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The Lion's Masquerade A Sequel to The Peacock at Home

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LION’s MASQUERADE. As Aurora stept forth from the gates of the East, With her garland of roses, and dew-spangled vest, A clamour unusual assaulted her ear, Instead of the Lark, and her friend Chanticleer, At least though their voices she sometimes could trace, They seem’d overpower’d by the whole feather’d race: And such was the chirping, and fluttering then, It rouz’d an old Lion asleep in his den; [p4]Enrag’d at this racket so much out of season, He, roaring, sent out to ask what was the reason, And the Jackal soon learnt from some stragglers about, ’Twas the company come from Sir Argus’s rout. The gay feather’d people pursuing their flight, Were soon out of hearing, and soon out of sight. But the King of the Quadrupeds vainly sought rest, For something like envy had poison’d his breast. What then were his feelings the following day, When every creature he met on his way, Could talk about nothing, both early and late, But the Peacock’s most sumptuous, and elegant fête. His name, through the woods as he wander’d along, Was still made the burthen of every song. [p5]That the concert was exquisite, all were agreed, And so were the ball, and the supper indeed, The company too of the very first rank, And the wit that prevail’d, and the toasts that were drank: He found to his infinite rage and vexation, ’Twas the favourite subject half over the nation; And feeling no longer a relish to roam, He return’d to his Lioness, sullenly, home. “Fair consort of mine, ’tis our pleasure,” he said, “To give very shortly, a grand Masquerade. Tho’ the Butterfly’s ball, and the Grasshopper’s feasts, Were too mean for my notice, as King of the beasts; Now the Peacock has chosen to give a fine rout, Which is heard of so much, is so blazon’d about, [p6]Has excited such rapture, and warm approbation, As threatens the rank which we hold in creation. Then with diligence, love, for my banquet prepare, And mind all the beasts of the forest are there.” ’Twas the task of the Jackal the tickets to pen, “The Lion sees masks, on the twentieth, at ten.” It would take a whole volume distinctly to name, The answer on answer that following came. There were some that were sick from the changeable weather, And some long engag’d in snug parties together. But few, very few would refuse such a thing, As a grand entertainment announc’d by their King. All devoted the time now to due preparation, To decide on their character, dress, decoration.


[p7]At length Phœbus dawn’d on the long wish’d-for day Which their beauty, their talents, and wit should display. What licking, and cleaning, what endless adorning, Not a creature stirr’d out the whole course of the morning; And some of their dresses were barely complete, At the time they were punctually order’d to meet, The Lioness, willing to sanction the rest, With a helmet, and spear, as Britannia was drest; But the Lion, as lord of the banquet, remain’d In the same noble figure that Nature ordain’d; And crouching beside her, with dignified mien, Contributed much to the state of his Queen....