In a famed town of Caledonia's land,
A prosperous port contiguous to the strand,
A monarch feasted in right royal state;
But care still dogs the pleasures of the Great,
And well his faithful servants could surmise
From his distracted looks and broken sighs
That though the purple bowl was circling free,
His mind was prey to black perplexity.
At last, while others thoughtless joys invoke,
Fierce from his breast the laboured utterance broke;
"Alas!" he cried, "and what to me the gain
Though I am king of all this fair domain,
Though Ceres minister her plenteous hoard,
And Bacchus with his bounty crowns my board,
If Neptune still, reluctant to obey,
Neglects my sceptre and denies my sway?
On a far mission must my vessels urge
Their course impetuous o'er the boiling surge;
But who shall guide them with a dextrous hand,
And bring them safely to that distant land?
Whose skill shall dare the perils of the deep,
And beard the Sea-god in his stormy keep?
He spake: and straightway, rising from his side
An ancient senator, of reverend pride,
Unsealed his lips, and uttered from his soul
Great store of flatulence and rigmarole;
-- All fled the Court, which shades of night invest,
And Pope and Gay and Prior told the rest.
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