The Turkey And The Ant

A turkey, tired of common food,
Forsook the barn, and sought the wood;
Behind her ran an infant train,
Collecting here and there a grain.

'Draw near, my birds,' the mother cries,
'This hill delicious fare supplies.
Behold the busy negro race,
See, millions blacken all the place!

Fear not; like me with freedom eat;
An ant is most delightful meat.
How blest, how envied, were our life.
Could we but 'scape the poulterer's knife!

But man, cursed man, on turkeys preys,
And Christmas shortens all our days.
Sometimes with oysters we combine,
Sometimes assist the savoury chine:
From the low peasant to the Lord,
The turkey smokes on every board.

Some men for gluttony are curst,
Of the seven deadly sins the worst.'
An ant, who climbed beyond her reach,
Thus answer'd from a neighbouring beech;
‘Ere you remark another's sin,
Bid thy own conscience look within;
Control thy more voracious bill,
Nor, for a breakfast, nations kill.’

J. Gay