted Metal,
But had not Sides, like sturdy Kettle,
That in a Croud cou'd shove and bustle,
And to Preferment bear the Justle;
When the first Knock would break His Measures,
And stop his Rise to Place and Treasures.

[Page 57]

Sure (quoth the Pot ) thy Scull is thicker,
Than ever was thy muddiest Liquor:
Go I not with thee, for thy Guard,
To take off Blows, and Dangers ward?
And hast thou never heard, that Cully
Is borne thro' all by daring Bully?
Your self (reply'd the Drink-conveigher)
May be my Ruin and Betrayer:
A Superiority you boast,
And dress the Meat, I but the Toast:
Than mine your Constitution's stronger,
And in Fatigues can hold out longer;
And shou'd one Bang from you be taken,
I into Nothing shou'd be shaken.
A d'autre cry'd the Pot in scorn,
Dost think, there's such a Villain born,
That, when he proffers Aid and Shelter,
Will rudely fall to Helter-Skelter?
No more, but follow to the Road,
Where Each now drags his pond'rous Load,

[Page 58]

And up the Hill were almost clamber'd,
When (may it ever be remember'd!)
Down rolls the Jugg, and after rattles
The most perfidious of all Kettles;
At every Molehill gives a Jump,
Nor rests, till by obdurate Thump,
The Pot of Stone, to shivers broken,
Sends each misguided Fool a Token:
To show them, by this fatal Test,
That Equal Company is best,
Where none Oppress, nor are Opprest.

Secondary Eds:

Rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 177-8.


La Fontaine, "Le Pot de Terre et le Pot de Fer," V, 2, 135-6; perhaps also influenced by earlier Hudibrastic imitations of La Fontaine (i.e., 1693 John Dennis, Miscellanies in Verse and Prose (includes 10 Hudibrastic fables); 1704 Mandeville Aesop Dress'd, A Collection of Fables. Writ in Familiar Verse, all but one from are derived from La Fontaine).


Rpt of 1713: 1757 Colman, 241-2.


Another utterly free one. Finch takes a relatively brief highly controlled stanzaic poem, concise, and with a dry moral and turns it into vibrant homey doggerel or fully Hudibrastic fable verse, loose-ended, highly appropriate to her tale. La Fontaine's verse is elegant; in moral it's La Fontaine and she follows the emblem picture, but text is really her own.
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Page Last Updated 8 January 2003