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" The wisest of the Ancients delivered their Conceptions of the Deity, 
and their Lessons of Morality, in Fables and Parables." 1 







To the Youth of the British Isles. 

IN collecting together, for your use and benefit, some of 
the prudential maxims, and moral apothegms, of the 
ancient sages, the Publishers of this volume have been 
stimulated by an ardent desire to render this excellen 
mode of instruction as agreeable as possible; and, at the 
same time, to impress the precepts contained in the Fables 
more forcibly on your minds, they have endeavoured to 
make the embellishments worthy of your notice and 

If the seeds of morality and patriotism be early sown 
they will spring up, and ripen to maturity, in a confirmed 
love of truth, integrity and honour; and without these for 
his guide, no man can do credit to himself or his country. 
This consideration is of vital importance; for our comfort 



and happiness through life, mainly depend upon a strict 
adherence to the rules of morality and religion. The 
vouth who is early tutored in an invincible regard for his 
own character, will soon perceive the duties imposed upon 
him by society, and will have pleasure in fulfilling them, 
as much for his own satisfaction as for the sake of his 
fellow men: but when the latent powers of the mind are 
neglected, or not directed into the paths of rectitude, by 
good precepts and worthy examples, vice and folly enter 
the opening, and lead their victim into evils and errors, 
which render his life miserable, and sometimes hurry him 
into an ignominious grave. 

To delineate the characters and passions of men, under 
the semblance of Lions, Tigers, Wolves, and Foxes, is 
not so extravagant a fiction as it may at first sight seem: 
for the innocent and inexperienced will find, w r hen they 
engage in the busy scenes of the world, that they will have 
to deal with men of dispositions not unlike those animals: 
and that their utmost vigilance will be required to guard 
against their violence or machinations. 

In attempting to form an estimate of the characters of 
mankind, many gradations and shades will be found 
between the two extremes of virtue and vice. The philan- 
thropist views with feelings of benevolence the wavering 
balance, and adds those he finds on the confines to the 
number of the virtuous; while the misanthrope, with 
gloomy malignity, endeavours to include within the circle 
of vice, those who are standing upon the ill-defined line 
of division, and thus swells the number of the bad. Both 
observe with pain, that great numbers exist, whose whole 
lives seem to be spent in disfiguring the beautiful order 
which might otherwise reign in society, regardless of the 


misery which their wickedness scatters around them. They 
see men, who suffer their bad passions and gross appetites 
to be the sole rule of their conduct; and whether these 
shew themselves in an inordinate ambition, a thirst after 
false glory, or an insatiable avarice, their consequences are 
pernicious, and diffuse evil, distress, and ruin among man- 
kind, in proportion to the extent to which their baneful 
influence reaches. The misanthrope, in contemplating the 
scene of mischief and disorder, is apt to arraign the wisdom 
.and justice of Providence for permitting it to exist; but the 
philanthropist views it with a more extended range of vision; 
and while he laments the evil, he attributes the apparent 
want of human feelings in the actors, to an early perversion 
of intellect, or to a stifling of the reasoning power given 
by the Great Creator to man for his guide, and without 
which he is the worst animal in the creation, a mere two- 
legged Tiger. Upon the childhood and youth of such 
men, the great truth taught by the inspired and wisest 
writers of all ages, that "no life can be pleasing to God 
which is not useful to man," has not been sufficiently im- 
pressed, or probably the energy with which they pursue their 
wicked career might have been led into a different course, 
and instead of the scourges, they would have been the 
benefactors of mankind. 

When religion and morality are blended together in the 
mind, they impart their blessings to all who seek the aid of 
the one and obey the dictates of the other, and their joint 
effects are seen and felt in the perpetual cheerfulness they 
impart. They incite the innocent whistle of the ploughman 
at his plough, of the cobbler in his stall, and the song of 
the milk-maid at her pail: and it is a sign of their being 
perverted, when they engender melancholy notions ; for 


these are the offspring of bigotry, fanaticism, and ignorance. 
The service of the Omnipotent is not of this gloomy cast: 
he has spread out the table of this beautiful world of 
wonders for the use of his creatures, and has placed man 
at the head of it, that he might enjoy its bounties, as well 
as prepare himself for the approaching change to anotherf 
which inspiration has powerfully impressed on his soul as 
the unknowable region of his next advance. The material- 
ist, in his dreary reveries, cannot comprehend this, neither 
will he acknowledge that his being placed here is equaHy 
as miraculous as that he should be placed in another world 
or worlds, progressively to improve, to all eternity: but to 
harbour doubts on this subject, is like disputing the wisdom, 
the justice, and the mercy of the Author of our being, 
who, according to the conceptions we form of his goodness, 
as exhibited in the design, the grandeur, and the immensity 
of creation, where every thing is systematic, regular, and in 
order, would never decree that man should be placed here 
instinctively to know his Maker to take a short peep at the 
stupendous, the amazing whole to view all these, and have 
powers of mind given him only to know and repugnantly 
to feel, that after a life mixed with turmoil, grief, and 
disease, he is to be annihilated! In our conception of 
things, and to the limited understanding which has been 
given us, all this would appear to be labour in vain. 

The volume of the creation speaks alike to all, and 
cannot be defaced by man; but the ways of Providence are 
beyond his comprehension. Omnipotence has not been 
pleased to gratify his pride and vanity, nor to consult his 
understanding, in the government of the universe; but 
sufficient has been disclosed unto him to point out the 
moral duties he owes to society, and the religious worship 

PREFACE. vil. 

due to his Maker, without groping- after what is utterly 
beyond his reach : for our feeble reason is too weak to com- 
prehend the divine essence: and our thoughts, on their 
utmost stretch, roll back on darkness. We reason, but we 
err: for how can we comprehend the immensity of endless 
space, of time and eternity, a beginning or an end; or what 
conceptions can we form of the power which made the sun 
and worlds without number? Truly, this is far too much 
for a finite being, who does not know why he can move 
one of his' own fingers, or cease to do so when he pleases! 
But all may know and fulfil their religious obligations, by 
reverencing and adoring their Creator, and walking humbly 
before him, and their moral duties, by being in their several 
stations, good sons, brothers, husbands, wives, fathers, 
mothers, neighbours, and members of society. 

Having, with humble diffidence, in this masquerade of 
life, attempted to point out to youth the exterior of the 
temple of virtue, and to lead them to its steps, the Editor 
leaves them there, respectfully recommending them to 
explore the whole interior, under the guidance of men more 
eminent for their mental powers and attainments in learning, 
philosophy, and piety. Of these, an illustrious band have 
placed, at every avenue and turning, their inestimable 
works, as directions to guide us to usefulness and respect- 
ability here, and eternal happiness hereafter. 

Newcastle, September, 1818. 


FROM time to time, in all ages, men inspired, or gifted 
with a superior degree of intellectual power, have appeared 
upon the stage of life, in order (by enlightening others) to 
fulfil the designs of Omnipotence, in uniting the world in 
a state of civilized society .- 

Patriarchs, or heads of families, at first directed or 
governed those who were immediately dependent upon 
them: these in time increased, and became dans; these 
again, by their quarrels, and their wars, were induced to 
elect chieftains or kings over a number of united clans, 
from which were formed the various nations and king- 
doms of the earth. In this early stage of the world, 
when men were ignorant and uncivilized, the chase and 

VOL iv. b 


war seem almost wholly to have occupied their time and 
attention. Their kings ruled over them with despotic 
sway, and the will of the prince was the only law: and 
thus the barbarism of the subject and the tyranny of the 
ruler went hand in hand together. That over-swollen 
pride, which seems the natural accompaniment of despotic 
power, blinds the understandings of its possessors, and 
renders them wholly regardless of the important trust 
reposed in them. The evils arising out of their bad 
government, are felt, more or less, by the whole people 
over whom they preside; and pride and arrogance pre- 
vent the approach of sincerity and truth. The sycophant 
and the slave then only find admission, and all other 
men are kept at a distance. While kings and governors 
were of this character, the voice of truth could only reach 
their ears through allegory and fable, which took their rise 
in the infancy of learning, and seem to have been the 
only safe mode of conveying admonition to tyrants. This 
pleasing method of instilling instruction into the mind, 
has been found by experience to be the shortest and best 
way of accomplishing that end, among all ranks and con- 
ditions of men. 

The first Fable upon record, is that of Jotham and 
the Trees, in the Bible; and the next, that of The Poor 
Man and his Lamb, as related by Nathan to King David, 
and which carried with it a blaze of truth that flashed 
conviction on the mind of the royal transgressor. Lessons 
of reproof, religion, and morality, were, we find, continually 
delivered in this mode, by the sages of old, to the exalted 
among mankind. 

It is asserted by authors, that Apologues and Fables 
had their origin in the eastern world, and that the most 
ancient of them were the productions of Yeeshnou Sarma r 
commonly called Pilpay, whose beautiful collections of 
Apologues were esteemed as sacred books in India and 
Persia, whence they were spread abroad among other 
nations, and were by them celebrated and holden in much 


estimation. They were translated from the Persian and 
Arabian into Greek, by Simeon Seth, a man of great 
learning, who was an officer of the imperial household at 
Constantinople about the year 1070. Seth's Version was 
imitated in Latin by Piers Alfonse, a converted Jew, as 
early as the year 1107; and this is supposed to have 
been the first version of Pilpay's Apologues that made 
its way, and became familiarized in Europe. The time 
in which Pilpay lived, seems not to be certainly known 
to the learned; but some of them suppose that the Fables 
of /Esop and others were grounded upon his models. The 
time in which /Esop lived is better ascertained, and of all 
the Fabulists who have amused and instructed mankind 
by their writings, his name stands pre-eminent. Authors 
fix his birth-place at Cotieum, in Phrygia Major. But 
the history of this remarkable person, who lived about 572 
years before Christ, and about 100 years before Herodotus, 
the Greek Historian, has been so involved in mystery, 
traditionary stories, and absurd conjectures, that any 
attempt to give a detail from such materials, would only 
serve to bewilder youth, and lead them into a labyrinth 
of error ; and it would be impertinent to trouble the learned 
rea ler with that which must be sufficiently familiar to 
him.* The whole of the absurd fictions concerning this wise 
and amiable man, were invented by Maximus Planudes, a 
Greek monk.f Plutarch, and other authentic historians, % 
have, however, given a very different account of the illustrious 

* The curious enquirer is referred to the Essay on the yEsopean 
Fable, by Sir Brooke Boothby, Bart., from which this sketch is 

t Planudes lived at Constantinople in the i4th century. His 
Fables were printed at Milan, A.D. 1480. 

t The first person who took great pains to detect and expose the 
follies and absurdities of Planudes's Life of .^Esop, and collected what 
could be known, was Bachet de Mezeriac, a man of great learning, 
who flourished about the year 1632. 


Fabulist. It would appear, according to some of these 
relations, that ^Esop, originally a Shepherd's boy, had 
risen from the condition of a slave, to great eminence, 
and that he lived in the service of Xanthus and judman, 
or Idmon, in the island of Samos, and afterwards at 
Athens. Phcedrus speaks of him as living the greater part 
of his life at the latter place, where, it appears, a handsome 
statue, executed by the hand of the. famous statuary 
Lysippus, was erected to his memory, and placed before 
those of the seven sages of Greece.* He also notices 
his living at Samos, and interesting himself in a public 
capacity, in the administration of the affairs of that place; 
where Aristotle also introduces him as a public speaker, 
and records the fact of his reciting the fable of the Fox 
and the Hedgehog, f while pleading on behalf of a minister, 
upon the occasion of his being impeached for embezzling 
the public treasure. .Esop is also mentioned as speaking 
in a public capacity to the Athenians, at the time when 
Pisistratus seized upon their liberties. J Upon each of 
these occasions he is represented as having introduced a 
Fable into his discourse, in a witty and pleasing manner. 
He was holden in the highest veneration and esteem in 
his day, by all men eminent for their wisdom and virtue. 
It appears there was scarcely an author among the ancient 
Greeks who mixed any thing of morality in his writings, 

* These sages were Solon, Thales, Chilo, Cleobulus, Bias, Pitta- 
cus, and Periander, to whom Laertius adds Anacharsis, Maro, 
Pherecydes, Epimenides, and Pisistratus. 

t "Ye men of Samos, let me entreat you to do as the Fox did; 
for this man, having got money enough, can have no further 
occasion to rob; but if you put him to death, some needy person 
will fill his place, whose wants must be supplied out of your 

The Fable of the Fox and the Hedgehog was applied by Themis- 
tocles to dissuade the Athenians from removing their magistrates. 
~B. Boothby. 

The Fable of the Frogs desiring a King. 


that did not either quote or mention .Esop. Plato describes 
Socrates as turning some of .Esop's Fables into verse, 
during those awful hours which he spent in prison, imme- 
diately before his death. Aristophanes not only takes hints 
from /Esop, but mentions him much to his honour, as one 
whose works were, or ought to be, read before any other. 
Ennius and Horace have embellished their poetry from 
his stores; and ancient sages and authors all concur in 
bearing the most ample testimony to his distinguished 
merits. Plutarch, in his imaginary banquet of the seven 
wise men, among several other illustrious persons of ancient 
times, celebrated for their wit and knowledge, introduces 
^Esop, and describes him as being very courtly and polite 
in his behaviour. Upon the authority of Plutarch also, 
we fix the life of -rEsop in the time of Crcesus, king of 
Lydia, who invited him to the court of Sardis. By this 
prince, he was holden in such esteem, as to be sent as 
his envoy to Periander, king of Corinth, which was about 
three hundred and twenty years after the time in which 
Homer lived, and 550 before Christ. He was also deputed 
by Crcesus to consult the Oracle of Delphi. While on this 
embassy, he was ordered to distribute to each of the citizens, 
four mince"'" of silver, but some disputes arising between 
them and ^Esop, he reproached them for their indolence, 
in suffering their lands to lie uncultivated, and in depend- 
ing on the gratuities of strangers for a precarious subsist- 
ence: the quarrel, which it would appear ran high between 
them, ended in ^Esop's sending back the money to Sardis. 
This so exasperated the Delphians, that they resolved upon 
his destruction; and that they might have some colour of 
justice for what they intended, they concealed among his 
effects, when he was taking his departure from Delphi, a 
gold cup, consecrated to Apollo; and afterwards pursuing 
him, easily found what they themselves had hidden. On 
the pretext that he had committed this sacrilegious theft, 

* The mina of silver was 12 ounces, about ^3 sterling. 


they carried him back to the city, and notwithstanding 
his imprecating upon them the vengeance of heaven, 
they immediately condemned him to be cast from the 
rock of Hypania, as the punishment of the pretended 
crime. Ancient historians say, that for this wickedness, 
the Delphians were for a long time visited with pestilence 
and famine, until an expiation was made, and then the 
plague ceased. 

It was not until many ages after the death of .F^sop, that 
his most prominent successor, Phredrus, arose. He trans- 
lated yFsop's Fables from the Greek into Latin, and added 
to them many of his own. Of Phaeadrus little is known, 
except from his works. He is said to have lived in the 
times of the Emperors Augustus and Tiberius, and to have 
died in the reign of the latter. The first printed edition of 
his Fables, with cuts, was published at Guada, in 1482. 
Caxton published some of them in 1484, and Bonus 
Accursius in 1489, to which he prefixed Planudes's Life of 
. Fsop. Hut the most perfect edition of Phaedrus's Works 
was published in five volumes, by Peter Pithou, at Troyes, 
in 1596, from manuscripts discovered by him in the cities 
of Rheims and Dijon. To these have succeeded in later 
.times, a numerous list of Fabulists,* besides such of the 
poets as have occasionally interspersed Fables in their 
works. These, in their day, have had, and many of them 
still have, their several admirers; but Gav and Dodsley best 

* Sir Roger L'Estrange, born 1616, died 1704. 

John de la Fontaine, born' 1621, died 1695. 

John Dryden, born 1631, died 1701. 

Antoine Houdart de la Motte, born 1672, died 1731. 

John Gay, born 1688, died 1732. 

Samuel Croxall, D. D. Archdeacon of Hereford, died 1752. 

Edward Moore, died 1757. 


Robert Dodsley, born 1703, died 1764. 

William Wilkie, born 1721, died 1772. 

Abbe Brotier, born 1722, died 1789. 


maintain their ground in this country, as is proved by the 
regular demand for new editions. Croxall's Fables, which 
were first published in 1722, with cuts on metal, in the 
manner of wood, have also had a most extensive sale; and 
Sir Brooke Boothby's elegant little volumes, in verse, pub- 
lished in 1809, are now making their way into the public 
esteem. The Editor of the present volume, in attempting 
to continue the same pleasing mode of conveying instruc- 
tion, long since laid down as a guide to virtue, has quoted 
and compiled from other Fabulists, whatever seemed best 
suited to his purpose. His sole object is utility, and he is 
not altogether without hope, that in attempting to embellish 
and perpetuate a fabric, which has its foundation laid in 
religion and morality, his efforts may not be wholly in- 
effectual to induce the young to keep steadily in view those 
great truths, which form the sure land-mark to the haven, 
where only they can attain peace and happiness. 


The Ape and her Young Ones - 

The Sensible Ass 

^Esop and the Impertinent Fellow 

The Angler and the Little Fish 

The Ass and the Lion Hunting - 

The Ass in the Lion's Skin 

The Ape chosen King- 

The Ant and the Fly 

The Ant and the Grasshopper 

The Ape and the Fox 

JEsop at Play 

The Ass Eating Thistles - 



6 9 





3 J 9 
3 6 9 

xviii. CONTEXTS. 



The Boy and his Mother 5 

The Brother and Sister - 31 

The Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf 61 

The Bear and the Bee- Hives - 119 

The Bees, the Drones, and the Wasp- 145 

The Hunted Beaver- 159 

The Bull and the Goat 171 

The Two Bitches 183 

The Boar and the Ass 205 

The Blackamoor - 223 

The Belly and the Members 275 

The Boys and the Frogs- 375 

The Two Crabs i 

The Collier and the Fuller 13 

The Cock and the Jewel 47 

The Wanton Calf 57 

The Crow and the Pitcher - 63 

The Cat and the Fox - 107 

The Cat and the Mice 149 

Caesar and the Slave 177 

The Clown and the Gnat - - 189 

The Countryman and the Snake - 217 

The Cock and the Fox 219 

The Fighting Cocks 349 

The Cock and the Fox 359 


The Dog in the Manger - 77 

The Ship Dog - 99 

The Dog invited to Supper - 109 

The Dog and the Shadow - - 117 



The Mischievous Dog 169 

The Dog and the Sheep - 207 

The Dog and the Wolf 287 

The One-eyed Doe 297 

The Deer and the Lion - 315 

The Dove and the Bee 339 

The Dog and the Cat 371 


The Eagle, the Cat, and the Sow 39 

The Eagle and the Fox - 273 

The Eagle and the Crow 301 


The Proud Frog and the Ox - 17 

The Fox and the Vizor Mask - 51 

The Fox and the Crow - 67 

The Forester and the Lion - 83 

The Fox without a 'Fail - 95 

The Fox and the Ass 105 

The Fox and the Tiger - 115 

The Frogs and their King - 135 

The Fir and the Bramble 143 

The Frog and the Fox 147 

Fortune and the Boy - 153 

The Fox and the Grapes - 167 

The Fisherman 173 

The Fox and the Boar 175 

The Frogs and the Fighting Bulls - 179 

The Two Frogs - 199 

The Fox and the Briar 201 

The Fox and the Stork - 215 

The Fox and the Hedge-Hog 227 

The Fox and the Goat , 235 



The Fowler and the Ring-dove 249 

The Fowler and the Blackbird 263 

The Fatal Marriage 277 

The Fox and the Lion 285 

The Flying Fish and the Dolphin - 289 

The Fox in the Well - 311 

The Fox and the Sick Lion 323 

The Fox and the Countryman - 331 

The Fox and the Wolf 335 

The Frogs and the Mice - 353 

The Fowler and the Lark 355 

The Fowler and the Partridge - 363 

The Goat, the Kid, and the Wolf - 29 

The Goat and the Lion - 101 

The Gardener and his Dog - - - 313 

The Wild and the Tame Geese - 351 


The Husbandman and his Sons ... 15 

Hercules and the Carter - - - - . 37 

The Drunken Husband - - 121 

The Hen and the Swallow - - 127 

The Hart and the Vine - - - - . 157 

The Old Hound - 181 

The Hen and the Fox - - 185 

The Hare and the Tortoise - - - 221 

The Hares and the Frogs - - - 251 

The Harper . . . . 267 

The Horse and the Stag - . . . 303 

The Horse and the Lion 309 

The Horse and the Ass 327 

The Hawk and the Farmer - . . 329 



The Horse and the over-loaded Ass 343 

The Husbandman and the Stork 345 

Industry and Sloth - 

Jupiter and the Ass 79 

Jupiter and the Camel 139 

Jupiter and the Herdsman 209 

Juno and the Peacock 237 

Jupiter and Pallas 241 

The Vain Jackdaw - - 255 


The Bald Knight - 87 

The Kite and the Pigeons - 281 

The Sick Kite 283 

The Kid and the Wolf 293 

The Leopard and the Fox 21 

The Lark and her Young Ones - 41 

The Lion and the Four Bulls - 89 

The Lion, the Tiger, and the Wolf - 93 

The Lioness and the Fox 123 

The Lamb brought up by a Goat 125 

The Old Lion - 211 

The Lion in Love - - 225 

The Lion and other Beasts - 239 

The Lion and the Mouse - - - - - 257 

The Lion and the Frog - 291 

The Lion, the Wolf, and the Dog - - - 367 

xxii. CONTENTS. 



