Karina Williamson and Anne Becher (eds), The Poetical Works of Christopher Smart, Vol. 6: A Poetical Translation of the Fables of Phaedrus
- 1In all the changes of a state,
- 2The poor are the most fortunate,
- 3Who, save the name of him they call
- Editor’s Note4Their king, can find no odds at all.
- 5 The truth of this you now may read——
- 6A fearful old man in a mead,
- 7While leading of his Ass about,
- 8Was startled at the sudden shout
- 9Of enemies approaching nigh——
- 10He then advis'd the Ass to fly,
- Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus11Lest he be taken in the place;
- 12But loth at all to mend his pace,
- Editor’s Note13'Pray will the conqueror,' quoth Jack,
- 14'With double panniers load my back?'
- 15'No,' says the man——'If that's the thing,'
- 16Cries he, 'I care not who is king.'
fable xv. 11 he] we 1765
i. xv. 11 he: the 1756 reading we is clearly wrong. SL has ne possent capi ('lest they might be captured'), ignoring Bentley's emendation posset ('he might').
i. xv. 13 Jack: short for jackass.