The gods our perils would make wealthy,
If we our vows remembered, when once made.
But, dangers passed, and we, all safe and healthy,
Forget the promises on altars laid;
We only think of what we owe to men.
Jove, says the atheist, is a creditor
Who never sends out bailiffs; if so, then
What is the thunder meant as warning for?
A Passenger, in tempest tossed and rolled,
To Jupiter a hundred oxen offered.
He hadn′t one; had he been only bold,
A hundred elephants he would have proffered:
They′d cost him not a single farthing more.
Suddenly mounted unto great Jove′s nose
The scent of beef bones burnt upon the shore.
"Accept my promised vow," the rascal crows;
"′Tis ox you smell: the smoke is all for thee:
Now we are quits." Jove smiled a bitter smile;
But, some days after, sent a dream, to be
The recompense of that man′s wicked guile.
The dream informed him where a treasure lay:
The man ran to it, like a moth to flame.
Some robbers seized him. Having nought to pay,
He promised them at once, if they but came
Where he′d a hundred talents of good gold.
The place, far off, pleased not the wary thieves;
And one man said, "My comrade, I am told
You mock us; and he dies, whoe′er deceives.
Go and take Pluto, for an offering,
Your hundred talents: they will please the king."