The Master and his Scholar - 7 

The Young Man and the Swallow 1 1 

The Mole and her Dam - 27 

The Young Men and the Cook - 43 

The Mule 45 

Mercury and the Woodman 49 

The Man and his Goose - - 55 

The Old Man and his Sons 91 

The Miser and his Treasure 97 

A Man bitten by a Dog 113 

The Envious Man and the Covetous 129 

The Mice in Council 193 

The Old Man and Death 197 

The Man and the Weasel - 203 

The Magpie and the Sheep - 213 

The Man and his Two Wives 231 

Mercury and the Carver - - . 233 

The Mountains in Labour - 253 

The Mouse and the Weasel - 271 
The Young Man and the Lion- - - 279 

The Country and the City Mouse 295 
The Miller, his Son, and their Ass - - 305 

The Young Man and his Cat - - - 361 
The Blind Man and the Lame - - - 365 


The Nurse and the Wolf- 265 


The Oak and the Reed TCI 

The Peacock and the Crane - - . . 23 

The Two Pots 25 

CONTENTS. xxiii. 


The Partridge and the Cocks - 65 

The Porcupine and the Snakes 131 

The Polecat and the Cock - 261 

The Ploughman and Fortune - - 317 

The Raven and the Serpent - - - - 337 

The Stag looking into the Water - - 19 

The Sheep Biter - 33 

The Swallow and other Birds - 71 

The Sow and the Wolf - 133 

The Stag and the Fawn - 141 

The Sow and the Bitch - - . . 163 

The Satyr and the Traveller - . 165 

The Sparrow and the Hare - 229 

The Stag in the Ox-Stall - 247 

The Sun and the Wind - - - - ^__ - 325 

The Serpent and the Man . - 341 

The Shepherd turned Merchant - - - - 357 


The Thief and the Dog - - ... 53 

The Boasting Traveller - - . 59 

The Thieves and the Cock .... 73 

The Two Travellers 103 

The Tortoise and the Eagle - 259 

The Trees and the Woodman - 299 

The Thief and the Boy 321 

The Travellers and the Bear - 347 

The Trumpeter taken Prisoner - - - 373 



The Viper and the File 



The Old Woman and her Maids 
The Wolves and the Sick Ass - 
The Wolf, the Fox, and the Ape 
The Old Woman and the Empty Cask 
The Wolf and the Crane 
The Wolf and the Lamb - 
The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. 












Two Crabs, the mother and daughter, having been 
left by the receding tide, were creeping again to- 
wards the water; when the former observing the 
awkward gait of her daughter, got into a great 
passion, and desired her to move straight forward, 
in a more becoming and sprightly manner, and not 
crawl sideling along in a way so contrary to all the 
rest of the world. Indeed mother, says the young 
Crab, I walk as properly as I can, and to the best 
of my knowledge ; but if you would have me to go 



otherwise, I beg you would be so good as to prac- 
tise it first, and shew me by your own example how 
you would have me to conduct myself. 


ILL examples corrupt even the best natural dis- 
position, and it is in vain to instruct our children, 
their talents being only imitation, to walk by one 
rule, if we ourselves go by another. The good pre- 
cepts which we may lay down to them, will be 
bestowed in vain, if they see by our own conduct, 
that we pursue a contrary course to that which we 
recommend to them. Parents, therefore, who are 
desirous of working an effectual reformation in 
their children, should begin by making a visible 
amendment in themselves; and this is a duty they 
owe to society, as well as to their offspring, it being 
of the utmost importance to both, that probity and 
honour be early instilled into their youthful minds, 
as these grow with their growth, and while at the 
same time they command respect, they lay the foun- 
dation of their individual happiness through life. 



AN Ape having two young ones, was dotingly 
fond of one, but disregarded and slighted the other. 
One day she chanced to be surprized by the hun- 
ters, and had much ado to get off. However, she 
did not forget her favourite young one, which she 
took up in her arms, that it might be the more 
secure: the other, which she neglected, by natural 
instinct, leapt upon her back, and so away they 
scampered together; but it unluckily fell out, in the 
over-anxiety of her precipitate flight, confused and 
blinded with haste, that she struck her favourite's 
head against a branch, which threw it on the 
ground, where the darling bantling was seized by 
the dogs and killed. The hated one, clinging close 
to her rough back, escaped all the danger of the 



By dear mamma's o'er-weening fondness spoil'd, 
Caress'd and pamper'd, dies the fav'rite child: 
The boy she slights, rough, vig'rous, and well-grown, 
Unaided, bears the brunt, and shifts alone. 

THE indulgence which parents shew to their 
children arises from the most amiable of human 
weaknesses; but it is not the less injurious in its 
effects, and therefore it is of great importance to 
guard against it, and not to surfer a blind fondness 
to transport us beyond the bounds of a discreet 
affection, for this often proves the ruin of the child. 
This fable is also intended to expose the folly of a 
system of favouritism in families, for experience 
shews that those children who are the least pam- 
pered and indulged usually make the best and 
cleverest men. 



A little Boy having stolen a book from one of his 
school-fellows, took it to his Mother, who, instead 
of correcting him, praised his sharpness, and re- 
warded him. In process of time, as he grew 
bigger, he increased also in villainy, till at length 
he was taken up for committing a great robbery, 
and was brought to justice and condemned for it. 
As the officers were conducting him to the gallows, 
he was attended by a vast crowd, and among the 
rest his Mother came sobbing along, and deploring 
her son's unhappy fate; which the criminal observ- 
ing, he begged leave to speak to her: this being 
granted, he put his mouth to her ear, as if he was 
going to whisper something, and bit it off! The 
officer, shocked at this behaviour, asked him if the 
crimes he had committed were not sufficient to glut 
his wickedness, without being also guilty of such 


an unnatural violence towards his Mother? Let no 
one wonder, said he, that I have done this to her, 
for she deserves even worse at my hands. For if 
she had chastised instead of praising and encour- 
aging me, when I stole my school-fellow's book, I 
should not now have been brought to this ignomini- 
ous and untimely end. 


THE approaches to vice are by slow degrees, and 
the good or evil bias given to youth is seldom 
eradicated. The first deviations from sound moral- 
ity should therefore be most strictly watched, and 
wickedness checked or punished in time ; for when 
vice grows into a habit, it becomes incurable, and 
both good governments and private families are 
deeply concerned in its attendant consequences. 
One need not scruple to affirm that most of the 
depravity which is so frequent in the world, and so 
pernicious to society, is owing to the bad education 
of youth ; and to the connivance or ill example of 
their parents. It is therefore of the utmost conse- 
quence that parents, guardians, and tutors, should 
be of characters befitting them for the various and 
important offices they have to perform. The latter 
description of persons may and ought to be care- 
fully selected ; but it is to be lamented that the base 
and mean-spirited hosts of bad parents are out of 
the reach of control, and nothing can prevent the 
evils arising from their tutorage. Perhaps it would 
be harsh to make laws to check the marriages of 
such; but there is no need to encourage the breed 
of them, for they are already too abundantly 



As a School-master was walking" upon the bank 
of a river, he heard a cry as of one in distress : ad- 
vancing a few paces farther, he saw one of his 
Scholars in the water, hanging by the branch of a 
willow. The Boy had, it seems, been learning to 
swim with corks, and now thinking himself suf- 
ficiently experienced, had thrown these implements 
aside, and ventured into the water without them; 
but the force of the stream having hurried him out 
of his depth, he had certainly been drowned, had 
not the branch of the tree providentially hung in 
his way. The Master took up the corks, which lay 
upon the ground, and throwing them to his Scholar, 
made use of this opportunity to read a lecture to 
him upon the inconsiderate rashness of youth. Let 
this be a warning to you, says he, in the conduct of 
your future life, never to throw away your corks till 


time has given you strength and experience enough 
to swim without them. 


RASHNESS is the peculiar vice of youth, and may 
be styled the characteristic foible of that season of 
life. The foundation of this rashness is laid in a 
fond conceit of their own abilities, w T hich tempts 
them to undertake affairs too great for their capaci- 
ties, and to venture out of their depths, or to suffer 
themselves to be hurried into the most precipitate 
and dangerous measures, before they find out their 
own \veakness and inability. It therefore behoves 
inexperienced young men to keep a cautious guard 
over their passions, to check the irregularities of 
their disposition, and to listen to the wholesome 
advice and good council of those whose judgments 
are matured by age and experience: for few are 
above the need of advice, nor are we ever too old to 
learn any thing for which we may be the better. 
But young men, above all, should not disdain to 
open their eyes to good example, and their ears to 
admonition: neither should they be ashamed to 
borrow rules for their behaviour in the world, until 
they are enabled from their own knowledge of men 
and things, to stem its crooked tides and currents 
with ease and honour to themselves. 

Consult your elders, use their sense alone, 
Till age and practice have confirm'd your own. 



Ax indolent Young Man being asked why he lay 
in bed so long? jocosely answered, "Every morning 
of my life I am hearing causes. I have two fine 
girls, their names are Industry and Sloth, close at 
my bedside as soon as I awake, pressing their dif- 
ferent suits. One intreats me to get up, the other 
persuades me to lie still ; and then they alternately 
give me various reasons why I should rise, and 
why I should not. This detains me so Jong (it 
being the duty of an impartial judge to hear all 
that can be said on either side), that before the 
pleadings are over, it is time to go to dinner/' 




" He who defers his work from day to day, 
Does on a river's brink expecting stay, 
'Till the whole stream that stopt him shall be gone, 
Which, as it runs, for ever will run on." 

INDOLENCE is like a stream which flows slowly 
on, but yet it undermines every virtue; it rusts the 
mind, and gives a tincture to every action of one's 
life, the term of which does not allow time for long 
protracted deliberations ; and yet how many w r aste 
more of their time in idly considering which of two 
affairs to begin first, than would have ended them 
both ? To-morrow is still the fatal time when all is 
to be done; to-morrow comes, it goes, and still in- 
dolence pleases itself with the shadow, while it 
loses the substance: and thus men pass through 
life like a bird through the air, and leave no track 
behind them, unmindful that the present time alone 
is ours, and should be managed with judicious 
care, since we cannot secure a moment to come, 
nor recall one that is past. It is no matter how 
many good qualities the mind may be possessed 
of; they all lie dormant if we want the necessary 
vigour and resolution to draw them forth; for this 
slumber of the mind leaves no difference between 
the greatest genius and the meanest understanding. 
Neither the mind nor the body can be active and 
vigorous without proper exertion, and trouble 
springs from idleness, and grievous toil from use- 
less ease; therefore, "whatsoever thy hand findeth 
to do, do it with all thy might, for there is no work, 
nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the 
grave, whither thou goest." 



A prodigal thoughtless Young Man, who had 
wasted his whole patrimony in taverns and gaming- 
houses, among his lewd idle companions, was 
taking a melancholy walk near a brook. It was 
in the spring, while the hills were yet capped with 
snow, but it happened to be one of those clear 
sunny days which sometimes occur at that time of 
the year; and to make appearances the more flat- 
tering, a Swallow which had been invited forth by 
the warmth, flew skimming along upon the surface 
of the water. The Youth observing this, concluded 
that the summer was now come, and that he should 
have little or no occasion for clothes, so went and 
pawned them, and ventured the money for one 
stake more, among his sharping associates. When 
this too was gone, like all the rest of his property, 
he took another solitary walk in the same place as 


before, but the weather being severe and frosty, 
every thing had put on a very different aspect ; the 
brook was frozen over, and the poor Swallow lay 
dead upon the bank. At this, the Youth, smarting 
under the sense of his own misery, mistakingly 
reproached the Swallow as the cause of all his mis- 
fortunes: he cried out, oh, unhappy bird, thou hast 
undone both thyself and me, who was so credulous 
as to trust to thy appearance. 


THEY who frequent taverns and gaming-houses, 
and keep bad company, should not wonder if they 
are reduced in a very short time to penury and 
want. The wretched young fellows who once ad- 
dict themselves to such a scandalous course of life, 
scarcely think of or attend to any thing besides: 
they seem to have nothing else in their heads but 
how they may squander \vhat they have got, and 
where they may get more when that is gone. They 
do not make the same use of their reason as other 
people, but like the jaundiced eye, view every thing 
in a false light, and having turned a deaf ear to 
all advice, and pursued their unaltered course until 
all their property is irrecoverably lost, when at 
length misery forces upon them a sense of their 
situation, they still lay the blame upon any cause 
but the right one their own extravagance and 
folly; like the Prodigal in the fable, w r ho would not 
have considered a solitary occurrence as a general 
indication of the season, had not his own wicked 
desires blinded his understanding. 



THE Collier and the Euller being old acquaint- 
ances, happened upon a time to meet together, and 
the latter being but ill provided with a habitation, 
was invited by the former to come and live in the 
same house with him. I thank you my dear friend, 
replied the Fuller, for your kind offer; but it can- 
not be, for if I were to dwell with you, whatever I 
should take pains to scour and make clean in the 
morning, the dust of you and your coals would 
blacken and defile before night. 


IT is of no small importance in life to be cautious 
what company we keep, and with whom we enter 
into friendship; for though we are ever so well 
disposed ourselves, and free from vice, yet if those 


with whom we frequently converse, are engaged in 
a lewd, wicked course, it will be almost impossible 
for us to escape being drawn in with them. If we 
are truly wise, and would shun those rocks of plea- 
sure upon which so many have split, we should 
forbid ourselves all manner of commerce and cor- 
respondence with those who are steering a course, 
which reason tells us is not only not for our advan- 
tage, but would end in our destruction. All the 
virtue we can boast of will not be sufficient to in- 
sure our safety, if we embark in bad company ; for 
though our philosophy were such as would preserve 
us from being tainted and infected with their man- 
ners, yet their characters would twist and entwine 
themselves along with ours, in so intricate a fold, 
that the world would not take the trouble to unravel 
and separate them. Reputation is of a blending 
nature, like water; that which is derived from the 
clearest spring, if it chance to mix with a foul cur- 
rent, runs on undistinguished, in one muddy stream, 
and must ever partake of the colour and condition 
of its associate. 



A HUSBANDMAN, at the point of death, being 
desirous that his Sons should pursue the same inno- 
cent course of agriculture in which he himself had 
been engaged all his lifa, made use of this expe- 
dient. He called them to his bed-side, and said: 
All the patrimony I have to bequeath to you, my 
Sons, is my farm and my vine-yard, of which I 
make you joint heirs; but I charge you not to let 
them go out of your own occupation, for if I have 
any treasure besides, it lies buried somewhere in 
the ground, within a foot of the surface. This 
made the Sons conclude that he talked of money 
which he had hidden : so after their father's death, 
with unwearied diligence, they carefully dug up 
every inch, and though they found not the money 
they expected, the ground, by being well stirred 
and loosened, produced so plentiful a crop of all 

1 6 FABLES. 

that was sown in it, as proved a real, and that no 
inconsiderable treasure. 


THE good name and the good counsel of a father,, 
are the best legacies he can leave to his children; 
and they ought to revere the one, and keep in mind 
the other. The wealth which a man acquires by 
his honest industry affords him greater pleasure in 
the enjoyment, than \vhen acquired in any other 
way; and men who by personal labour have ob- 
tained a competency, know its value better than 
those can who have had it showered upon them, 
without any efforts of their own. Idleness engen- 
ders disease, while exercise is the great prop of 
health, and health is the greatest blessing of life, 
wirich consideration alone ought to stimulate men 
to pursue some useful employment; and among the 
almost endless number of those, to which good laws 
and well-organized society give birth and encour- 
agement, there are none equal to the culture of the 
earth, none which yield a more grateful return. 
The pleasures derived both from agriculture and 
horticulture, are so various, so delightful, and so 
natural to man, that they are not easily to be de- 
scribed, and are never to be excelled : for in what- 
ever way they are pursued, the mind may be 
constantly entertained with the wonderful economy 
of the vegetable world; and the nerves are in- 
vigorated and kept in proper tone by the freshness 
of the earth, and the fragrancy of the air, which 
blush the countenance with health, and give a 
relish to every meal. 



AN Ox, grazing in a meadow, chanced to set his 
foot among a parcel of young Frogs, and trod one 
of them to death. The rest informed their mother, 
when she came home, what had happened; telling 
her, that the beast which did it, was the hugest 
creature that they ever saw in their lives. What, 
was it so big? says the old Frog, swelling and 
blowing up her speckled belly to a great degree. 
Oh! bigger by a vast deal, say they: and so big? 
says she, straining herself yet more. Indeed, say 
they, if you were to burst yourself, you would never 
be so big. She strove yet again, and burst herself 


How many vain people, of moderate easy cir- 
cumstances, by entertaining the silly ambition of 




vying with their superiors in station and fortune,, 
get into the direct road to ruin. In whatever sta- 
tion of life it may have pleased Providence to place 
us, we ought to determine upon living within our 
income, and to endeavour by honesty, sobriety, 
and industry, to maintain our ground. Young 
men, upon launching out into the world, would do 
well deeply to reflect upon this, for their future 
peace of mind and happiness greatly depend upon 
it. They need only look a little about them to see 
how a contrary conduct has operated upon thou- 
sands; and it is to be feared, will continue to fill 
our gaols with debtors, and Bedlam with lunatics. 


1 9 


A Stag drinking, saw himself in the water, and 
pleased with the sight, stood contemplating his 
shape. Ah, says he, what a glorious pair of 
branching horns are here, how gracefully do these 
antlers project over my forehead, and give an 
agreeable turn to my whole face; but I have such 
legs as really make me ashamed; they look so very 
long and unsightly, that I had rather have none at 
all. In the midst of this soliloquy, he was alarmed 
with the cry of a pack of hounds. Away he flies in 
some consternation, and bounding nimbly over the 
plain, threw dogs and men at a vast distance be- 
hind him. After which, taking to a very thick 
copse, he had the ill fortune to be entangled by his 
horns in the branches, where he was held fast till 
the hounds came up and seized him. In the pangs 
of death he is said to have uttered these words: 


Unhappy creature that I am, I am too late con- 
vinced that what I prided myself in, has been the 
cause of my undoing; and what I so much disliked, 
was the only thing that could have saved me. 


