“Jupiter and the Farmer”
When Poets gave their God in Crete a Birth,
Then Jupiter held Traffick with the Earth,
And had a Farm to Lett: the Fine was high,
For much the Treas’ry wanted a Supply,
By Danae’s wealthy Show’r exhausted quite, and dry. 5
But Merc’ry, who as Steward kept the Court,
So rack’d the Rent, that all who made Resort
Unsatisfy’d return’d, nor could agree
To use the Lands, or pay his secret Fee;
’Till one poor Clown (thought subt’ler than the rest, 10
Thro’ various Projects rolling in his Breast)
Consents to take it, if at his Desire
All Weathers tow’rds his Harvest may conspire;
The Frost to kill the Worm, the brooding Snow,
The filling Rains may come, and Phoebus glow. 15
The Terms accepted, sign’d and seal’d the Lease,
His Neighbours Grounds afford their due Encrease
The Care of Heav’n; the Owner’s Cares may cease.
Whilst the new Tenant, anxious in his Mind,
Now asks a Show’r, now craves a rustling Wind 20
To raise what That had lodg’d, that he the Sheaves may bind.
The Sun, th’o’er-shadowing Clouds, the moistning Dews
He with such Contrariety does chuse;
So often and so oddly shifts the Scene,
Whilst others Load, he scarce has what to Glean. 25
O Jupiter! with Famine pinch’d he cries,
No more will I direct th’ unerring Skies;
No more my Substance on a Project lay,
No more a sullen Doubt I will be betray,
Let me but live to Reap, do Thou appoint the way. 30
1 Crete Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean; classical myth holds that the infant Jupiter was sequestered on Crete in a cave to protect him from being devoured by his father, Cronus, King of the Titans (OCD).
2 Jupiter “Roman God of the sky who also went by the name, Jove” (Britannica).
3 Fine “A sum of money paid by a tenant on the commencement of a tenancy in order that [the] rent remain small or nominal” (OED).
5 Danae’s wealthy show’r Zeus appeared to Danae in the form of a golden shower, impregnated her, and she gave birth to Perseus (OCD).
6 Merc’ry “An ancient Roman God. He is the son of Jupiter and Maia” (OED); Steward “One who manages the affairs of an estate on behalf of his employer” (OED).
7 rack’d “To increase…by an excessive amount” (OED).
10 Clown “A countryman, rustic” (OED).
15 Phoebus “A nickname for Apollo. The name Phoebus was used in discussion related to the sun” (OCD).
21 Sheaves “Large bundle[s] in which it is usual to bind cereal plants after reaping” (OED).
25 Glean “To gather or pick up (ears of corn or other produce) after reaping” (OED).
SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1714), pp. 49-51. [Google Books]
Edited by Andrea Cruz