The Goat without a Beard

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Fable XXII

'Tis certain, that the modish passions
Descend among the crowd, like fashions.
Excuse me then, if pride, conceit,
(The manners of the fair and great)
I give to monkeys, asses, dogs,
Fleas, owls, goats, butterflies, and hogs.
I say that these are proud. What then?
I never said they equal men.
   A goat (as vain as goat can be)
Affected singularity.

Whene'er a thymy bank he found,
He rolled upon the fragrant ground;
And then with fond attention stood,
Fixed o'er his image in the flood.
   'I hate my frowsy beard,' he cries;
'My youth is lost in this disguise.
Did not the females know my vigour,
Well might they loathe this reverend figure.'
   Resolved to smoothe his shaggy face,
He sought the barber of the place.

A flippant monkey, spruce and smart,
Hard by, professed the dapper art;
His pole with pewter basins hung,
Black rotten teeth in order strung,
Ranged cups that in the window stood,
Lined with red rags, to look like blood,
Did well his threefold trade explain,
Who shaved, drew teeth, and breathed a vein.
   The goat he welcomes with an air,
And seats him in his wooden chair:

Mouth, nose, and cheek the lather hides:
Light, smooth, and swift the razor glides.
   'I hope your custom, sir,' says pug.
'Sure never face was half so smug.'
   The goat, impatient for applause,
Swift to the neighbouring hill withdraws:
The shaggy people grinned and stared.
   'Heyday! what's here? without a beard!
Say, brother, whence the dire disgrace?
What envious hand hath robbed your face?'

   When thus the fop with smiles of scorn:
'Are beards by civil nations worn?
Even Muscovites have mowed their chins.
Shall we, like formal Capuchins,
Stubborn in pride, retain the mode,
And bear about the hairy load?
Whene'er we through the village stray,
Are we not mocked along the way;
Insulted with loud shouts of scorn,
By boys our beards disgraced and torn?'

   'Were you no more with goats to dwell,
Brother, I grant you reason well,'
Replies a bearded chief. 'Beside,
If boys can mortify thy pride,
How wilt thou stand the ridicule
Of our whole flock? Affected fool!
Coxcombs, distinguished from the rest,
To all but coxcombs are a jest.'

The Fables, Volume 1 (1727)
Introduction The Shepard and the Philosopher
Fable I The Lion, the Tiger, and the Traveller
Fable II The Spaniel and the Cameleon
Fable III The Mother, the Nurse, and the Fairy
Fable IV The Eagle, and the Assembly of Animals
Fable V The wild Boar and the Ram
Fable VI The Miser and Plutus
Fable VII The Lion, the Fox, and the Geese
Fable VIII The Lady and the Wasp
Fable IX The Bull and the Mastiff
Fable X The Elephant and the Bookseller
Fable XI The Peacock, the Turkey, and the Goose
Fable XII Cupid, Hymen, and Plutus
Fable XIII The Tame Stag
Fable XIV The Monkey who had seen the World
Fable XV The Philosopher and the Pheasants
Fable XVI The Pin and the Needle
Fable XVII The Shepherd's Dog and the Wolf
Fable XVIII The Painter who pleased Nobody and Everybody
Fable XIX The Lion and the Cub
Fable XX The Old Hen and the Cock
Fable XXI The Rat-catcher and Cats
Fable XXII The Goat without a Beard
Fable XXIII The Old Woman and her Cats
Fable XXIV The Butterfly and the Snail
Fable XXV The Scold and the Parrot
Fable XXVI The Cur and the Mastiff
Fable XXVII The Sick Man and the Angel
Fable XXVIII The Persian, the Sun, and the Cloud
Fable XXIX The Fox at the point of Death
Fable XXX The Setting-dog and the Partridge
Fable XXXI The Universal Apparition
Fable XXXII The Two Owls and the Sparrow
Fable XXXIII The Courtier and Proteus
Fable XXXIV The Mastiffs
Fable XXXV The Barley-mow and the Dunghill
Fable XXXVI Pythagoras and the Countryman
Fable XXXVII The Farmer's Wife and the Raven
Fable XXXVIII The Turkey and the Ant
Fable XXXIX The Father and Jupiter
Fable XL The Two Monkeys
Fable XLI The Owl and the Farmer
Fable XLII The Jugglers
Fable XLIII The Council of Horses
Fable XLIV The Hound and the Huntsman
Fable XLV The Poet and the Rose
Fable XLVI The Cur, the Horse, and the Shepherd's Dog
Fable XLVII The Court of Death
Fable XLVIII The Gardener and the Hog
Fable XLIX The Man and the Flea
Fable L The Hare and many Friends

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