WE often make a false estimate, in preferring our 
ornamental talents to our useful ones, and are apt 
to place our love and admiration on wrong objects. 
When our vanity is stronger than our reason, show 
and ostentation find easy admission into our hearts,, 
and we are much fonder of specious trifles than 
useful plainness. But the truest mark of wisdom 
is to estimate things at their just value, and to 
know whence the most solid advantages may be 
derived: otherwise, like the Stag in the liable, we 
may happen to admire those accomplishments 
which are not only of no real use, but often prove 
prejudicial to us, while we despise those things on 
which our safety may depend. He that does not 
know himself, will often form a false judgment 
upon other matters which most materially concern 
him ; and thus it fares with many, who suffer them- 
selves to be deluded with the false pomp of high 
life, and whose vanity prompts them to conceive 
they possess talents w r hich qualify them to shine in 
that circle, into which, had they judged rightly, 
they never would have entered, but rather have ap- 
plied themselves to improve other qualifications, 
which might have insured their own happiness, and 
have rendered them useful members of society. 




THE Leopard, one day, took it into his head to 
value himself upon the great variety a.nd beauty of 
his spots, and truly he saw no reason why even the 
Lion should take place of him, since he could not 
shew so beautiful a skin. As for the rest of the 
wild beasts of the forest, he treated them all with- 
out distinction in the most haughty and disdainful 
manner. But the I 7 ox being among them, went up 
to him with a great deal of spirit and resolution, 
and told him that he was mistaken in the value he 
was pleased to set upon himself, since people of 
judgment were not used to form their opinion of 
merit from an outside appearance, but by consider- 
ing the good qualities and endowments with which 
the mind was stored within. 



WISE men are chiefly captivated with the beauty 
of the mind, rather than that of the person; and 
whenever they are infatuated with a passion for 
any thing else, it is generally observed that they 
cease, during that time at least, to be what they 
were, and indeed are only considered to be playing 
the fool. It too often happens that women of re- 
markable beauty are so fully satisfied with their 
outward excellencies, that they totally neglect the 
improvement of their minds; not considering that 
it is only a combination of mental and personal 
charms that can entitle them to be ranked as 
Nature's greatest ornaments. Unmindful of this, 
however, they are too apt to consider beauty as the 
only thing requisite in their sex; and since they 
are endowed with it in such an eminent degree, 
they look down with disdain on females less happy 
in personal charms. Beauty has undoubtedly great 
influence over the hearts of mankind, but when it is 
overrun with affectation and conceit, their admira- 
tion will soon be turned into disgust; while women 
of more ordinary persons, but blessed with good 
sense and good humour, will captivate the hearts 
of worthy men, and more effectually secure their 



THE Peacock and the Crane having by chance 
met together, the Peacock erected his tail, displayed 
his gaudy plumes, and looked with contempt upon 
the Crane, as some mean ordinary person. The 
Crane, resolving to mortify his insolence, took oc- 
casion to say, that Peacocks were very fine birds 
indeed, if fine feathers could make them so; but 
that he thought it a much nobler thing to be able 
to rise above the clouds into endless space, and 
survey the wonders of the heavens, as well as of the 
earth beneath, with its seas, lakes, and rivers, as 
far as the eye can reach, than to strut about upon 
the ground, and be gazed at by children. 


THERE cannot be a greater sign of a weak mind, 
than a person's valuing himself on a gaudy outside, 


whether it consist of the beauties of the person, or 
the still more contemptible vanity of fine cloaths. 
This kind of misguided pride, while it endeavours 
to exalt, commonly tends to lower the persons who 
are infected with it; but never renders them so 
truly ridiculous as when it inspires them with a 
contempt of those who have ten times more worth 
than themselves. To value ourselves upon the 
glitter and finery of dress is one of the most trifling 
of all vanities; and a man of sense would be 
ashamed to bestow upon it the least attention. 
They who examine things by the scale of common 
sense, must find something of weight and substance 
before they can be persuaded to set a value upon it. 
The mind that is stored with virtuous and rational 
sentiments, and the behaviour which is founded 
upon complacency and humility, stamp a value 
upon the possessor, which all men of discernment 
are ever ready to admire and acknowledge. 



AN earthen Pot, and one of brass, standing to- 
gether upon the brink of a river, were both carried 
away by the sudden rise of the water. The earthen 
Pot shewed some uneasiness, fearing^ he should be 
broken; but his companion of brass bade him be 
under no apprehension, as he would take care of 
him. Oh! replies the other, keep as far off as you 
can, I entreat you: it is you I am most afraid of; 
for whether the stream dash you against me, or me 
against you, I am sure to be the sufferer, and, 
therefore, I beg of you do not let us come near one 


A man of moderate fortune, who is contented 
with what he has, and finds he can live happily 



upon it, should be particularly guarded against the 
ill-judged ambition of associating with the rich and 
powerful, for what in them is economy, would in 
him be the height of extravagance ; and at the very 
time they honour him with their countenance, they 
are leading him on to his ruin. People of equal 
conditions may float down the current of life with- 
out hurting each other; but it is no easy matter to 
steer one's course in company with the great, so as 
to escape without a bulge : neither is it desirable to 
live in the neighbourhood of a very great man ; for 
whether we ignorantly trespass upon him, or he 
knowingly encroach upon us, we are sure to be the 



THE young Mole snuffed up her nose, and told 
her Dam she smelt an odd kind of a smell. Bye 
and bye, O strange! says she, what a noise there 
is in my ears, as if ten thousand hammers were 
going. A little after, she was at it again : look, 
look, what is that I see yonder? it is just like the 
flame of a fiery furnace. The Dam replied, pray 
child, hold your idle tongue ; and if you would have 
us allow you any sense at all, do not affect to shew 
more than nature has given you. 


BY affectation, we aim at being thought to 
possess some accomplishment which we have not, 
or at shewing what we have, in a conceited osten- 
tatious manner. There is scarcely any species of 


ridiculous behaviour, which is not derived from it; 
it grows out of folly and insincerity; it derogates 
from genius; it is the bane of beauty, and dimin- 
ishes its charms; it is disagreeable to others, and 
hurtful to the person who uses it; it detracts from 
some real possession, and makes qualities that 
would otherwise pass well enough, appear nauseous 
and offensive ; and whoever indulges in it, may be 
sure to lay themselves open, and call forth the 
attention of others to notice their vanity. To cure 
ourselves of affectation, we have only to call in the 
aids of truth and sincerity, which will cut off the 
whole train of its follies at one stroke.' 


2 9 


THE Goat going abroad to feed, shut up her 
young Kid at home, charging him to bolt the door 
fast, and open it to nobody till she herself should 
return. The Wolf, who lay lurking hard by, heard 
the charge given, and soon after came and knocked 
at the door, counterfeiting the voice of the Goat, 
and desired to be admitted. The Kid looking out 
at the window, and finding the cheat, bade him go 
about his business, for, however he might imitate a 
Goat's voice, yet he appeared too much like a Wolf 
to be trusted. 


DECEIT, hypocrisy, and villainy, are constantly 
on the watch to entrap and ensnare the innocent 
and the unwary. Every beautiful woman is com- 
monly surrounded by a kind of men who would 


undermine her virtue; and inexperienced men of 
fortune, in the outset of life, are almost constantly 
beset with rogues and sharpers; and these artful 
villains, under one specious pretext or another, too 
often effect the ruin of the weak and unsuspicious 
of both sexes. As a guard against all these, the 
early admonitions of parents are of inestimable 
worth: they are built upon the tenderest regard, 
and the most sincere affection. Those who have 
already travelled over the difficult paths of life, and 
buffeted its storms, have observed the snares and 
the dangers with which the way is strewed, and 
they are enabled by their experience, to forewarn 
those who are about to launch out on the troubled 
ocean of life, to steer their course clear of its hidden 
rocks, its shoals, and its quick-sands. Did youth 
but know the importance of this early advice, how 
eagerly would they treasure it in their minds, and 
as occasion required, with what pleasure would 
they draw it forth, and obey its dictates. To the 
neglect of these precepts, may be attributed much 
of the ill conduct we see in the world, and most of 
the misfortunes which befal mankind through life. 



A certain man had two children, a Son and a 
Daughter; the Boy very handsome, and the Girl 
only moderately so. They were both young, and 
happened to be one day playing near the looking- 
glass, which stood on their mother's toilet. The 
Boy, pleased with the novelty of the thing, viewed 
himself for some time, and in a wanton roguish 
manner, observed to the Girl how handsome he 
was. She resented it, and could not bear the inso- 
lent manner in which he spoke, for she understood 
it (as how could she do otherwise?) to be intended 
as a direct affront to her. Therefore she ran 
immediately to her Father, and with a deal of 
aggravation, complained of her brother, particu- 
larly of his having acted so effeminate a part as to 
look in a glass, and meddle with things which be- 
longed to women only. The Father embraced them 


both with much tenderness and affection, and told 
them that he should like to have them look in a 
glass every day: to the intent that you, says he, 
addressing himself to the Boy, if you think that 
face of your's handsome, may not disgrace and 
spoil it by an ugly temper, and a foul behaviour; 
and that you, speaking to the Girl, may make up 
for the defects of your person, if there be any, by 
the sweetness of your manners, and the agreeable- 
ness of your conversation. 


WE should every day view ourselves considerately 
in a looking-glass, with the intent of converting it 
to a better purpose than that of merely observing 
and admiring our persons. Let those on whom 
nature has been liberal of her bounties, in bestow- 
ing a fine countenance, with symmetry of person, 
health, and strength, always remember that these 
are the gifts of Providence, for which we ought ever 
to be thankful, but never vain : these qualifications 
ought only to act as a spur to induce us to cultivate 
the mind, by study, by reading, and reflection, so 
as to cause it to correspond in its beauties with 
those of our outward appearance. Let others again 
who have not any thing in their personal appear- 
ance to attract the attention of the world, strive 
also to improve the faculties of the mind, and to 
excel in the beauties of a good temper, and an 
agreeable conversation, the charms of which, not- 
withstanding a rough exterior, cannot fail to endear 
the possessor to all men of sense, who will readily 
discover intrinsic worth, whether it be made up of 
a lively imagination, clear perceptions, or the 
transparent sincerity of an honest heart. 




A certain Shepherd had a Dog, upon whose 
fidelity he relied very much, for whenever he had 
occasion to be absent himself, he committed the 
care of his flock to the charge of this J)og; and to 
encourage him to do his duty cheerfully, he fed him 
constantly with sweet milk and curds, and some- 
times threw him a bone extraordinary. Yet, not- 
withstanding this, no sooner was his back turned, 
than the treacherous Cur fell upon some one of the 
flock, and thus devoured the sheep instead of 
guarding and defending them. The Shepherd 
having at length found out his tricks, was resolved 
to hang him; and the Dog, when the rope was 
about his neck, and he was just going to be tied 
up, began to expostulate with his master, asking 
him why he was so unmercifully bent against him, 
who was his own servant and creature, and had 



only committed a few crimes ; and why he did not 
rather take vengeance on the Wolf, who was an 
open and declared enemy ? Nay, replied the Shep- 
herd, it is for that very reason that I think you ten 
times more worthy of death ; for from him I expect- 
ed nothing but hostilities, and therefore could guard 
against him ; you I depended on as a just and 
faithful servant, and fed and encouraged you ac- 
cordingly, and therefore your treachery is the more 
base, and your ingratitude the more unpardonable. 


THE common disappointments which we are 
liable to through life, do not bring \vith them any 
thing to be compared to the bitterness we experi- 
ence from the perfidy of those we esteemed and 
trusted as friends: an open enemy we can guard 
against, and we look upon him when he is at rest, 
as we do at a sword within its scabbard; but the 
man who betrays his trust, masked under the ap- 
pearance of friendship, wounds us in the tenderest 
part, and involves us in a cruelly complicated 
grief, which frets the mind, and heightens the sum 
of our infelicity. Friendship is the cordial of 
human life, the balm of society; and he who vio- 
lates its laws by treachery and deceit, converts it 
into the deadliest poison, and renders that which 
ought to be the defence and support of our steps,, 
our greatest snare and danger. 



Ax Old Woman, who had several Maid Servants, 
used to call them up to their work at the crowing of 
the Cock. The damsels, not liking to have their 
sweet slumbers disturbed so early, combined to- 
gether, and killed the Cock, thinking they might 
then enjoy their warm beds a little longer. But 
in this they found themselves mistaken, for the 
Old Woman, having lost her unerring guide, from 
that time roused them out of their beds whenever 
she awoke, although it might be at midnight. 


WE govern our lives by imagination rather than 
by judgment, mistaking the reason of things, and 
imputing the issue of them to wrong causes. 
We should endeavour to content ourselves in our 


present station, if it be not very bad indeed, for it 
seldom happens that every thing can be in all re- 
spects agreeable to our wishes. When we give 
full scope to the impatience of our tempers, and 
quit our present condition in life, we often find we 
have not changed for the better; but we are too 
fond of carving out our fortunes for ourselves, and 
wish to remove this or that obstacle which we 
imagine stands between us and our felicity: then, 
too late, we see how greatly we are mistaken in 
our notions, when we feel we have changed for the 
worse. Before we attempt any alteration of mo- 
ment, \ve should, if possible, ascertain what state 
it will produce, and not suffer infirmity of temper 
to embitter our lives ; but, above all, we should 
never aim at mending our fortunes by fraud and 




As a clownish Fellow was driving his cart along 
a deep miry lane, the wheels stuck so fast in the 
clay, that his horses could not draw it out. Upon 
this he fell a bawling and praying to Hercules to 
come and help him. Hercules, looking down from 
a cloud, bid him not lie there like an idle dastardly 
looby as he was, but get up and whip his horses, 
and clap his shoulder stoutly to the wheel, adding 
that this was the only way for him to obtain assist- 


THE man who sits down at his ease, and prays 
to Heaven to have all his wants supplied, and his 
wishes accomplished, by a miracle wrought in his 
favour, without, using his own exertions and honest 

3 8 FABLES. 

endeavours to obtain them, deserves to be dis- 
appointed. Many men who have a fair share of 
natural good sense, and who also value themselves 
upon having their reasoning powers enlightened 
by revelation, yet fall into this error : led by fanatics 
and bigots, they follow the fashion of running often 
to prayers and sermons, when they might be much 
better employed at home. The industrious good 
man, instead of publicly praying for the comforts 
of life, pursues his business, which is the proper 
means of procuring them ; and if at the same time 
he holds converse with his Maker, which all men 
ought to do, and no man can be happy without 
doing, he needs no veil of hypocrisy to make the 
world believe he is better than he really is : he feels 
it his duty and pleasure so to proceed, while he 
sojourns here, and knows not how he can do better, 
than by sober and honest industry to provide for 
those of his own household, and to endeavour for 
the means of helping him that needeth. The man 
who is virtuously and honestly engaged, is actually 
serving God all the while ; and is more likely to 
have his silent wishes, accompanied with strenuous 
endeavours, complied with by the Supreme Being, 
than he who begs with an unnecessary vehemence, 
and solicits with an empty hand a hand which 
would be more religious, were it usefully employed, 
and more devout, were it stretched out to do good 
to those that want it. 



AN Eagle had built her nest upon the top 
branches of an old oak; a Wild Cat inhabited a 
hole in the middle; and in the hollow part at the 
bottom was a Sow with a whole litter of Pigs. A 
happy neighbourhood, and might long have con- 
tinued so, had it not been for the wicked insinua- 
tions of the designing Cat : for first of all, up she 
crept to the Eagle, and, Good neighbour, says she, 
we shall all be undone; that filthy Sow yonder 
does nothing but lie rooting at the foot of the tree, 
and, as I suspect, intends to grub it up, that she 
may the more easily come at our young ones. For 
my part, I will take care of my own concerns, you 
may do as you please; but I will watch her motions, 
though I stay at home this month for it. When 
she had said this, which could not fail of putting 
the Eagle into a great fright, down she went, and 


made a visit to the Sow at the bottom : putting on 
a sorrowful face, I hope, says she, you do not in- 
tend to go abroad to-day: why not? says the Sow: 
nay, replies the other, you may do as you please, 
but I overheard the Eagle tell her young ones, that 
she would treat them with a Pig the first time she 
saw you go out; and I am not sure but she may 
take up with a Kitten in the mean time; so good 
morrow to you, you will excuse me, I must go and 
take care of the little folks at home. Away she 
went accordingly, and by contriving to steal out 
softly at nights for her prey, and to stand watching 
and peeping all day at her hole, as under great 
concern, she made such an impression upon the 
Eagle and the Sow, that neither of them dared to 
venture abroad, for fear of the other; the conse- 
quence of which was, that they in a little time were 
starved, and their young ones fell a prey to the 
treacherous Cat and her Kittens. 


THIS shews us the ill consequence of giving ear 
to a gossipping double-tongued neighbour. Many 
sociable well-disposed families have been blown up 
into a perpetual discord, by one of these wicked 
go-betweens; so that whoever would avoid the im- 
putation of being a bad neighbour, should guard 
both against receiving ill impressions by hearsay, 
and uttering his opinion of others, to those busy 
bodies, who, to gratify a malignant disposition, or 
gain some selfish end of their own, can magnify a 
gnat to the size of a camel, or swell a mole-hill to 
a mountain. 



A Lark who had Young Ones in a field of corn 
nearly ripe, was under some fear lest the reapers 
should come and cut it down before her young- 
brood were fledged, and able to remove from the 
place ; wherefore, when she flew abroad in the 
morning to seek food for them, she charged them 
to listen to what the Farmer said about shearing. 
On her return, her young family opened all their 
little throats at once, to inform her that the Farmer 
had sent to his neighbours to reap the corn the 
next morning. Is that all? said the old Lark, then 
there is no danger. When she went abroad again 
the next morning, she left the same instructions as 
before. At night, she found her Young Ones more 
alarmed than at first; for the Farmer had applied 
to his friends, earnestly requesting them to begin 
the harvest the next day. She received this intel- 



ligence as calmly as before, and took no other 
precautions the next day, than repeating the same 
orders. In the evening, they told her that the 
Farmer had been charging his son to get the sickles 
ready, for it was vain to wait for other people, and 
that they would cut the corn to-morrow themselves. 
Nay, then said the old Lark, we must be off as soon 
as we can; for when a man undertakes to do his 
business himself, it is not so likely that he will be 


HE who depends on the assistance of others to 
perform what he is able to do himself, must not be 
surprised to find that his business is neglected. 
He may be sure that it will be best done when he 
puts forth his own hands, and looks after it with 
his own eyes. How, indeed, can any man imagine 
that other people will be active in his interest, 
while he himself remains indolent and unconcerned 
about his own affairs. Men of such tempers and 
dispositions, live in a state of suspense, and subject 
themselves to perpetual disappointments and losses, 
which their own industry would have prevented, 
and have kept their minds at ease. They do not 
use their reasoning powers, but sink down into a 
kind of stupid abject dependence upon others, 
which degrades even the finest talents with which 
human nature is dignified. 




Two Young Men went into a Cook's shop, under 
pretence of buying some meat; and while the 
Cook's back was turned, one of them snatched up a 
piece of beef, and gave it to his companion, who 
clapt it under his cloak. The Cook turning about, 
and missing his beef, began to charge them with 
it; upon which he that first took it swore bitterly 
he had none of it. He that had it, swore as heartily 
that he had not taken it. Why, look ye, gentlemen, 
says the Cook, I see your equivocation ; and though 
I cannot tell which of you has taken my meat, I am 
sure between you there is a thief. 


THIS fable shews how little reliance can be 
placed on either the word or the oath of those who, 


like the thieves in the Cook's shop, have neither 
honour nor honesty. An honest man's word is as 
good as his oath; and so is a rogue's too: for he 
that will cheat and lie, will not scruple to forswear 
himself. The former needs no oath to bind him; 
and the latter, though he swear in the most solemn 
manner that can be invented, only deceives you the 
more certainly, as he who scruples not to steal, will 
never regard the heinous guilt of calling upon the 
Supreme Being to witness his atrocity. It is no 
less wicked to quibble and evade the truth, than it 
is to deny it altogether, for the falsehood consists 
in what we wish the hearer to believe, not in the 
literal import of what we say. Men who habituate 
themselves to this species of deceit, will soon be 
ready to go the length of any perjury. Early to 
impress the mind with the unspeakable worth of 
truth, is of the utmost importance. It is sacred, 
and no man can say in the face of the world, that it 
ought not to prevail. No discussions can injure its 
cause it emanates from heaven it is an attribute 
of omnipotence, and is therefore eternal. 




