1754 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

Anonymous, "To a Young Lady, on reading Gay's Fables" Gentleman's Magazine 24 (February 1754) 90.



MADAM,
I've trac'd Gay's fables o'er and o'er,
Which often read, delight the more,
Their morals are exceeding good,
If rightly weigh'd and understood.
An ample present for a prince,
To feast and cultivate his sense;
T' emblish, form, and clear his mind,
And learn him how to read mankind.

Who wou'd their sentiments convey,
And treat us in a moral lay,
Must learn this maxim, e'er they write,
To mix instruction with delight.
Fable should always moralize,
And make men good as well as wise.