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Cock-Fighting

Volume I

The Gaming Table by Andrew Steinmetz, Volume II

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Cock-Fighting

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'Meantime, the wary Wisbich walks and breathes
His active body, and in fury wreathes
His comely crest, and often with a sound,
He whets his angry beak upon the ground.
This done, they meet, not like that coward breed
Of Aesop; these can better fight than feed:
They scorn the dunghill; 'tis their only prize
TO DIG FOR PEARLS WITHIN EACH OTHER'S EYES.

'They fought so nimbly that 'twas hard to know,
E'en to the skill'd, whether they fought or no;
If that the blood which dyed the fatal floor
Had not borne witness of 't. Yet fought they more;
As if each wound were but a spur to prick
Their fury forward. Lightning's not more quick,
Or red, than were their eyes: 'twas hard to know
Whether 'twas blood or anger made them so.
I'm sure they had been out had they not stood
More safe by being fenced in with blood.

Thus they vied blows; but yet (alas!) at length,
Altho' their courage was full tried, their strength
And blood began to ebb.

Their wings, which lately at each blow they clapp'd
(As if they did applaud themselves), now flapp'd.
And having lost th' advantage of the heel,
Drunk with each other's blood, they only reel.
>From either eyes such drops of blood did fall
As if they wept them for their funeral.
And yet they fain would fight; they came so near,
Methought they meant into each other's ear
TO WHISPER WOUNDS; and when they could not rise,
They lay and look'd blows into each other's eyes.

But now the tragic part! After this fit,
When Norfolk cock had got the best of it,
And Wisbich lay a dying, so that none,
Tho' sober, but might venture Seven to One;
Contracting, like a dying taper, all
His strength, intending with the blow to fall,
He struggles up, and having taken wind,
Ventures a blow, and strikes the other blind!

'And now poor Norfolk, having lost his eyes,
Fights only guided by antipathies:
With him, alas! the proverb holds not true--
The blows his eyes ne'er saw his heart most rue.
At length, by chance, he stumbled on his foe,
Not having any power to strike a blow.
He falls upon him with his wounded head,
And makes his conqueror's wings his feather-bed;
Where lying sick, his friends were very chary
Of him, and fetch'd in haste a Pothecary;
But all in vain! His body did so blister
That 'twas incapable of any glyster;
Wherefore, at length, opening his fainting bill,
He call'd a scriv'ner and thus made his Will.

'IMPRIMIS--Let it never be forgot,
My body freely I bequeath to th' pot,
Decently to be boil'd.
****
ITEM: Executors I will have none
But he that on my side laid Seven to One;
And, like a gentleman that he may live,
To him, and to his heirs, my COMB I give,
Together with my brains, that all may know
That oftentimes his brains did use to crow.
****
To him that 's dull I do my SPURS impart,
And to the coward I bequeath my HEART.
To ladies that are light, it is my will
My FEATHERS shall be given; and for my BILL
I'd give 't a tailor, but it is so short,
That I'm afraid he'll rather curse me for 't:
****
Lastly, because I feel my life decay,
I yield and give to Wisbich COCK THE DAY!'[70]

[70] The passages left out in the Will, as marked by asterisks,
though witty, are rather too gross for modern eyes.

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