A Mule, which was pampered up and easily 
Avorked, became plump, sleek, and in high condi- 
tion, and in the height of his wantonness, would 
scamper about from hill to dale in al] the wildness 
of unbridled restraint. Why should not I, said he 
to himself, be as good a racer as any horse what- 
ever? My father, whose pedigree was well known, 
was one of the best of them; do not I resemble him 
in every respect? While he was indulging his 
vanity in reveries of this kind, his master having 
occasion to mount him upon urgent business, put 
him upon his speed, and, ere long, was obliged to 
use both whip and spur to force him to push for- 
ward. Thus jaded and tired, he muttered to him- 
self, Alas ! I find now, I was mistaken in my 
pedigree, for my sire was not a Horse, but an 



THE man who has been brought up in ease and 
affluence, and pampered and anticipated in all his 
wants, little imagines what a figure he would make 
in the world, were his supplies cut off, and he were 
put to the trial to rub through its thorny mazes, 
and provide for himself. The children of the poor 
industrious honest man, when brought up like their 
parents, are put to a kind of school, such as the 
opulent it is feared can seldom form any conception 
of; and if the former, by their industry and abilities, 
rise above poverty, their enjoyments in life com- 
monly surpass those who have been, without effort, 
upheld in every real as well as imaginary want. 
The sensible poor man does not trouble his head 
about his pedigree, but he knows that his descent 
must of course be as ancient as that of any man on 
earth; and that if he is respected in the world, it 
must arise solely from his own good conduct and 
merit. The man who has nothing to boast but the 
merely tracing back his ancestry, is building upon 
a hollow foundation. If indeed his ancestry have 
arisen to their high station by patriotic and vir- 
tuous means, and have deservedly maintained a 
high character for probity, worth, and honour, let 
him follow their example: if otherwise, all he can 
do or say will only prove him to be a mongrel, or 
an Ass. 

" The pride of family is all a cheat, 

" 'Tis personal merit only makes us great." 




A gallant young Cock, in company with his mis- 
tresses, raking upon a dunghill for something to 
entertain them with, happened to scratch up a 
Jewel. He knew what it was w r ell enough, for it 
sparkled with an exceeding bright lustre; but not 
knowing what to do with it, he shrugged up his 
wings, shook his head, and putting on a grimace, 
expressed himself to this purpose : Indeed, you are 
a very fine thing: but I know not any business you 
have here. I make no scruple of declaring, that 
my taste lies quite another way; and I had rather 
have one grain of dear, delicious barley, than all 
the Jewels under the sun. 


MORALISTS have interpreted this Eable in vari- 
ous ways, some of them ascribing the want of 


setting a proper value upon the Jewel, to ignorance, 
and say: 

"To fools, the treasures dug from wisdom's mine 
" Are jewels thrown to Cocks, and Pearls to Swine." 

But the most obvious meaning of the Fable is 
surely to shew, that men who weigh well their own 
real wants, and shape their pursuits to their abili- 
ties, will always prefer those things which are 
necessary, to such as are merely ornamental or 
superfluous, and will not easily suffer themselves 
to be led astray by the gaudy allurements of glitter 
or show, which have no other value than what 
vanity, pride, or luxury may have set upon them; 
but governing their minds by their own reason, 
judge of every thing by its intrinsic worth. 



A Man was felling a tree on the steep bank of 
a river, and by chance let slip his hatchet, which 
dropt into the water, and sunk to the bottom. 
Being in distress for want of his tool r 4ie sat down 
and bemoaned himself on the occasion. Upon this, 
Mercury appeared to him, and being informed of 
the cause of his complaint, dived to the bottom of 
the river, and coming up again, shewed the man a 
golden hatchet, demanding if that were his? lie 
denied that it was: upon which Mercury dived a 
second time, and brought up a silver one; the Man 
refused it, alleging again that it was not his : he 
dived a third time, and fetched up the identical 
hatchet the Man had lost; upon sight of which the 
poor fellow was overjoyed, and took it with all 
humility and thankfulness. Mercury was so pleased 
with his honesty, that he gave him the others into 



the bargain, as a reward for his just dealing. 
Away goes the Man to his companions, and giving 
them an account of what had happened, one of 
them went presently to the river's side, and let his 
hatchet fall designedly into the stream. Then 
sitting down upon the bank, he fell to weeping and 
lamenting as if he had been really and sorely 
afflicted. Mercury appeared as before, and diving, 
brought up a golden hatchet, asking if that w r ere 
the hatchet he had lost? Transported at the pre- 
cious metal, he answered yes, and went to snatch it 
greedily; but the God, detesting his abominable 
impudence, not only refused him that, but would 
not so much as let him have his own again. 


HONESTY is the best policy; and one of our best 
poets has further stamped a value upon the good old 
maxim, by his assertion that " an honest man is 
the noblest work of God." The paths of truth and 
integrity are so plain, direct, and easy, that the 
man who pursues them, stands in no need of subtle 
contrivances to deceive the world. He listens to 
the honest monitor within, and makes good his 
professions w r ith his practice : neither gold nor sil- 
ver hatchets can make him deviate from it; and 
whatever situation he may be placed in, he is sure 
to meet the esteem of all men within the circle in 
which he moves, and has besides the constant 
pleasure of feeling self- approbation within his own 



A Fox being in a shop where Vizor Masks were 
sold, laid his foot upon one of them, and consider- 
ing it awhile attentively, at last broke out into this 
exclamation : Bless me ! says he, what a handsome 
goodly figure this makes ! what a pity it is that it 
should want brains ! 


The accomplished beau in air and mien how blest, 
His hat well fashioned, and his hair well drest, 
Is yet undrest within : to give him brains 
Exceeds his hatter's or his barber's pains. 

THIS Fable is levelled at that numerous part of 
mankind, who, out of their own ample fortunes, take 
care to accomplish themselves in every thing bu 


common sense, and seem not even to bestow a 
thought upon the important consequences of culti- 
vating their understandings. The smooth address 
and plausible behaviour of the varnished fop may 
indeed pass current with the ignorant and super- 
ficial, but however much he may value himself upon 
his birth or figure, he never fails exciting the con- 
tempt or the pity of men of sagacity and penetra- 
tion, and the ridicule of those who are disposed to 
amuse themselves at the folly and vanity of such 
as put on the mask of wisdom to cover their want 
of brains. 



A Thief coming" to rob a certain house in the 
night, was thwarted in his attempts by a fierce 
vigilant Dog, who kept barking at him continually. 
Upon which the Thief, thinking to stop his mouth, 
threw him a piece of bread ; but the Dog refused it 
with indignation, telling him that before he only 
suspected him to be a bad man, but now upon his 
offering to bribe him, his suspicions were fully 
confirmed; and that as he was entrusted with the 
guardianship of his master's house, he would never 
cease barking while such a rogue was lurking 
about it. 


NOTHING can alter the honest purpose of him 
whose mind is embued with good principles. He 



will despise an insidious bribe, and the greater the 
offer which is designed to buy his silence, the 
louder and more indignantly will he open out 
against the miscreant who \vould thus practise 
upon him. He knows that the favours held out to 
him are not marks of the love and regard of him 
who would confer them, but are meant as the price 
at which he is to sell his honour and his virtue. 
With a mind unpolluted, his noble resolution never 
fails to produce the happiest consequences, by 
preserving his friends and himself from the mis- 
chievous projects laid against them. So true it is, 
that virtue is its own reward ; while corruption and 
venality are sure in the end to bring the greatest 
miseries on those, and their adherents, who are 
so base, or perhaps inconsiderate, as to subject 
themselves to future evils of the most fatal nature, 
for the sake of a little present profit. 




A certain Man had a Goose, which laid him a 
golden egg every day. But not contented with 
this, which rather increased than abated his avarice, 
he was resolved to kill the Goose, and cut up her 
belly, that by so doing he might come at the inex- 
haustible treasure which he fancied she had within 
her. He did so, and, to his great sorrow and dis- 
appointment, found nothing. 


No passion can be a greater torment to those 
who are led by it, or more frequently mistakes its 
aim, than insatiable covetousness. It makes men 
blind to their present happiness, and conjures up 
ideal prospects of increasing felicity, which often 
tempt its deluded votaries to their ruin. Men who 


give themselves up to this propensity, know not 
how to be contented with the constant and con- 
tinued sufficiency with which Providence may have 
blessed them : their minds are haunted with the 
prospect of becoming rich, and their impatient 
craving tempers are perpetually prompting them to 
try to obtain their object all at once. They lose all 
present enjoyment in remotely contemplating the 
future; and while they are shewing by their con- 
duct how insensible they are to the bounty of 
Providence, they are at the same time laying the 
foundation of their own unhappiness. 




A Calf, which had been some time fattening- in a 
rich pasture, full of wantonness and arrogance, 
could not forbear insulting an old Ox every time 
he saw him at the plough. What a sorry drudge 
art thou, says he, to bear that heavy yoke, and 
draw all day a plough at thy tail ! See, what a fat, 
sleek, and comely appearance I make, and what a 
life of ease I lead : I go where I please, and frisk 
about in the sunshine or lie down under the cool 
shade, just as my own fancy prompts me. The Ox, 
not moved by this insolence, made no reply, but 
pursued his daily round of alternate labour and 
rest, until he saw the Calf taken and delivered to a 
priest, who immediately led him to the altar, and 
prepared to sacrifice him. When the fatal knife 
was just at his throat, the Ox dreAv near, and whis- 
pered him to this purpose: see what your wanton 



and lazy life has brought you to, a premature and 
painful death. 


WE may learn by this P^able the general con- 
sequence of an idle life, and how well rewarded 
laborious diligent men are in the end, when they 
quietly enjoy the fruits of their industry. They 
who by little tricks and chicanery, or by open 
violence and robbery are enabled to live in a high 
expensive way, often despise the poor honest man, 
who is contented with the humble produce of his 
daily labour. But how r often is the poor man com- 
forted, by seeing these wanton villains led in 
disgrace and misery to the altar of justice, while he 
lias many a cheerful summer's morning to enjoy 
abroad, and many a long winter's evening to in- 
dulge in at home, by a quiet hearth, and under an 
unenvied roof: blessings, which often attend a 
sober industrious man, though the idle and the 
profligate are utter strangers to them. Luxury and 
intemperance, besides their inevitable tendency to 
shorten a man's days, are very apt to engage their 
besotted votaries in a debauched life, not only pre- 
judicial to their health, but which engenders in 
them a contempt for those whose good sense and 
true taste of happiness inspire them with an aver- 
sion to idleness and effeminacy, and put them upon 
hardening their constitutions by innocent exercise 
and laudable employment. How many do gluttony 
and sloth tumble into an untimely grave! while 
the temperate and the active drink sober draughts 
of life, and spin out the thread of their existence to 
the most desirable length. 



ONE who had been abroad, was giving" an ac- 
count of his travels, and among other places, said 
he had been at Rhodes, where he had distinguished 
himself so much in leaping, an exercise for which 
that city was famous, that not a Rhodian could 
come near him. When those who were present did 
not seem to credit this relation so readily as he in- 
tended they should, he took some pains to convince 
them of it by oaths and protestations : upon which, 
one of the company told him he need not give him- 
self so much trouble about it, since he would put 
him in a way to demonstrate the fact; which was, 
to suppose the place they were in to be Rhodes, 
and to perform his extraordinary leap over again. 
The boaster, not liking this proposal, sat down 
quietly, and had no more to say for himself. 



WE had better be contented to keep our exploits 
to ourselves, than to appear ridiculous by attempt- 
ing 1 to force a belief of that which is improbable; 
and travelled gentlemen should have a care how 
they import falsehoods and inventions of their own 
from foreign parts, and attempt to vend them at 
home for staple truths. It cannot be too strongly 
impressed upon the mind, that a lie is upon all 
occasions degrading to the person who utters it, 
and should be most scrupulously avoided, not only 
on account of its baseness, but because it is impos- 
sible to foresee in how many troubles it may 
involve him who passes it off. It will not always 
receive credit, and is ever liable to detection. 
When it is calculated for wicked purposes, it will 
deservedly incur punishment; and when it is of a 
harmless or insignificant nature, it will even then 
often expose its author to contempt and ridicule; 
and vanity never mistakes its end more grossly, 
than when it attempts to aggrandize itself at the 
expense of truth. 




A Shepherd's Boy, while attending his flock, 
used frequently to divert himself by crying out, 
"the Wolf! the Wolf!" The Husbandmen in the 
adjoining grounds, thus alarmed, left their work 
and ran to his assistance, but finding that he was 
only sporting with their feelings, and bantering 
them, they resolved at last to take no notice of his 
alarms. It was not long, however, before the Wolf 
really came, and the Boy bawled out " the Wolf! 
the Wolf!" as he had done before: but the men 
having been so often deceived, paid no attention to 
his cries, and the sheep were devoured without 


THE man who would go through the world with 
reputation and success, must preserve a religious 


adherence to truth : for no, talents or industry can 
give him weight with others, or induce the sensible 
part of mankind to place any confidence in him, if 
he be known to deviate without scruple from vera- 
city. Men of this stamp soon become notorious; 
and besides the ignominy which attaches to their 
characters, they have to undergo the mortification 
of not being believed even when they do speak the 
truth. Whatever misfortune may befal them, and 
however sincere they may be ' in making kno\vn 
their distress, yet, like the Boy in the Fable, their 
complaints and most earnest asseverations cannot 
procure them credit, and are received at best with 
doubt and suspicion. The same consequences fol- 
low falsehood and deception, whether practised by 
individuals or public governors, and they will both 
find in the end that they have been guided by cun- 
ning, and not by wisdom : for although the ignorant 
part of mankind may, to serve the temporary pur- 
poses of a bad government, be acted upon by false 
alarms of imaginary dangers, yet even these in 
time will see through the stale tricks and artifices 
of those whose designs are to gull and impose upon 



A Crow, ready to die with thirst, flew with joy to 
a Pitcher which he beheld at some distance. When 
he came, he [found water in it indeed, but so near 
the bottom, that with all his stooping-and straining, 
he was not able to reach it. He then endeavoured 
to overturn the Pitcher, that at least he might be 
able to get a little of it; but his strength was not 
sufficient for the accomplishment of this purpose. 
At last seeing some pebbles lie near the place, he 
cast them one by one into the Pitcher, and thus, 
by degrees, raised the water up to the very brim, 
and satisfied his thirst. 


WHAT we cannot accomplish by strength, we 
may by ingenuity and industry. A man of sagacity 



and penetration, upon meeting with a few difficul- 
ties, does not drop his pursuits, but if he cannot 
succeed in -one way, sets his mind to work upon 
another, and does not hesitate about stepping out 
of the old beaten track which had been thought- 
lessly pursued in a roundabout way by thousands 
before him. The present state of the world, en- 
lightened by arts and sciences, is a proof that 
difficulties seemingly insurmountable, and under- 
takings once imagined to be impossible, have been 
accomplished; and this ought to be kept in mind 
as a spur to continued exertion : for we are not ac- 
quainted with the strength of our own minds till 
we exercise them, nor to what length our abilities 
will carry us, till we put them to the trial. 

" What is discovered only serves to shew, 
That nothing's known to what is yet to know. 

The man who enriches the present fund of know- 
ledge with some new and useful improvement, does 
an honour to himself, and ought invariably to be 
rewarded by the public: for, like a happy adven- 
turer by sea, he discovers as it were an unknown 
land, and imports an additional treasure to his own 



A Man having caught a Partridge, plucked the 
feathers out of one of its wings, and turned it into 
a little yard where he kept Game Cocks. The 
Cocks led the poor bird a sad life, continually peck- 
ing at and driving it away from the- meat. This 
treatment was taken the more unkindly, because 
offered to a stranger; and the Partridge could not 
help concluding that they were the most uncivil 
inhospitable people he had ever met with. But 
observing how very frequently they quarrelled and 
fought with each other, he comforted himself with 
reflecting, that it w r as no wonder they were so cruel 
to him, since they showed the same disposition to 
each other. 


No peace is to be expected among those who are 
naturally fierce, quarrelsome, and inhospitable; 



and people of a different disposition should avoid, 
as much as possible, having any thing to do with 
them. But v when we cannot help coming into con- 
tact with such characters, there is no remedy but 
patience; and this virtue a wise man will call to 
his aid under every misfortune. When our suffer- 
ings are inflicted by the wickedness of others, it is 
some consolation to reflect, that people of this 
character are continually waging war among them- 
selves, and punishing each other; and that the 
consequences of their own wickedness follow them 
like their shadow, besides rendering them the 
objects of general aversion. Xo virtue was more 
universally practised, or more strongly recommend- 
ed, by the ancients, than a mild conduct to our 
companions, and an hospitable entertainment of 
strangers; and when this is not the general charac- 
ter of any people, it shews, in greater or less 
degrees, the wretched state of society in which they 



A Crow having taken a piece of meat out of a 
cottage window, flew up into a tree with it; which 
a Fox observing, came underneath, and began to 
compliment the Crow upon her beauty. I protest, 
says he, your feathers are of a more delicate white 
than I ever saw in my life! Ah! what a fine shape 
and graceful turn of body is there ! and I make no 
question but you have a tolerable voice : if it be but 
as fine as your complexion, I do not know a bird 
that can stand in competition with you. The Crow, 
tickled with this very . civil language, wriggled 
about, and hardly knew where she was ; and having 
a mind to convince the Fox in the matter of her 
voice, attempted to sing, and in the same instant 
let the meat drop out of her mouth. This being 
what the Fox wanted, he chopped it up in a 


moment, and trotted away, laughing- at the easy 
credulity of the Crow. 


" It is a maxim in the schools, 
That flattery is the food of fools." 

THEY that love flattery will have cause to repent 
of their foible in the long run; and yet how few 
there are among the whole race of mankind, who 
are proof against its attacks. The gross way in 
which it is managed by some silly practitioners, is 
enough to alarm the dullest apprehension; but let 
the ambuscade be disposed with judgment, and it 
will scarcely fail of seizing the most guarded heart. 
How many are tickled to the last degree with the 
pleasure of flattery, even while they are applauded 
for their honest detestation of it. There is no way 
to baffle the force of this engine, but by every one's 
examining impartially for himself, the true estimate 
of his own qualities. If he deal sincerely in the 
matter, nobody can tell so well as him. self what 
degree of esteem ought to attend any of his actions ; 
and therefore he should be entirely easy as to the 
opinion others have of them. If they attribute 
more to him than is his due, they are either design- 
ing or mistaken; if they allow him less, they are 
envious, or possibly still mistaken; and in either 
case are to be despised or disregarded : for he that 
flatters without designing to make advantage of it, 
is a fool; and whoever encourages that flattery 
which he has sense enough to see through, is a 
vain coxcomb. 


6 9 


Ax Old Man who was feeding his Ass in a line 
green meadow, being* alarmed by the sudden ap- 
proach of an enemy, began urging the Ass to put 
himself forward, and fly with all the^speed he was 
able. The Ass asked him whether he thought the 
enemy would clap two pair of panniers upon his 
back? The Man said, No, there was no fear of 
that. Why then, says the Ass, I will not stir an 
inch, for what is it to me who my master is, since I 
shall but carry my panniers as usual. 


