Christopher Smart

Karina Williamson and Anne Becher (eds), The Poetical Works of Christopher Smart, Vol. 6: A Poetical Translation of the Fables of Phaedrus

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fable xv. The sapient ASS.

  • 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.'

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
i. xv. 4 no odds: no difference (cf. PW v, Sat. ii. viii. 59).
Critical Apparatus
fable xv. 11 he] we 1765
Editor’s Note
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').
Editor’s Note
i. xv. 13 Jack: short for jackass.
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