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Alexander Pope (1688–1744). Complete Poetical Works. 1903.

Poems of Uncertain Date

Verbatim from Boileau

First Published by Warburton in 1751

Un jour, dit un auteur, etc.

ONCE (says an author, where I need not say)

Two travellers found an Oyster in their way:

Both fierce, both hungry, the dispute grew strong,

While, scale in hand, dame Justice pass’d along.

Before her each with clamour pleads the laws,

Explain’d the matter, and would win the cause.

Dame Justice weighing long the doubtful right,

Takes, opens, swallows it before their sight.

The cause of strife remov’d so rarely well,

‘There take (says Justice), take ye each a shell.

We thrive at Westminster on fools like you:

’T was a fat Oyster—Live in peace—Adieu.’