Tms-Eable shews us how much in the wrong the 
poorer sort of people most commonly are, when 
they are under any concern about the revolutions 
of a government. All the alteration which they 



can feel, is perhaps in the name of their sovereign, 
or some such important trifle; but they cannot well 
be poorer, or made to work harder, than they did 
before. And yet how are they sometimes imposed 
upon and drawn in by the artifices of a few mis- 
taken or designing men, to foment factions, and 
raise rebellions, in cases where they can get nothing 
by success; but if they miscarry, are in danger of 
suffering an ignominious and untimely end. 



A Swallow, observing a Farmer sowing his field 
with flax, called the birds together, and informed 
them what he was about. She told them that flax 
was the material of which the thread was made that 
composed the fowler's nets, so fatal to the feathered 
race, and strongly advised, them to assist her in 
picking up the seed, and destroying it. The Birds 
heard her with indifference, and gave themselves no 
trouble about the matter. In a little time the flax 
sprang up, and appeared above the ground. She 
then put them in mind once more of their impending 
danger, and wished them to pluck it up in the bud, 
before it grew any further. But they still slighted 
her warnings, and the flax grew up into stalk. She 
again urged them to attack it, for it was not yet too 
late ; but they only ridiculed her for a silly pre- 
tending prophet. The Swallow, finding all her 


remonstrances availed nothing, was resolved to 
leave the society of such careless unthinking 
creatures, before it was too late: so, quitting the 
woods, she repaired to the houses ; and, forsaking 
the conversation of the Birds, has ever since taken 
up her abode among the dwellings of men. 


WISE men read effects in their causes, and profit 
by them ; but their advice is thrown away when 
given to the arrogant and self-conceited, who are 
too proud to listen to it. It is equally lost upon 
fools, who stupidly or obstinately shut their eyes 
against impending danger, till it is too late to pre- 
vent it. In both cases, those who have no foresight 
of their own, and those who despise the wholesome 
admonitions of their friends, deserve to suffer from 
the misfortunes which their OWTL obstinacy, folly, or 
negligence, brings upon their heads. A great por- 
tion of mankind, from an overweening conceit of 
their own abilities, are unwilling to be advised by 
any one, and through this stubborn disposition, 
deprive themselves of the aids of friendship, and 
the benefits which the good-will of their more 
sensible neighbours would have conferred on them 
with pleasure. 



Two Thieves broke into a house with a design 
to rob it ; but when they had pried into every 
corner, found nothing worth taking away but a 
Cock, which they seized upon and carried off. 
When they were about to kill him, he begged very 
hard that they would spare his life, putting them in 
mind how useful he was to mankind, by crowing 
and calling them up betimes to their work. You 
villain, replied they, it is for that very reason we 
will ring your head off; for you alarm and keep the 
people waking, so that we cannot rob in quiet for 


THE same thing which recommends us to the 
esteem of good people, will make those that are 
bad have nothing but hatred and ill-will towards 



us; for every man who has engaged himself in a 
vicious or wicked course of life, fiend-like, makes 
himself, as it were, the natural adversary of virtue. 
It is in vain for innocent men, under oppression, to 
complain to those who are the occasion of it: all 
they can urge will but make against them ; and 
even their very innocence, though they should say 
nothing, would render them sufficiently suspected. 
The moral, therefore, that this Fable brings along 
with it, is to inform us that there is no trusting, nor 
any hopes of living well, with wicked unjust men ; 
for their disposition is such, that they will do mis- 
chief to others as soon as they have the opportunity. 
When vice flourishes, and is in power, were it 
possible for a good man to live quietly in its neigh- 
bourhood, and preserve his integrity, it might be 
sometimes perhaps convenient for him to do so, 
rather than quarrel with and provoke it against 
him: but as it is certain that rogues are irrecon- 
cileable enemies to men of worth, if the latter would 
be secure, they must take methods to free them- 
selves from the power and society of the former. 




Ax Ass being sick, the report was spread abroad 
in the country, and some did not scruple to say, 
that she would die before another night went over 
her head. Upon this, several wolves went to the 
stable where she lay, under pretence of making her 
a visit ; but rapping at the door, and asking her 
how she did, the young Ass came out, and told 
them that his mother was much better than they 


IF the kind enquiries after the sick were all to be 
interpreted with as much frankness as those in the 
Fable, the porters of the great might commonly 
answer with the strictest propriety, that their 
masters were much better than was wished or de- 

7 6 FABLES. 

sired. The charitable visits which are made to 
many sick people, proceed from much the same 
motive with that which induced the hungry wolves 
to make their enquiries after the Sick Ass, namely, 
that they may come in for some share of their 
remains, and feast themselves upon the reversion 
of their goods and chattels. The sick man's heir 
longs for his estate ; one friend waits in anxious 
expectation of a legacy, and another wants his 
place; it, however, does not unfrequently happen, 
that the mask of these selfish visitants, and their 
counterfeit sorrow, are seen through, and their 
impertinent officiousness treated with the contempt 
it so justly deserves. 





A Dog was lying upon a stall full of hay. An 
Ox, being hungry, came near, and offered to eat of 
the hay ; but the ill-natured Cur getting up and 
snarling at him, would not suffer him to touch it. 
Upon which the Ox, in the bitterness of his heart, 
said, A curse light on thee for a malicious wretch, 
who will neither eat hay thyself, nor suffer others 
to do it. 


THERE are men in the world of so snarling, 
malevolent, and ill-natured a disposition, that they 
will even punish themselves, rather than put forth 
a finger to serve any one. It gives them a malig- 
nant kind of pleasure to have it in their power to 
cause trouble and vexation to others, whenever 

7 8 FABLES. 

they have an opportunity of doing so; and could 
they have their will, they would shut out the light 
and warmth of the sun, and suffer the fruits of the 
earth to rot upon it, provided they could see those 
about them unhappy: and in thus taking delight in 
other people's miseries, it of course follows that 
they are their own tormentors. These characters, 
in common life, are diabolical and detestable; but 
the evils they inflict, are only like a drop to the 
ocean, when compared to those which men of the 
same stamp shed abroad in the world, when, in an 
evil hour, they happen to be exalted to govern the 
affairs of a nation. Then, indeed, their baleful in- 
fluence is felt in every direction : they may be 
termed fiends in human shape : for as far as they 
are able, they tlvvvart the benevolent intentions of 
Omnipotence, and the very breath of their nostrils 
seems to blast the happiness of mankind. 



Ax Ass which had been some time in the service 
of a Gardener, and carried his vegetables to market, 
became tired of his place, and petitioned Jupiter 
that he would permit him to enter upon the service 
of a neighbouring Potter. Jupiter^ granted his 
request. He here, however, soon found that the 
latter loaded him with heavier burthens, and kept 
him on poorer fare than he had been used to before. 
He again prayed to Jupiter to grant that he might 
be allowed to better his condition by engaging 
himself to a Tanner. Jupiter again heard his 
prayer; but here he soon found he had changed for 
the worse : for, besides being hard worked, he was 
also often cruelly treated ; and seeing what was 
going on in this place, he could not forbear up- 
braiding himself with his folly and inconstancy. 
Oh, fool that I was ! said he to himself, for leaving 


my former mild master, to become the servant of 
one, who, after working me to death, will not spare 
my very hide after I am dead. 


THE man that carries about with him the plague 
of a restless mind, can never be pleased ; he is ever 
shifting and changing, and is in truth not so weary 
of his condition as of himself. Seldom or never 
contented with his lot, he is ever hunting after 
happiness where it is not to be found, without ever 
looking for it Avhere it is. He indulges in the 
strange propensity of his nature, which leads him 
to suppose that his own lot is the most miserable, 
and therefore concludes that any change he can 
make must be for the better. He loses sight of the 
virtues of patience, constancy, and resignation, and 
seems not to know that every station in life has its 
real or imaginary inconveniences ; and that it is 
better to bear with those which we are accustomed 
to endure, and of which we know the utmost extent, 
than by aiming at the seeming advantages of 
another way of life, to subject ourselves to all its 
hidden miseries. 




./ESOP having occasion to go out to seek a light 
to kindle his fire, went from house to house for 
some time before he could succeed; but having at 
last got what he wanted, he posted back in haste 
with his lighted candle in his hand. An Impudent 
Fellow, leaving his companions, caught hold of 
^Esop by the sleeve, and would fain have shewn 
off his wit, and been arch upon him. Hey day! 
oh, rare ^Esop ! says he,, what occasion for a candle, 
old boy! what, are you going to light the sun to 
bed? Let me alone, says JEsop, for with it I am 
looking for an honest man. 


IT is plain that our old philosopher in the Fable 
did not take the Impertinent Fellow for an honest 



man, and he gave him to understand that it requir- 
ed a good light to find out one who fully came up 
to that character; and he might have added, that 
the world very much abounded with ignorant and 
impudent ones, who, with their empty nonsense, 
which they call wit, often unseasonably interrupt 
men of thought and business: for to those whose 
minds are wholly intent upon matters of import- 
ance, nothing is so offensive as the intrusion of a 
fool. Men of eminent parts and great natural 
abilities, make their appearance in the world only 
now and then. These qualifications are the gift of 
Providence, and seem to be intended to throw fresh 
lights on the understandings of mankind; but in 
all the gradations from these downwards, it is in 
the power of every one to improve their manners, 
and integrity is within the reach of those of the 
meanest capacity, if they will endeavour to amend 
their lives, and take it for their guide. 



THE Forester meeting with the Lion one day, 
they discoursed together for a while without much 
differing in opinion. At last, a dispute happening 
to arise about the point of superiority between a 
Man and a Lion, the former wanting a better argu- 
ment, shewed the latter a marble monument, on 
which was placed the statue of a Man striding over 
a vanquished Lion. If this, says the Lion, is all 
you have to say for it, let us be the sculptors, and 
we will make the Lion striding over the Man. 


SUCH is the partiality of mankind in favour of 
themselves and their own actions, that it is ex- 
tremely difficult, nay almost impossible, to come at 


any certainty, by reading the accounts that are 
written on one side only. The simple truth is still 
perverted, as prejudice, vanity, or interest warps 
the mind, and it is not discovered in all its bril- 
liancy, till the mists which obscure it are swept 
away by the most rigid investigation. In what an 
odious light would our party men place each other, 
if the transactions of the times were handed down 
to posterity by a warm zealot on either side; and 
were such records to survive a few centuries, with 
what perplexities and difficulties would they em- 
barrass the historian, as by turns he consulted them 
for the character of his great forefathers. The 
same difficulties would occur in writing the history 
of nations, both ancient and modern. Some of 
those who flourish at this day, and consider them- 
selves as having reached perfection in civilization 
and polished manners, will perhaps, not unjustly, 
be branded in after-times with cruelty, injustice, 
and oppression, in having confounded all simplicity 
of manners, and disturbed the peace of whole na- 
tions, by carrying the horrors of war, of murder, 
and desolation, into regions formerly blessed with 
uninterrupted tranquillity. 



THE Wolf indicted the Fox for felony before the 
Ape, who upon that occasion was appointed special 
judge of the cause. The Fox gave in his answer 
to the Wolf's accusation, and denied the fact. 
After hearing both sides, the Ape, penetrating the 
character of the parties, gave judgment to this pur- 
pose: I am of opinion, that you, says he to the 
Wolf, never lost the goods you sue for; and as for 
you, turning to the Fox, I make no question but 
you at least have stolen what is laid to your charge. 
And thus the court was dismissed with this public 
censure upon each party. 


WELL may both judge and jury, in the outset of 
trial, be puzzled to decide between and do justice to 



men whose quarrels are made up of baseness and 
villainy, and carried on with mutual treachery, 
fraud and violence, and whose witnesses are per- 
haps of the same character with themselves. Each 
party may justly enough accuse the other, though 
neither of them are worthy of belief, and deserve 
even no credit for the imputations with which they 
asperse each other's characters. But such men 
need not hope long to deceive the world : a pene- 
trating judge and an honest jury will, upon sifting 
the matter, clearly see what kind of men they have 
been occupying their attention with, and shew a 
proper disgust at the wicked impudence of both 
plaintiff and defendant. 



A certain Knight growing old, his hair fell off, 
and he became bald; to hide which imperfection he 
wore a periwig. But as he was riding out with 
some others a hunting, a sudden gust -of wind blew 
off the periwig, and exposed his bald pate. The 
company could not forbear laughing at the acci- 
dent ; and he himself laughed as loud as any body, 
saying, how was it to be expected that I could keep 
strange hair upon my head, when my own would 
not stay there? 


THERE is no disposition, or turn of mind, which 
on many occasions contributes more to keep us 
easy, than that which enables us to rally any of our 
failings, or joke upon our own infirmities : this 


blunts the edge, and baffles und turns aside the 
malignant sneers of little wits, and the ill nature 
and ridicule of others. If we should at any time 
happen to incur the laughter of those about us, we 
cannot stifle it sooner or better than by receiving it 
all with a cheerful look, and by an ingenuous and 
pleasant remark, parry the jest which another is 
ready to throw out at our expense. To appear 
fretted or nettled, only serves to gratify the wishes 
of those who take a secret pleasure in seeing such 
an effect produced; and, besides, a testy or captious 
temper is a source of perpetual disquietude, both to 
ourselves and our acquaintances, and, like a little 
leaven, sours the whole mass of our good qualities. 
If we had no other imperfections, this of itself 
would be sufficient to cause our company to be 



FOUR Bulls, who had entered into a very strict 
friendship, kept always near one another, and fed 
together. The Lion often saw them, and as often 
had a mind to make one of them his prey; but 
though he could easily have subdued any of them 
singly, yet he was afraid to attack the whole alli- 
ance, knowing they would have been too powerful 
for him, and therefore was obliged to keep himself 
at a distance. At last, perceiving that no attempt 
was to be made upon them as long as their com- 
bination lasted, he artfully contrived, by the whis- 
pers and hints of his emissaries, to foment jealousies, 
and raise divisions among them. This stratagem 
succeeded so well, that the Bulls grew cold and 
reserved to one another, which soon after ripened 
into a downright hatred and aversion, and at last 

VOL. iv. x 


ended in a total separation. The Lion had now 
attained his ends; and though it had been impos- 
sible for him to hurt them while they were united, 
he found no difficulty, now they were parted, to 
seize and devour every Bull of them, one after 


SINCE friendships and alliances are of the greatest 
importance to our well-being and happiness, we 
cannot be too often cautioned against suffering 
them to be broken by tale-bearers and whisperers, 
or by any dark plots and contrivances of our 
enemies : for when by such wicked means as these, 
or by our own imprudence, we lose a friend, we 
shake the very basis of our interest, and remove 
the pillar that contributed to support it. Whatever 
in cases of this kind is applicable to individuals, is 
equally so to kingdoms and states; and it is as 
undisputed a maxim as ever was urged upon the 
attention of mankind, by the best man that ever 
lived, that a "kingdom divided against itself can- 
not stand:" the people are invincible when united. 

Faction and feuds will overturn the state 
Which union renders flourishing and great. 



AN Old Man had several Sons, who were con- 
stantly quarrelling with each other, notwithstanding 
he used every means in his po\ver to persuade them 
to cease their contentions, and to live in amity 
together. At last he had recourse to the following 
expedient : He ordered his Sons to be called 
before him, and a bundle of sticks to be brought, 
and then commanded them to try if, with all their 
strength, any of them could break it. They all 
tried, but without effect : for the sticks being closely 
and compactly bound together, it was impossible 
for the force of man to break them. After this, 
the Father ordered the bundle to be untied, and 
gave a single stick to each of his Sons, at the same 
time bidding them try to break it. This they did 
with ease, and soon snapped every stick asunder. 
The Father then addressed them to this effect : 


O, my Sons, behold the power of unity! for if you, 
in like manner, would but keep yourselves strictly 
conjoined in the bands of friendship, it would not 
be in the power of any mortal to hurt you ; but 
when you are divided by quarrels and animosities, 
you fall a prey to the weakest enemies. 


A kingdom divided against itself is brought to 
desolation ; and the same holds good in all societies 
and corporations of men, from the constitution of 
the nation, down to every little parochial vestry. 
Every private family should consider itself a little 
state, in which the several members ought to be 
united by one common interest. Quarrels with 
-each other are as fatal to their welfare, as factions 
are dangerous to the peace of the commonwealth. 
But indeed the necessity of union and friendship 
extends itself to all kinds of relations in life, and 
they conduce mightily to the advantage of those 
who cherish and cultivate them. No enemy will 
dare to attack a body of men firmly attached to 
each other, and will fear to offend one of the num- 
ber, lest he should incur the resentment of the 
rest; but if they split into parties, and are disunited 
by quarrels, every petty opponent will venture to 
attack them, and the whole fraternity will be liable 
to wrongs and violence. 




A Lion and a Tiger at the same instant seized on 
a young Fawn, which they immediately killed. 
This they had no sooner performed, than they fell 
to fighting, in order to decide whose property it 
should be. The battle was so obstinate, that they 
were both compelled, by weariness and loss of 
blood, to desist and lie down breathless and quite 
disabled. A Wolf passing that way, perceiving 
how the case stood, very impudently stepped up 
and seized the booty, which they had all this while 
been contending for, and carried it off. The two 
combatants, who beheld this without being able to 
prevent it, could only make this reflection: How 
foolish, said they, has been our conduct! Instead 
of being contented, as we ought, with our respective 
shares, our senseless rage has rendered us unable 


to prevent this rascally Wolf from robbing us of 
the whole. 


WHEN people go to law about an uncertain title, 
and have spent the value of their whole estate in 
the contest, nothing is more common than to find 
that some unprincipled attorney has secured the 
object in dispute to himself. The very name of law 
seems to imply equity and justice, and this is the 
bait which has draw r n in many to their ruin. If we 
would lay aside passion, prejudice, and folly, and 
think calmly of the matter, \ve should find that 
going to law is not the best way of deciding 
differences about property ; it being, generally 
speaking, much safer to trust to the arbitration of 
two or three honest sensible neighbours, than at a 
vast expense of money, time, and trouble, to run 
through the tedious frivolous forms, with which, by 
the artifices of greedy lawyers, a court of judicature 
is contrived to be attended. Or if a case should 
happen to be so intricate that a man of common 
sense cannot distinguish w r ho has the best title, 
how easy would it be to have the opinion of the 
best counsel in the land, and agree to abide by his 
decision. If it should appear dubious, even after 
that, how much better w T ould it be to divide the 
thing in dispute, rather than go to law, and hazard 
the losing, not only of the whole, but costs and 
damages into the bargain! 



A Fox being caught in a trap, escaped after 
much difficulty with the loss of his tail. He was, 
however, a good deal ashamed of appearing in 
public without this ornament, and, at last, to avoid 
being singular and ridiculous in the eyes of his 
own species, he formed the project of calling to- 
gether an assembly of Foxes, and of persuading 
them that the docking of their tails was a fashion 
that would be very agreeable and becoming. Ac- 
cordingly he made a long harangue to them for 
that purpose, and endeavoured chiefly to shew the 
awkwardness and inconvenience of a Fox's tail, 
adding that they were quite useless, and that they 
would be a very great deal better without them. 
He asserted, that what he had only conjectured 
and imagined before, he now found by experience 
to be true, for he never enjoyed himself so much, 

()6 FABLES. 

and found himself so easy as he had done since he 
cut off his tail. He then looked round with a brisk 
air, to see what proselytes he had gained; when a 
sly old Fox in company answered him, with a leer: 
I believe you may have found a convenience in 
parting with your tail, and perhaps when we are in 
the same circumstances, we may do so too. 


MANY of the fashions which obtain in the world, 
originate in the whim or caprice of some vain con- 
ceited creature, who takes a pride in leading the 
giddy multitude in a career of folly. Others again 
take their rise from an artful design to cover some 
vice, or hide some deformity in the person of the 
inventor. Projectors and planners of a higher 
stamp are also not uncommon in the world. These 
men appear to toil only for the public good, and 
the sacred name of patriotism is their shield. It, 
however, often happens that when their deep 
schemes are opened out, they are found to proceed 
from nothing better than self-interested motives, 
and a sincere desire to serve themselves. 




