John Gay (1685-1732) The Monkey who has Seen the World

A Monkey, to reform the times,

Resolv'd to visit foreign climes;

For men in distant regions roam

To bring politer manners home;

So forth he fares, all toil defies:
Misfortune serves to make us wise.

At length the treach'rous snare was laid,
Poor Pug was caught, to town convey'd,
There sold; (How envy'd was his doom,
Made captive in a lady's room!)
Proud as a lover of his chains,
He day by day her favour gains,
Whene'er the duty of the day,
The toilette calls; with mimic play
He twirles her knots, he cracks her fan,
Like any other gentleman.
In visits too his parts and wit,
When jests grew dull, were sure to hit.
Proud with applause, he thought his mind
In ev'ry courtly art refin'd,
Like Orpheus burnt with publick zeal,
To civilize the monkey weal;
So watch'd occasion, broke his chain,
And sought his native woods again.

The hairy sylvans round him press,
Astonish'd at his strut and dress,
Some praise his sleeve, and others glote

Upon his rich embroider'd coat,

His dapper perriwig commending

With the black tail behind depending,

His powder'd back, above, below,
Like hoary frosts, or fleecy snow;

But all, with envy and desire,

His fluttering shoulder-knot admire,

Hear and improve, he pertly cries,
I come to make a nation wise;
Weigh your own worth; support your place,
The next in rank to human race.
In cities long I pass'd my days,
Convers'd with men, and learnt their ways:
Their dress, their courtly manners see;
Reform your date, and copy me.
Seek ye to thrive? In flatt'ry deal,
Your scorn, your hate, with that conceal;
Seem only to regard your friends,
But use them for your private ends,
Stint not to truth the flow of wit,
Be prompt to lye, whene'er 'tis fit;
Bend all your force to spatter merit;
Scandal is conversation's spirit;
Boldly to ev'ry thing pretend,
And men your talents shall commend;
I knew the Great. Observe me right,
So shall you grow like man polite.

He spoke and bow'd. With mutt'ring jaws
The wondring circle grinn'd applause.

Now warm with malice, envy, spite,
Their most obliging friends they bite,
And fond to copy human ways,
Practise new mischiefs all their days;

Thus the dull lad, too tall for school,
With travel finishes the fool,
Studious of ev'ry coxcomb's air,
He drinks, games, dresses, whores and swears
O'erlooks with scorn all virtuous arts,
For vice is fitted to his parts.