A certain Miser, having got together a large sum 
of money, sought out a sequestered spot, where he 
dug a hole and hid it. His greatest pleasure was 
to go and look upon his treasure; which one of his 
servants observing, and guessing there was some- 
thing more than ordinary in the place, came at 
night, found the hoard, and carried it off. The 
next day, the Miser returning as usual to the scene 
of his delight, and perceiving the money gone, tore 
his hair for grief, and uttered the most doleful 
accents of despair. A neighbour, who knew his 
temper, overhearing him, said, Cheer up, man! 
thou hast lost nothing: there is still a hole to peep 
at: and if thou canst but fancy the money there, it 
will do just as well. 


9 8 FABLES. 


OF all the appetites to which human nature is 
subject, none is so lasting, so strong, and so un- 
accountable, as avarice. Other desires generally 
cool at the approach of old age; but this flourishes 
under grey hairs, and triumphs amidst infirmities. 
All our other longings have something to be said 
in excuse for them ; but it is above reason, and 
therefore truly incomprehensible, why a man should 
be passionately fond of money only for the sake of 
gazing upon it. His treasure is as useless to him 
as a heap of oyster-shells; for though he knows 
how many substantial pleasures it might procure, 
yet he dares not touch it, and is as destitute, to all 
intents and purposes, as the man who is not worth 
a groat. This is the true state of a covetous per- 
son, to which one of that fraternity perhaps may 
reply, that when we have said all, since pleasure is 
the grand aim of life, if there arise a delight to 
some, from the bare p6ssession of riches, though 
they do not use, or even intend to use them, we 
may be puzzled how to account for it, and think it 
strange, but ought not absolutely to condemn those 
who thus closely, but innocently, pursue what they 
esteem the greatest happiness. True ! people 
would be in the wrong to paint covetousness in 
such odious colours, were it compatible with inno- 
cence. But here arises the mischief: a covetous 
man will stop at nothing to attain his ends; and 
when once avarice takes the field, honesty, charity, 
humanity, and every virtue which opposes it, are 
sure to be put to the rout. 



A young" saucy Dog", having been found not to 
like any employment at home, was taken by a sea 
captain on board his ship, where, being well fed, he 
soon became both stout and fierce, and shewed 
himself off as such in every foreign port. He no 
sooner got ashore, than he held up his leg against 
every post and corner, and scraped the ground with 
his feet, quite regardless what Dog he might be- 
spatter; and if any of them happened to look sulkily 
at him, he thought nothing of seizing upon and 
rolling them in the kennel. If he happened to fall 
into company, he always began to give himself airs, 
to talk big, and to express his contempt for the 
Dogs of the place. He would boast that he was 
from a better country, and belonged to a better 
family than any Dog among them. In short, said 
he, "I come from Cheviot, the highest mountain in 

100 FABLES. 

the world, and the very heart of all England, where 
my forefathers, thousands of years ago, assembled 
to hunt the Wild Bull, the Wolf, and the Boar." 
He \vas once going on at this rate, when he was 
interrupted by a sedate, experienced Bitch, who 
assured him that there were good Dogs and bad 
Dogs in every country, and that the only difference 
arose from their education ; that many of the fore- 
fathers he boasted of, had long since worried each 
other, and the remainder of them had become so 
troublesome, that part had been transported across 
the sea to another place; and she knew, from good 
authority, that both his father and his mother were 


WHEN foreigners speak slightingly of the country 
they happen to be in, and praise their own, it shews 
in them a want of good sense and good breeding. 
It is indeed natural to have an affection for one's 
native land, nor can we help preferring it to every 
other; but to express this in another country, to 
people whose opinion it must needs contradict, by 
the same rule that it is conformable to our own, 
cannot fail of giving them just offence. It matters 
not how highly some particular countries may 
stand in the estimation of the rest of the world : 
this has little to do with private individuals ; the 
advantage of having been born in one of those 
favoured countries, is accidental, and no man ought 
to be esteemed merely on that account. In order 
to merit the respect of virtuous and wise men in 
every foreign land, it must appear to them, that by 
our talents, our acquirements, and our patriotism, 
we do credit to the country which gave us birth. 




THE Lion, seeing a Goat upon a steep craggy 
rock, where he could not come at him, asked him 
what delight he could take to skip from one preci- 
pice to another all day, and venture the breaking 
of his neck every moment ? I wonder, says he, you 
will not come down and feed on the plain here, 
where there is such plenty of grass, and fine sweet 
herbs. Why, replies the Goat, I cannot but say 
your opinion is right; but you look so very hungry 
and designing, that, to tell you the truth, I do not 
care to venture my person where you are. 


ADVICE, though good in itself, is to be suspected 
when it is given by a tricking, self-interested man. 
Perhaps we should take upon ourselves not only a 



very great, but an unnecessary trouble, if we were 
to suspect every man \vho offers to advise us; but 
this however is necessary, that when we have 
reason to question any one in point of honour and 
justice, we not only consider well before we suffer 
ourselves to be persuaded by him, but even resolve 
to have nothing to do in any affair where such 
treacherous slippery sparks are concerned, if we 
can avoid it without much inconvenience. 



Two Men travelling upon the road, one of them 
saw an Axe lying* upon the ground, where some- 
body had been hewing timber: so taking it up, 
says he, I have found an Axe. Do not say I, says 
the other, but we have found; for as we are com- 
panions, we ought to share the value between us: 
but the first would not consent. They had not 
gone far, before the owner of the Axe, hearing 
what was become of it, pursued them with a 
warrant; which, when the fellow who had it, per- 
ceived, Alas! says he to his companion, we are 
undone. Nay, says the other, do not say we, 
but I am undone: for, as you would not let me 
share the prize, neither will I share the danger 
with you. 

104 FABLES. 


WE cannot reasonably expect those to bear a 
part in our ill-fortune, whom we never permitted to 
share in our prosperity ; and whoever is so over- 
selfish and narrow-minded, as to exclude his friend 
from a portion of the benefits to which an intimate 
connection entitles him, may, perhaps, engross 
some petty advantages to himself, but he must lay 
his account on being left to do as well as he can for 
himself in times of difficulty and distress. The 
very life and soul of friendship subsist upon mutual 
benevolence, and in conferring and receiving obli- 
gations on either hand, with a free, open, and 
unreserved behaviour, without the least tincture of 
jealousy, suspicion, or distrust, guided by a strict 
observance of the rules of honour and generosity; 
and as no man includes within himself every thing 
necessary for his security, defence, preservation, 
and support, these rules are the requisites of 
friendship, to make it firm and lasting, and the 
foundation on which it must be built. 




AN Ass finding" a Lion's skin, disguised himself 
in it, and ranged about the forest, putting all the 
beasts in bodily fear. After he had diverted him- 
self thus for some time, he met a Fox, and being 
desirous to frighten him too, as well as the rest, he 
leapt at him with some fierceness, and endeavoured 
to imitate the roaring of a Eion. Your humble 
servant, says the Fox, if you had held your tongue, 
I might have taken you for a Lion, as others did, 
but now you bray, I know who you are. 


A man is known by his \vords, as a tree is by the 
fruit; and if we would be apprized of the nature 
and qualities of any one, let him but discourse, and 
he will speak them to us better than another can 


106 FABLES. 

describe them. We may therefore perceive, from 
this Fable, how proper it is for those to hold their 
tongues, who would not discover the shallowness of 
their understandings. " Empty vessels make the 
greatest sound," and the deepest rivers are most 
silent; the greatest noise is ever found where there 
is the least depth of water. It is a true observation, 
that those who are the weakest in understanding, 
and most slow of apprehension, are generally the 
most precipitate in uttering their crude conceptions. 
Grave looks, an aspect of dignity, and a solemn de- 
portment, may sometimes deceive even an accurate 
observer; but wise discourse cannot be successfully 
counterfeited or assumed, and the sententious block- 
head is as easily recognised as the pert coxcomb. 
It matters not what disguise one of these may 
assume; he utters himself, and undeceives us: he 
brays, and tells the whole company what he is. 




As the Cat and the Fox were once talking 
politics together in the middle of a forest, Reynard 
said, let things turn out ever so bad, he did not 
care, for he had a thousand tricks jfor them yet, 
before they should hurt him ; but pray, says he, Mrs 
Puss, suppose there should be an invasion, what 
course do you design to taker Nay, says the Cat, 
I have but one shift for it, and if that wont do, I 
am undone. I am sorry for you, replies Reynard, 
with all my heart, and would gladly furnish you 
with one or two of mine; but indeed neighbour, as 
times go, it is not good to trust, we must even be 
every one for himself, as the saying is, and so your 
humble servant. These words w^ere scarcely out of 
his mouth, when they were alarmed with a pack of 
hounds, that came upon them in full cry. The Cat 
by the help of her single shift, ran up a tree and 

108 FABLES. 

sat securely among the branches, whence she 
beheld Reynard, who had not been able to get out 
of sight, overtaken with his thousand tricks, and 
torn into as many pieces by the Dogs, which had 
surrounded him. 


ONE good discreet expedient made use of upon 
an emergency, will do a man more real service, 
and make others think better of him, than to have 
passed all his life for a shrewd crafty fellow, full of 
Ids stratagems and expedients, and valuing himself 
upon his having a deeper knowledge of the world 
than his neighbours. Plain good sense, and a 
downright honest meaning, are a better guide 
through life, and more trusty security against 
danger, than the low shifts of cunning, and the 
refinements of artifice. Cunning is of a deep 
entangling nature, and is a sign of a small genius; 
though when it happens to be successful, it often 
makes an ostentatious pretension to wisdom; but 
simplicity of manners is the ally of integrity, and 
plain common sense is the main requisite of 




A Gentleman having invited several friends to 
supper, his Dog thought this a fit opportunity to 
invite another Dog, an intimate of his own, to par- 
take with him of the good cheer, in the kitchen. 
Accordingly the stranger punctually attended, and 
seeing the mighty preparations going forward, pro- 
mised himself a most delicious repast. He began 
to smell about, and, with his eyes intent upon the 
victuals, to lick his lips, and wag his tail. This 
drew the attention of the Cook, who stole slyly up, 
and seizing him by the hind legs, whirled him out 
of the window into the street. The Dog, stunned 
and hurt by his hard fall on the pavement, began 
to howl, the noise of which drew several Dogs 
about him, who knowing of the invitation, began 
to enquire how he had fared ? O ! charmingly, said 
he; only I ate and drank till I. scarce knew which 
way I came out of the house. 



THERE is no depending upon a second-hand in- 
terest; unless we know ourselves to be w r ell with 
the principal, and are assured of his favour and 
protection, we stand upon a slippery foundation. 
They are strangers to the world who are so weak 
as to think they can be w r ell with any one by proxy; 
they may by this means be cajoled, bubbled, and 
imposed upon, but are under great uncertainty as 
to gaining their point, and may probably be treated 
with scorn and derision in the end. Yet there are 
not wanting among the several species of fops, silly 
people of this sort, who pride themselves in an 
imaginary happiness, from being in the good 
graces of a great man's friend's friend. Alas! the 
great men themselves are but too apt to deceive 
and fail in making good their promises, how then 
can we expect any good from those who do but 
promise and vow in their names r To place a con- 
fidence in such sparks, is indeed so false a reliance, 
that we ought to be ashamed to be detected in it ; 
and, like the Dog in the Fable, rather own we had 
been well treated, then let the world see how justly 
we had been punished for our ridiculous credulity. 


I I I 


Ax Angler caught a small Trout, and as he was 
taking it off the hook, and going to put it into his 
basket, it opened its little throat, and begged most 
piteously that he would throw it into the river 
again. The man demanded what reason it had to 
expect this indulgence? Why, says the Eish, be- 
cause I am so young and so little, that it is not 
worth your while taking me now, and certainly I 
shall be better worth your notice, if you take me a 
twelvemonth afterwards, when I shall be grown a 
great deal larger. That may be, replied the 
Angler, but I am sure of you now; and I am not 
one of those who quit a certainty in expectation of 
an uncertainty. 

112 FABLES. 


THEY who neglect the present opportunity of 
reaping a small advantage, in the hope that they 
shall obtain a greater afterwards, are far from act- 
ing upon a reasonable and well advised foundation. 
We ought never thus to deceive ourselves, and 
suffer the favourable moment to slip away; but 
secure to ourselves every fair advantage, however 
small, at the moment that it offers, without placing 
a vain reliance upon the visionary expectation of 
something better in time to come. Prudence ad- 
vises us always to lay hold of time by the forelock, 
and to remember that " a bird in the hand is worth 
two in the bush." 



A Alan, who had been sadly torn by a Dog, was 
advised by some Old Woman, as a cure, to dip a 
piece of bread in the wound, and givejt to the Cur 
that bit him. He did so, and ^Esop happening to 
pass by just at the time, asked him what he meant 
by it: The man informed him. Why then, says 
^Esop, do it as privately as you can, I beseech you; 
for if the rest of the Dogs of the town were to see 
you, we should all be eaten up alive by them. 


VICE should always be considered as the proper 
object 'of punishment, and we should on no account 
connive at offences of an atrocious nature, much 
less confer rewards on the criminals; for nothing 


114 FABLES. 

contributes so much to the increase of roguery, as 
when the undertakings of a knave are attended 
with success. If it were not for the fear of punish- 
ment, a large portion of mankind, who now make a 
shift to keep themselves honest, would be great 
villains. But if criminals, instead of meeting with 
punishment, Avere, by having been such, to attain 
honour and preferment, our natural inclination to 
mischief would be increased, and we should be 
wicked out of emulation. We should rather strive 
to make virtue as tempting as possible, and throw 
out every allurement in our power to draw the 
minds of the wavering and unsettled to espouse 
her cause. 



A skilful Archer coming" into the woods, directed 
his arrows so successfully, that he slew many wild 
beasts, and wounded several others. This put the 
whole savage kind into a great consternation, and 
made them fly into the most retired thickets for 
refuge. At last, the Tiger resumed courage, and 
bidding them not be afraid, said that he alone 
would engage the enemy, telling them they might 
depend on his valour to avenge their wrongs. In 
the midst of these threats, while he was lashing 
himself with his tail, and tearing up the ground 
with anger, an arrow pierced his ribs, and hung by 
its barbed point in his side. He set up a loud and 
hideous roar, occasioned by the anguish he felt, and 
endeavoured to draw out the painful dart with his 
teeth: when the Fox approaching him, enquired 
with an air of surprise, who it was that could have 


strength and courage enough to wound so mighty 
and valorous a beast: Ah! says the Tiger, I was 
mistaken in my reckoning: it was that invincible 
Man yonder. 


THOUGH strength and courage are very good in- 
gredients towards making us secure and formidable 
in the world, yet unless there be a proper portion 
of wisdom or policy to direct them, instead of being 
serviceable, they often prove detrimental to their 
proprietors. A rash forward man, who depends 
upon the excellence of his own parts and ac- 
complishments, is likewise apt to expose a \veak 
side, which his enemies might not otherwise have 
observed ; and gives an advantage to others by 
those very means which he fancied might have 
secured it to himself. Counsel and conduct always 
did and always will govern the world; and the 
strong, in spite of all their force, can never avoid 
being tools to the crafty. Some men are as 
much superior to others in wisdom and policy, as 
man in general is above the brute. Strength, ill- 
governed, opposed to them, is like a quarter staff 
in the hands of a huge, robust, but bungling fellow, 
who fights against a master of the science. The 
latter, though without a weapon, would have skill 
and address enough to disarm his adversary, and 
drub him with his own staff. In a word, savage 
fiercenesss and brutal strength, must not pretend to 
stand in competition with policy and stratagem. 


I I 


A Dog, crossing a rivulet with a piece of flesh in 
his mouth, saw his own shadow represented in the 
clear mirror of the stream; and believing it to be 
another Dog, who was carrying another piece of 
flesh, he could not forbear catching at it; but was 
so far from getting any thing by his greedy design, 
that he dropt the piece he had in his mouth, which 
immediately sunk to the bottom, and was irrecover- 
ably lost. 


Base is the man who pines amidst his store, 
And fat with plenty, griping covets more. 

EXCESSIVE greediness, in the end, mostly misses 
what it aims at, and he that catches at more than 


belongs to him, justly deserves to lose what he has. 
Yet nothing is more common, and at the same time 
more pernicious, than this selfish principle. It 
prevails from the king to the peasant ; and all 
orders and degrees of men are more or less infected 
with it. Great monarchs have been drawn in by 
this greedy humour, to grasp at the dominions of 
their neighbours ; not that they wanted any thing 
more to feed their luxury, but to gratify their in- 
.satiable appetite for vain-glory; and many states 
have been reduced to the last extremity by at- 
tempting such unjust encroachments. He that 
thinks he sees the estate of another in a pack of 
cards, or a box and dice, and ventures his own in 
the pursuit of it, should not repine, if he finds him- 
self a beggar in the end. 




A Bear, climbing' over the fence into a place 
where Bees were kept, began to plunder the hives, 
and rob them of their honey; but the Bees, to re- 
venge the injury, attacked him in a whole swarm 
together; and though they were not able to pierce 
his rugged hide, yet with their little stings they so 
annoyed his eyes and nostrils, that, unable to en- 
dure the smarting pain, with impatience he tore 
the skin over his ears, with his own claws, and suf- 
fered ample punishment for the injury he had done 
the Bees, in breaking open their waxen cells. 


MANY' and great are the injuries of which men are 
guilty towards each other, for the sake of gratifying 



some base appetite: for there are those who would 
not scruple to bring desolation upon their country, 
and run the hazard of their own necks into the bar- 
gain, rather than balk a wicked inclination, either 
of cruelty, ambition, or avarice. But it were to be 
wished, that all who are hurried on by such blind 
impulses, would consider a moment before they 
proceed to irrevocable execution. Injuries and 
wrongs not only call for revenge and reparation 
with the voice of equity itself, but oftentimes carry 
their punishment along with them; and, by an un- 
foreseen train of events, are retorted on the head of 
the actor, \vho not seldom, from a deep remorse, 
expiates them upon himself by his own hand. 


2 r 


A certain Woman had a Drunken Husband, 
whom she had endeavoured to reclaim by several 
ways, without effect. She, at last, tried this strata- 
gem : when he was brought home one night dead 
drunk, she ordered him to be carried to a burial- 
place, and there laid in a vault, as if he had been 
dead indeed. Thus she left him, and went away 
till she thought he might be come to himself, and 
grown sober again. When she returned, and 
knocked at the door of the vault, the man cried out, 
who's there? I am the person, ^says she, in a dis- 
mal tone of voice, that waits upon the dead folks, 
and I am come to bring you some victuals. Ah, 
good waiter, says he, let the victuals alone, and 
bring me a little drink, I beseech thee. The 
Woman hearing this, fell to tearing her hair, and 
beating her breast in a woful manner; Unhappy 


122 FABLES. 

wretch that I am, says she, this was the only way 
that I could think of to reform the beastly sot ; but 
instead of gaining my point, I am only convinced 
that his drunkenness is an incurable habit, which 
he intends to carry with him into the other world. 


THIS Fable is intended to shew us the prevalence 
of custom ; and how by using ourselves to any evil 
practice, we may let it grow into such a habit as 
we shall never be able to divest ourselves of. " () ! 
that men should put an enemy into their mouths to 
steal away their brains!" There is no vice which 
gains an ascendant over us more insensibly or 
more incurably, than drunkenness: it takes root by 
degrees, and comes at length to be past both 
remedy and shame. Habitual drunkenness stupi- 
fies the senses, destroys the understanding, fills its 
votaries with diseases, and makes them incapable 
of business. It cuts short the thread of life, or 
brings on an early old age, besides the mischief it 
does in the mean time to a man's family and affairs, 
and the scandal it brings upon himself: for a sot is 
one of the most despicable and disgusting charac- 
ters in life. After he has destroyed his reasoning 
faculties, and thus shewn his ingratitude to the 
giver of them, he flies to palliatives as a remedy for 
the- diseases which his intemperance has caused, 
and goes on in a course of taking Avhets and cor- 
dials, and more drink, till he falls a martyr to the 
vice, to which through life he has been a slave. 



THE Lioness and the Eox meeting together, fell 
into discourse, and the conversation turning upon 
the breeding and fruitfulness of some living 
creatures above others, the Fox could not forbear 
taking the opportunity of observing to the Lioness, 
that for her part, she thought Foxes were as happy 
in that respect as almost any other creatures; for 
they bred constantly once a year, if not oftener, and 
always had a good litter of cubs at every birth ; and 
yet, says she, there are some folks who are never 
delivered of more than one at a time, and that 
perhaps not above once or twice in their whole 
lives, who hold up their noses, and value themselves 
so much upon it, that they think all other creatures 
beneath them, and scarcely worthy to be spoken to. 
The Lioness, who all the time perceived at whom 
this reflection pointed, replied, what you have 

124 FABLES. 

observed is true. You litter often, and produce a 
great many at a time; but what are they: Foxes! 
I, indeed, may have but one at a time; but you 
should remember that that one is a Lion. 


OUR productions, of whatsoever kind, are not to 
be esteemed so much by their quantity as by their 
quality. It is not being employed much, but well, 
'and to the purpose, which will make us useful to 
the age we live in, and celebrated by those which 
are to come. As the multiplication of Foxes and 
other vermin is a misfortune to the countries which 
are infested with them, so one cannot help throwing 
out a melancholy reflection, when one sees some 
particular classes of the human kind increase so 
fast as they do. But the most obvious meaning of 
this Fable is the hint it gives us in relation to 
authors. These gentlemen should never attempt 
to raise themselves a reputation by trumping up a 
long catalogue of their various productions, since 
there is more glory in having written one tolerable 
piece than a thousand indifferent ones; and who- 
ever has had the good fortune to please in one 
literary performance, should be very cautious how 
e stakes his reputation in a second attempt. 




A Wolf, prowling about for his prey, espied a 
Lamb sucking a Goat. You silly creature ! says 
he, you quite mistake; this is not your mother; she 
is yonder among a flock of sheep; do allow me to 
conduct you to her. Xo, no, replies the Lamb, the 
mother that bore me may indeed be yonder; but 
when she dropped me, she shewed no further care, 
but left me unprovided for, to shift for myself, re- 
gardless of what might become of me; and had it 
not been for the kindness of this honest Goat, who 
took compassion upon my helplessness, I must have 
suffered all the miseries to which inexperienced 
youth and innocence are exposed, when left with- 
out a guide to the mercy of the world. 

120 FABLES. 


THIS Fable is levelled at those parents, too often 
met with in society, who, through negligence or 
ignorance of their duty, suffer their offspring to 
grow up to maturity, without instilling into their 
minds a single good principle of morality, or a 
reverence for religion, to guide them through life, 
and to guard them from falling into the snares of 
every Wolf who may seek their destruction. 
Others again, more abandoned indeed, and callous 
to the tender ties of nature, bring forth an offspring 
whom they neither cherish nor provide for. Such a 
description of persons are not fit to become parents, 
and they must not be surprized, if their want of 
parental affection produce a corresponding Avant of 
filial attachment and respect : for the duties be- 
tween parents and children are reciprocal. It is 
the goodness of parents which chiefly entitles them 
to the respect due to that name; and it is a para- 
mount duty of children to honour, obey, and revere 
such parents as fulfil the obligations which the laws 
of God and nature impose upon those who bring 
children into the world. 




A Hen, having" found a nest of Serpent's eggs in 
a dung-hill, immediately, with a fostering care, sat 
upon them, with a design to hatch them. A Swal- 
low observing this, flew towards her, and with 
great earnestness forewarned her of her danger. 
What! said she, are you mad, to bring forth a 
brood of such pernicious creatures? Be assured, 
the instant they are warmed into life, you are the 
first they will attack and wreak their venomous 
spite upon; but 'the Hen persisted in her folly, and 
the end verified the Swallow's prediction. 


IT is too often the hard fortune of many a kind 
good-natured man in the world to breed up a bird 
to pick out his own eyes, in despite of all cautions 

128 FABLES. 

to the contrary; but they who want foresight 
should hearken to the council of 'the wise, as this 
might have the effect of preventing their spending 
much time and good offices on the undeserving, 
perhaps to the utter ruin of themselves. It is the 
duty of all men to act fairly, openly, and honestly, 
in all their transactions in life; to do justice to all; 
but to consider well the character of those on whom 
they would confer favours: for gratitude is one of 
the rarest as well as the greatest of virtues. The 
Fable is intended to shew that we should never 
have any dealings with bad men, even to do them 
kindnesses. Men of evil principles are a genera- 
tion of vipers, that ought to be crushed ; and every 
rogue should be looked upon by honest men as a 
venomous serpent. The man who is occasionally, 
or by accident, one's enemy, may be mollified by 
kindness, and reclaimed by good usage: such a 
behaviour both reason and morality expect from 
us : but we should ever resolve, if not to suppress, 
at least to have no connexion with those whose 
blood is tinctured with hereditary, habitual villainy,, 
and their nature leavened with evil, to such a de- 
gree as to be incapable of a reformation. 




Ax Envious Man happened to be offering up his 
prayers to Jupiter, at the same time and in the 
same place with a covetous miserable Fellow. 
Jupiter sent Apollo to examine the merits of their 
petitions, and to give them such relief as he should 
think proper. Apollo therefore opened his com- 
mission, and told them, that to make short of the 
matter, whatever the one asked, the other should 
have doubled. Upon this, the Covetous Man, who 
had a thousand things to request, forebore to ask 
first, hoping to receive a double quantity; for he 
concluded that all men's wishes sympathized with 
his own. By this means, the Envious Man had the 
opportunity of giving vent to his malignity, and of 
preferring his petition first, which was what he 
aimed at; so without hesitation he prayed to have 

VOL. iv. s 



one of his eyes put out, knowing that of conse- 
quence his companion would be deprived of both. 


THIS Fable is levelled at two of the most odious 
passions \vhich degrade the mind of man. In the 
extremes of their unsocial views, envy places its 
happiness in the misery and the misfortunes of 
others, and pines and sickens at their joy; and 
avarice, unblest amidst its stores, is never satisfied 
unless it can get all to itself, although its insatiable 
cravings are at once unaccountable, miserable, and 



A Porcupine, wanting a shelter for himself, 
begged a nest of Snakes to give him admittance 
into their snug cave. They were prevailed upon, 
and let him in accordingly ; but were so annoyed 
with his sharp prickly quills, that they soon re- 
pented of their easy compliance, and intreated the 
Porcupine to withdraw, and leave, them their hole 
to themselves. No, said he, let them quit the place 
that don't like it ; for my part, I am well enough 
satisfied as I am. 


THIS Fable points out the danger of entering 
into any degree of friendship, alliance, or partner- 
ship with any person whatever, before we have 
thoroughly considered his nature and qualities, his 

132 FABLES. 

circumstances, and his humour; and also the neces- 
sity of examining our own temper and disposition,, 
to discover, if we can, ho\v far these may accord 
with the genius of those with whom we are about 
to form a connection; otherwise our associations, of 
whatever kind they be, may prove the greatest 
plague of our life. Young people, who are warm 
in all their passions, and suffer them, like a veil, to 
hoodwink their reason, often throw open their arms 
at once, and admit into the greatest intimacy per- 
sons whom they know little of, but by false and 
uncertain lights, and thus, perhaps, take a Porcu- 
pine into their bosom, instead of an inmate who- 
might sooth the cares of life, as an amiable consort, 
or a valuable friend. 




A Sow that had just farrowed, and lay in her sty 
with her whole litter of Pigs, was visited by a 
Wolf, who secretly longed to make a_meal of one 
of them, but knew not how to come at it. So, 
under the pretence of a friendly visit, he gave her 
a call, and endeavoured to insinuate himself into 
her good graces by his apparently kind enquiries 
after the welfare of herself and her young family. 
Can I be of any service to you, Mrs Sow r said he : 
if I can, it shall not on my part be wanting; and if 
you have a mind to go abroad for a little fresh air, 
you may depend upon my taking as much care of 
your young family as you could do yourself. No, I 
thank you, Mr Wolf, I thoroughly understand your 
meaning, and the greatest favour you can do to me 
and my Pigs, is to keep your distance. 

134 FABLES. 


WHEN an entire stranger, or any one of whom 
we have no reason to entertain a good opinion, 
obtrudes upon us an offer of his services, we ought 
to look to our own safety, and shew a shyness and 
coldness towards him. But there are also many 
men with whom it is dangerous to have the least 
connection, and with whom any commerce or 
correspondence will certainly be to our detriment. 
From these we should, therefore, resolve not to 
accept even favours, but carefully avoid being 
under any obligation to them : for in the end, their 
apparent kindness will shew itself to be a real 
injury ; and there is no method of guarding so 
effectually against such people, as that of entirely 
avoiding their society, or shutting our doors against 
them, as we would do against a thief. 



IN antient times, the nation of Frogs lived an 
easy free life among their lakes and ponds; but at 
length grew dissatisfied with such a continuance of 
undisturbed tranquillity, and petitioned Jupiter for 
a king. Jupiter smiled at their folly, and threw 
them down a log of wood, and with a thundering 
voice said, "there is a king for you." With this, 
and the sudden splash it made in the water, they 
were at first quite panic-struck, and for some time 
durst not put their heads up; but by degrees they 
ventured to take a peep, and at length even to leap 
upon the log. Not being pleased with so tame and 
insipid a king, they again petitioned Jupiter for 
another, who would exert more authority. Jupiter, 
disgusted at their importunate folly, sent them a 
Stork for their king, who, without ceremony, eat 

136 FABLES. 

them up whenever his craving appetite required a 


THIS Fable is said to have been spoken by ^Esop 
to the Athenians, who had flourished under their 
commonwealth, and lived under good and whole- 
some laws of their own enacting, until, in process 
of time, they suffered their liberty to run into licen- 
tiousness; and factious designing men fomented 
divisions, and raised animosities among them. 
When thus rendered weak, Pisistratus took the 
advantage, and seized upon their citadel and liber- 
ties both together. The Athenians finding them- 
selves in a state of slavery, though their tyrant 
happened to be a merciful one, could not bear the 
thoughts of it; but ^Esop in reciting the Fable to 
them, prescribes patience where there was no other 
remedy, and adds, at last, "Wherefore, my dear 
countrymen, be contented with your present con- 
dition, bad as it is, for fear a change should make 
it worse." 




AN Old Wpman, seeing a Wine Cask, which had 
been emptied of its contents, but the very lees of 
which still perfumed the air with a grateful cordial 
scent, applied her nose to the bunghole, and snuff- 
ing very heartily for some time, at last broke out 
into this exclamation: O delicious smell! How 
good! how charming must you have been once, 
when your very dregs are so agreeable and re- 
freshing ! 


PtLEDRUS was an old man when he wrote his 
Fables, and this he applies to himself; intimating 
what we ought to judge of his youth, when his old 
age was capable of such productions. It is at once 


138 FABLES. 

a pleasing and melancholy idea that is given us by 
the intercourse with elderly persons, whose conver- 
sation is relishing and agreeable, and we cannot 
help concluding that they must have been very 
engaging in the prime of life, when in their decline 
they are still capable of yielding us so much plea- 
sure. Nor can we help feeling regret, that this 
fountain of delight is now almost dried up, and 
going to forsake us for ever. On the contrary, 
when people have neglected to cultivate their minds 
in youth, their whole deportment through life is 
marked with the effects of this great want, and 
their ol<i age is burthensome to themselves, and 
their conversation insipid to others ; and like liquor 
of a thin body, and vile quality, soon becomes sour, 
vapid, or good for nothing. 




THE Camel presented. a petition to Jupiter, com- 
plaining of the hardships of his case, in not having, 
like bulls and other creatures, horns, or any weapon 
of defence to protect himself from the attacks of his 
enemies; and praying that relief might be granted 
him in such manner as should be thought most ex- 
pedient. Jupiter could not help smiling at his 
impertinent address ; but, however, rejected the 
petition, and told him, that so far from granting 
his unreasonable request, he would take care that 
henceforward his ears should be shortened, as a 
punishment for his presumptuous importunity. 


THE nature of things is so fixed in every par- 
ticular, that they are very weak, superstitious 

140 FABLES. 

people, who think that it can be altered. But 
besides the impossibility of producing a change by 
foolish importunities, they who employ much of 
their time in that way, instead of getting, are sure 
to lose in the end. When any man is so silly and 
vexatious as to make unreasonable complaints, 
and to harbour undue repinings in his heart, his 
peevishness will lessen the real good which he 
possesses, and the sourness of his temper shorten 
that allowance of comfort which he already thinks 
too scanty. Thus, in truth, it is not Providence, 
but ourselves, \vho punish our own importunity, in 
soliciting for impossibilities, with a sharp corroding 
care, which abridges us of some part of that little 
pleasure which Heaven has cast into our lot. 

Happy the man without a wish for more, 
Who quietly enjoys his little store, 
And knows to heaven, with gratitude to pay 
Thanks for what's given, and what is ta'en away. 



A Stag, grown old and mischievous, was, ac- 
cording to custom, stamping with his' foot, making 
threatening motions with his head, and bellowing 
so terribly, that the whole herd quaked for fear of 
him ; when one of the little Eawns coming up, 
addressed him to this purpose: Pray what is the 
reason that you, who are so stout and formidable 
at all other times, if you do but hear the cry of the 
hounds, are ready to fly out of your skin for fear? 
What you observe is true, replied the Stag, though 
I know not how to account for it : I am indeed 
vigorous and able enough, I think, to defend myself 
against all attacks, and often resolve with myself, 
that nothing shall ever dismay my courage for the 
future; but, alas! I no sooner hear the voice of the 
hounds, than all my spirits fail, and I cannot help 
making off as fast as my legs can carry me. 

142 FABLES. 


Trv what we can, do what we will. 
Vet nature will be nature still. 

THE predominance of nature will generally shew 
itself through all the disguises which artful men 
endeavour to throw over it. Cowardice particularly 
gives us but the more suspicion of its existence, 
when it would conceal itself under an affected fierce- 
ness, as they who would smother an ill smell by a 
cloud of perfume, are imagined to be but the more 
offensive. When we have done all, nature will 
remain what she was, and shew herself whenever 
she is called upon : therefore, whatever we do in 
contradiction to her laws, is so forced and affected, 
that it must needs expose and make us truly ridi- 





A tall Fir, that stood towering- up in the forest, 
was so proud of his dignity and high' station, that 
he looked with disdain upon the little shrubs that 
grew beneath him. A lowly Bramble had often 
been made to feel the insults and gloomy frowns of 
his lofty neighbour, who, on the slightest rufflings 
of the winds, shook his extended arms over the 
humble shrub, and upbraided him with his con- 
temptible situation. As for me, said the Fir, I am 
the first in the forest for beauty and rank: my top 
shoots up into the clouds, and my branches display 
a perpetual verdure, whilst you lie grovelling upon 
the ground, and could not live \vere I to leave off 
sprinkling you with the drops from my extremities. 
At this the Bramble set up his prickles, and re- 
plied, that his haughtiness arose from pride and 
ignorance ; for He that made thee a lofty tree, 

144 FABLES. 

could, with equal ease, have made thee an humble 
Bramble; and high as thou art, a puff of His 
breath, in the message of a north wind, can rob 
thee of thy verdure, or lay thee low; and further, I 
pray thee tell me, when the woodman comes with 
his axe to fell timber, whether thou wouldst not 
rather be a Bramble than a Fir? 


PRIDE, which was implanted in the human breast 
for wise purposes, should carefully be directed 
aright. It was intended only to exalt the minds of 
all ranks and conditions of men, to that pitch, which 
will make them spurn at, and despise the doing of 
a mean or dishonourable action ; and it is only 
misapplied, when it puffs up those whom fortune 
has placed in high stations, or overloaded with 
riches, and tempts them to look down with derision 
on those below them. The higher a man is exalted 
in life, but especially if he have risen by dishonour- 
able means, the more unlikely it is that he will 
escape a storm, or the mischiefs to which he may 
be exposed in his public capacity, in any convulsion 
that may befal his country. When public justice 
overtakes him, and he finds the day of reckoning 
near at hand, the honest monitor* within will put 
him in mind of his true situation, and he will then 
be enabled to make a just comparison between his 
own lofty station, and that of the poor, but honest,, 




A number of Drones, who had long lived at their 
ease in a hive of Bees, without contributing by their 
labour to make any honey, at length began to dis- 
pute the right of the Bees, and insisted that both 
the honey and the combs were their property. The 
Bees, after much altercation, at last offered to leave 
the dispute to reference, and this being assented to 
by the Drones, the Wasp was chosen umpire. 
Accordingly, he began by declaring, that as both 
parties, he hoped, were his friends, and he wished 
them well, he would instantly proceed upon the in- 
vestigation. I must own, says he, that the point is 
somewhat dubious, for I have often seen you both 
in the same hive, and excepting that the Drones 
are of a more portly size and appearance, you are 


146 FABLES. 

all otherwise nearly alike in person; but as I have 
not been able to see who worked, and who did not, 
I know of no mode in which I shall be enabled to 
judg'e so correctly, as by setting" each party to work 
at the making of the honey. Therefore, addressing 
himself to the Bees, you take one hive; and you, 
speaking to the Drones, will be so good as to take 
another, and both go to work to make honey as 
fast as you can. The Bees readily accepted the 
proposal: but the Drones hung back, and would 
not agree to it. So, so! says Judge Wasp, I see 
clearly how the matter stands; and without further 
ceremony, declared in favour of the Bees. 


THE surest method of detecting ignorance and 
inability, is to put arrogant pretenders to the test, 
and appreciate their claims by a fair trial ; and 
when those who assume the merit due to works of 
ingenuity, refuse to prove their title by a display of 
their talents, we may well conclude that their pre- 
tensions are unfounded, and that they are mere 
impostors. When men, who are at the head of 
national affairs, will not be at the pains to find out 
merit (for men of that character are too modest to 
obtrude themselves; they will be surrounded by a 
swarm of idle, impudent, good-for-nothing drones ; 
and these too often succeed in obtaining those 
benefits which should be the reward of men of 
parts, integrity, and industry. 



A Frog leaping out of the lake, and taking the 
advantage of a rising ground, made a proclamation 
to all the beasts of the forest, that he was an able 
physician, and for curing all manner of distempers, 
would turn his back to no person living. This dis- 
course, with the aid of some hard cramp words, 
which nobody understood, made the beasts admire 
his learning, and give credit to every thing he said. 
At last, the Fox, who was present, with indignation 
asked him, how r he could have the impudence, with 
those thin lanthorn jaws, that meagre pale phiz, 
and blotched spotted body, to pretend to cure the 
infirmities of others ? 


A sickly and infirm look is as disadvantageous in 
a physician, as a rakish one in a clergyman, or a 

148 FABLES. 

sheepish one in a soldier. We should not set up 
for correctors of the faults of others, whilst we 
labour under the same ourselves. Good advice 
ought always to be followed, without our being 1 pre- 
judiced upon account of the person from whom it 
comes; but it is seldom that men can be brought to 
think us worth minding, when we prescribe cures 
for maladies with which we ourselves are afflicted. 
Physician heal thyself, is too scriptural, not to be 
applied upon such an occasion ; and if we would 
avoid being the jest of an audience, we must be 
sound and free from those diseases of which we 
would endeavour to cure others. How shocked 
must people have been to hear a preacher for a 
whole hour declaim against drunkenness, when his 
own weaknesses have been such that he could 
neither bear nor forbear drinking, and perhaps was 
the only person in the congregation who made the 
doctrine at that time necessary! Others, too, have 
been very zealous in censuring crimes, of which 
none were suspected more than themselves : but let 
such silly hypocrites remember, that they w r hose 
eyes want couching, are the most improper people 
in the \vorld to set up for oculists. 




A certain house being much infested with Mice, 
a Cat was at length procured, who very diligently 
hunted after them, and killed great numbers every 
night. The Mice, being exceedingly^ alarmed at 
this destruction among their family, consulted to- 
gether upon what was best to be done for their 
preservation against so terrible and cruel an enemy. 
After some debate, they came to the resolution, 
that no one should, in future, descend below the 
uppermost shelf. The Cat, observing their ex- 
treme caution, endeavoured to draw them down to 
their old haunts by stratagem, for which purpose, 
she suspended herself by her hinder legs upon a 
peg in the pantry, and hoped by this trick to lull 
their suspicions, and to entice them to venture 
within her reach. She had not long been in this 
posture, before a cunning old Mouse peeped over 

150 FABLES. 

the edge of the shelf, and squeaked out thus: Aha! 
Airs. Puss, are you there then: There may you be; 
but I would not trust myself with you, though your 
skin were stuffed with straw. 


\VK cannot be too much upon our guard against 
fraud and imposition of every kind; and prudence 
in many cases would rather .counsel us to forego 
some advantages, than endeavour to gain them at 
a risk of which we cannot certainly ascertain the 
amount. We should more particularly suspect 
some design in the professions of those who have 
once injured us ; and though they may promise 
fairly for the future, it is no breach of charity to 
doubt their sincerity, and decline their proposals, 
however plausible they may appear; for experience 
shews that many of the misfortunes which we ex- 
perience through life, are caused by our own too 
great credulity. 



Ax Oak, which hung over the bank of a river, 
was blown down by a violent storm of wind, and as 
it was carried along by the stream, some of its 
boughs brushed against a Reed which grew near 
the shore. This struck the Oak with - a thought of 
admiration, and he could not forbear asking the 
Reed how he came to stand so secure and unhurt, 
in a tempest which had been furious enough to tear 
up an Oak by the roots? Why, says the Reed, I 
secure myself by a conduct the reverse of yours : 
instead of being stubborn and stiff, and confiding* in 
my strength, I yield and bend to the blast, and let 
it go over me, knowing how vain and fruitless it 
would be to resist. 


THOUGH a tame submission to injuries which it is 
in our power to redress, be generally esteemed a 

152 FABLES. 

base and dishonourable thing, yet to resist w r here 
there is no probability, or even hope of getting the 
better, may also be looked upon as the effect of a 
blind temerity, and perhaps of a weak under- 
standing. The strokes of fortune are oftentimes 
as irresistible as they are severe, and he who with 
an impatient spirit fights against her, instead of 
alleviating, does but double the blows upon him- 
self. A person of a quiet still temper, whether it 
be given him by nature, or acquired by art, calmly 
composes himself in the midst of a storm, so as to 
elude the shock, or receive it with the least detri- 
ment, like a prudent experienced sailor, who in 
swimming to the shore from a wrecked vessel, in a 
swelling sea, does not oppose the fury of the waves, 
but stoops and gives way, that they may roll over 
his head without obstruction. The doctrine of 
absolute submission in all cases, is an absurd dog- 
matical precept, with nothing but ignorance and 
superstition to support it; but, upon particular 
occasions, and where it is impossible for us to 
overcome, to submit patiently is one of the 
most reasonable maxims of life. 



A School Boy, fatigued with play, laid himself 
down by the brink of a deep well, where he fell fast 
asleep. Fortune, whose wheel is always in motion, 
passing by, kindly gave him a tap on the head, and 
awoke him. My good boy, said she, arise and 
depart from this dangerous situation immediately; 
for if you had tumbled into this well, and been 
drowned, your friends would not have attributed 
the accident to your carelessness, but would have 
laid the whole blame upon me. 


MANKIND suffer more evils from their own im- 
prudence, than from events which it is not in their 
power to control; but they are ever ready to com- 
plain of the perverseness of chance, and the 


151. FABLES. 

capriciousness of fortune, and to impute the blame 
to her for whatever mischiefs may befal them, when 
these clearly arise from their own misconduct. 
Few men pass through life without having had 
reason at one time or another to thank Fortune for 
her favours ; and great is the number of those who 
have, through their own folly, indolence, or inatten- 
tion, neglected to profit by her kindness. Prudent 
people take every care not to put themselves in the 
power of accidents; but those who carelessly give 
up all their concerns to the guidance of blind 
chance, must not be surprised if by some of the 
revolutions of Fortune's wheel, they feel the punish- 
ment due to their negligence and folly. 

^l fD %, 




A Wolf, after devouring his prey, happened to 
have a bone stick in his throat, which gave him so 
much pain, that he went howling up and down, and 
importuning every creature he met, to lend him a 
kind hand in order to his relief; nay, he promised a 
reasonable reward to any one who should perform 
the operation with success. At last, the Crane 
undertook the business, ventured his long neck into 
the rapacious felon's throat, plucked out the bone, 
and asked for the promised reward. The Wolf, 
turning his eyes disdainfully towards him, said, I 
did not think you had been so unconscionable: I 
had your head in my mouth, and could have bit it 
off whenever I pleased, but suffered you to take it 
away without any damage, and yet you are not 
contented ! 

156 FABLES. 


Who serves a villain, might as wisely free 
The hardened murderer from the fatal tree. 

THERE are people in the Avorld to whom it may 
be wrong to do services, upon a double score : first, 
because they never deserve to have a good office 
done them; and secondly, because when once en- 
gaged, it is so hard a matter to get well rid of their 
acquaintance. We ought to consider what kind of 
people they are, to whom we are desired to do good 
offices, before we do them ; for he that grants a 
favour, or even confides in a person of no honour, 
instead of finding his account in it, comes off well, 
if he be no sufferer in the end. 




A Hart being closely pursued by the Hunters, 
concealed himself under the broad leaves of a shady 
Vine. When the Hunters were gone by, and had 
given him over for lost, he thinking himself very 
secure, began to crop and eat the leaves of his 
shelter. By this the branches being put into a 
rustling motion, drew the attention of some of the 
Hunters that way, who seeing the Vine stir, and 
fancying some wild beast had taken covert there, 
shot their arrows at a venture, and killed the Deer. 
Before he expired, he uttered his dying words to 
this purpose: "Ah!" says he, "I suffer justly for 
my ingratitude; because I could not forbear doing 
an injury to the Vine, which so kindly concealed 
me in time of danger." 

158 FABLES. 


THERE is no maxim which deserves more fre- 
quent repetition, and if the heart be capable of 
amendment by precept and admonition, no virtue 
should be more strongly enforced and recommended 
than gratitude. Where sentiments of this kind are 
wanting, our natures soon become debased, and our 
minds depraved. Ingratitude has ever been justly 
branded as the blackest of crimes, and, as it were, 
comprehending all other vices within it. Nor can 
we say that this opinion is too severe : for if a man 
be capable of injuring his benefactor, what will he 
scruple doing towards another ? We may fairly 
conclude that he who is guilty of ingratitude, will 
not hesitate at any other crime of an inferior 
nature. Since there are no human laws to punish 
this infamous prevailing vice, it would only be 
doing an act of justice, and supplying the w r ant, to 
point out criminals of this description to the repro- 
bation of mankind, that men of worth might avoid 
all intercourse and communication with them. 
The ingrate should also bear in mind, that he strips 
himself of the protection which might have been 
afforded by his friends, and exposes himself to the 
shafts of his enemies, who will not fail to take 
advantage of the defenceless state to which his 
folly and depravity have reduced him. 




A Beaver, having strayed far from his dwelling, 
(which it is well known these animals construct 
with infinite sagacity) was closely pursued by the 
hunters, and knowing that he was thus persecuted 
for the sake of the castor, which is Contained in 
two little bags placed underneath and near the tail, 
he, with great resolution and presence of mind, bit 
them off with his teeth, and leaving them behind 
him, thus escaped with his life. 


IT is in vain for individuals to contend against 
an overwhelming power, and an ineffectual resist- 
ance to violence only tends to double our sufferings. 
When life is pursued, and in danger, whoever 



values it should give up every thing but his honour 
to preserve it; and there can be no disgrace in 
yielding voluntarily to our persecutors, when we 
are certain that resistance is in vain : but this doc- 
trine can seldom be applied to the case of a whole 
nation, for when tyranny and rapine are making 
their wicked strides over a country (as has some- 
times happened even in Europe) the people would 
seldom, fail to rid themselves of their oppressors, if 
they resolved to rise as one man, and bravely op- 
pose them. 




THE Lion, having thinned the forest of great 
numbers of the beasts upon which he preyed, and 
so scared and intimidated the rest, that he found it 
very difficult to get hold of any more of them, be- 
thought himself of a new expedient to obtain more 
readily a fresh supply. He invited the Ass to assist 
him in his plan, and gave him instructions how to 
act. Go, said the Lion, and hide thyself in yonder 
thicket, and then let me hear thee bray in the most 
frightful manner thou possibly canst. The strata- 
gem took effect accordingly. The Ass brayed 
most hideously, and the timorous beasts, not know- 
ing what to think of it, began to scour off as fast as 
they could; when the Lion, who was posted at a 
proper avenue, seized and killed them as he pleased. 
Having got his belly full, he called out to the Ass, 
and bade him leave off, telling him he had done 


1 62 FABLES. 

enough. Upon this, the long-eared brute came out 
of his ambush, and approaching the Lion, asked 
him,- with an air of conceit, how he liked his per- 
formance? Prodigiously! says he, you did it so 
well, that I protest had I not known your nature 
and temper, I might have been frightened myself. 


A bragging cowardly fellow may impose upon 
people that do not know him; but is the greatest 
jest imaginable to those who do. There are many 
men who appear very terrible and big in their 
manner of expressing themselves, and if you could 
be persuaded to take their own word for it, are per- 
fect Lions; but if we take the pains to enquire a 
little into their true nature, are as arrant Asses as 
ever brayed. 



A Sow and a Bitch happening to meet, a debate 
arose between them concerning their fruitfulness. 
The Bitch insisted upon it, that she brought forth 
more at a litter, and oftener, than any other four- 
legged creature. Nay, said the Sow, you do not 
do so, for others are as prolific as you ; and besides, 
you are always in such a hurry, that you bring your 
puppies into the world blind. 


IT is no wonder that our productions should come 
into the world blind or lame, or otherwise defective, 
when by forced or unnatural methods we accelerate 
their birth, and impatiently refuse to let them 
go their full time. Then it is that the excellent 



proverb of the more haste the worse speed, is felt 
and fully verified. This Fable has been pointed at 
those authors, whose itch for scribbling has been an 
annoyance to the world, rather than of any real use 
to it; and who have been proud of, and boasted of 
the numerous but flimsy productions of their vain 
and shallow brains. It is proper to put such people 
in mind, that it is not he w r ho does the most, but he 
who does the best, that will meet the approbation 
of mankind. 




A Satyr, as he was ranging the forest in an ex- 
ceedingly cold snowy season, met with a Traveller 
half-starved with the extremity of the weather. He 
took compassion on him, and kindly invited him 
home to a warm cave he had in the hollow of a rock. 
As soon as they had entered and sat down, not- 
withstanding there was a good fire in the place, 
the chilly Traveller could not forbear blowing his 
fingers. Upon the Satyr asking him why he did 
so? he answered that he did it to warm his hands. 
The honest Sylvan having seen little of the world, 
admired a man that was master of so valuable a 
quality as that of blowing heat; and therefore re- 
solved to entertain him in the best manner he 
could. He spread the table with dried fruits of 
several sorts, and produced a remnant of old cordial 
wine, Avhich he mulled with some warm spices over 

1 66 FABLES. 

the fire, and presented to his shivering guest. But 
this the Traveller thought fit to blow upon likewise; 
and when the Satyr demanded a reason why he did 
so, he replied, to cool his dish. This second answer 
provoked the Satyr's indignation as much as the 
first had kindled his surprise; so, taking the man 
by the shoulders, he thrust him out of the place, 
saying, he would have nothing to do with a wretch 
who had so vile a quality as to blow hot and cold 
with the same breath. 


NOTHING can be more offensive to a man of a 
sincere honest heart, than he who blo\vs with dif- 
ferent breaths from the same mouth: who flatters 
a man to his face, and reviles him behind his back. 
Such double-dealing false friends ought and will 
always be considered as unworthy of being treated 
otherwise than as worthless and disagreeable per- 
sons : for unless the tenor of a man's life be always 
true and consistent with itself, the less one has to 
do with him the better. It is unfortunately too 
common with persons of this cast of character, in 
the exalted stations of life, to serve a present view, 
or perhaps only the caprice or whim of the moment, 
to blow nothing but what is warm, benevolent, and 
cherishing, to raise up the expectations of a de- 
pendent to the highest degree; and when they sus- 
pect he may prove troublesome, they then, by a 
sudden cold forbidding air, easily blast all his hopes 
and expectations : but such a temper, whether it 
proceed from a designed or natural levity, is de- 
testable, and has been the cause of much trouble 
and mortification to many a brave deserving man, 


I6 7 


A hungry Fox coming" into a vineyard where 
there hung delicious clusters of ripe Grapes, his 
mouth watered to be at them : but they were nailed 
up to a trellis so high, that with all his springing 
and leaping he could not reach a single bunch. At 
last, growing tired and disappointed, Let who will 
take them! says he, they are but green and sour; 
so I'll e'en let them alone. 


To affect to despise that which they have long 
ineffectually laboured to obtain, is the only conso- 
lation to which weak minds can have recourse, both 
to palliate their inability, and to take off the bitter- 
ness of disappointment. There is a strange pro- 
pensity in mankind to this temper, and there is a 

1 68 FABLES. 

numerous class of vain coxcombs in the world, 
who, because they would never be thought to be 
disappointed in any of their pursuits, pretend a 
dislike to every thing they cannot obtain. The 
discarded statesman, considering the corruption of 
the times, would not have any hand in the adminis- 
tration of affairs for the world ! The needy adven- 
turer, and pretended patriot, would fain persuade 
all who will listen to them, that they would not go 
cringing and creeping into a drawing-room, for the 
best place the king has in his disposal ! Worthless 
young fellows, who find that their addresses to vir- 
tue and beauty are rejected; and poor rogues, who 
laugh to scorn the rich and great, are all alike in 
saying, like sly Reynard, the Grapes are sour! 




A certain man had a Dog which was so ferocious 
and surly, that he was compelled to fasten a heavy 
clog to his collar, to keep him from running at and 
indiscriminately seizing upon every .animal that 
came in his way. This the vain Cur took for a 
badge of honourable distinction, and grew so inso- 
lent upon it, that he looked down with an air of 
scorn upon the neighbouring Dogs, and refused to 
keep them company: but a sly old poacher, who 
was one of the gang, assured him that he had no 
reason to value himself upon the favour he wore, 
since it was fixed upon him as a badge of disgrace, 
not of honour. 


THE only true way of estimating the value of 
tokens of distinction, is to reflect on what account 
VOL. iv. z 

1 7 o 


they were conferred. Those which have been 
acquired for virtuous actions, will be regarded as 
illustrious signs of dignity; but if they have been 
bestowed upon the worthless and base, as the 
reward of vice or corruption, all the stars and gar- 
ters, and collars of an illustrious order, all the 
tinsel glories in which such creatures may strut 
about in fancied superiority, will not mask them 
from the sight of men of discernment, w r ho will 
always consider the means by which their honours 
have been obtained, and truly estimate them as 
badges of abasement and disgrace. 





A Bull being pursued by a Lion, fled towards a 
cave, in which he designed to secure himself; but 
was opposed at the entrance by a Goat, who had 
got possession before him, and, threatening a kind 
of defiance with his horns, seemed resolved to 
dispute the pass. The Bull, who thought he had 
no time to lose in a contest of this nature, im- 
mediately made off; but told the Goat, that it was 
not for fear of him or his defiances : for, says he, if 
the Lion were not so near, I would soon teach you 
the difference between a Bull and a Goat. 


O'er matched, unaided, and his foes at hand, 
Safely the coward may the brave withstand ; 
But think not, dastard, thus thy glories shine 
He fears a greater force, but scoffs at thine. 

172 FABLES. 

IT is very inhuman to deny succour and comfort 
to people in tribulation ; but to insult them, and 
add to their misfortunes, is something superlatively 
brutish and cruel. There is, however, in the world; 
a sort of people of this vile temper, and littleness 
of mind, who wait for an opportunity of aggravating 
their neighbour's affliction, and defer the execution 
of their evil inclinations until they can do it with 
the severest effect. If a person suffer under an 
expensive law-suit, lest he should escape from that, 
one of these gentlemen will take care to arrest him 
in a second action, hoping, at least, to keep him at 
bay, while the more powerful adversary attacks 
him on the other side. One cannot consider this 
temper, without observing something remarkably 
cowardly in it: for these shuffling antagonists never 
begin their encounter till they are very sure the 
person they aim at is already over-matched. 




A certain fisherman having laid his nets in the 
river, and placed them across the whole stream 
from one side to the other, took a long pole, and 
fell to beating the water to make the fish strike into 
his nets. One of his neighbours seeing him do so, 
wondered what he meant, and going up to him, 
Friend, says he, what are you doing here? Do you 
think it is to be suffered that you shall stand 
splashing and dashing the water, and making it so 
muddy, that it is not fit for user Who do you 
think can live at this rate? He was going on in 
a great fury, when the other interrupted him, and 
replied, I do not much trouble myself how you 
are to live with my doing this ; but I assure you 
I cannot live without it. 

174 FABLES. 


THIS Fable is levelled at those who love to 
" fish in troubled waters," and whose execrable 
principles are such, that they care not what mis- 
chief or what confusion they occasion in the world, 
provided they can obtain their ends, or even gratify 
some little selfish appetite. Little villains would 
set fire to a town, provided they could rake some- 
thing" of value to themselves out of its ashes ; or 
kindle the flames of discord among friends and 
neighbours, purely to gratify their own malicious 
temper; and among the great ones there are those 
who, to succeed in their ambitious designs, will 
make no scruple of involving their country in 
divisions and animosities at home, and sometimes 
in war and bloodshed abroad : provided they do 
but maintain themselves in powe'r, they care not 
what havoc and desolation they bring upon the 
rest of mankind. Their only reason is, that it 
must be so, because they cannot live as they wish 
without it. But brutish unsocial sentiments like 
these, are such as a mere state of nature would 
scarcely suggest; and it is perverting the very end, 
and overturning the first principles of society, 
when, instead of contributing to the welfare of 
mankind, in return for the benefits we receive from 
them, we thrive by their misfortunes, or subsist by 
their ruin. Those, therefore, who have the happi- 
ness of mankind at heart, (for happiness and 
morality are inseparably connected) should enter 
their protest against such wicked selfish notions, 
and oppose them with all their might; at the same 
time shunning the society of their possessors as a 
plague, and consigning their characters to the 
detestation of posterity. 



THE Fox, in traversing the forest, observed a 
Boar rubbing his tusks against a tree. Why, how 
now, said the Eox, why make those martial pre- 
parations of whetting the teeth, since there is no 
enemy near that I can perceive? That may be, 
said the Boar; but you ought to know, Master 
Reynard, that we should scour up our arms while 
we have leisure: for in time of danger we shall 
have something else to do; and it is a good thing 
always to be prepared against the worst that can 


ALL business that is necessary to be done should 
be done betimes: for there is as little trouble in 
doing it in season as out of season; and he that is 

176 FABLES. 

always ready can never be taken by surprize. 
Wise, just, and vigilant governments know that 
they cannot be safe in peace, unless they are 
always prepared for war, and are ready to meet the 
worst that can happen. When they become cor- 
rupt, or supine, and off their guard, they thereby 
invite and expose their country to the sudden 
attacks of its enemies. In private life, many evils 
and calamities befal those who make no provision 
against unforeseen or untoward accidents, which 
the prudent man prevents by looking forward to 
probable contingencies, and having a reserve of 
every thing necessary before-hand, that he may 
not be put into hurry and confusion, nor thrown 
into dilemmas and difficulties, when the time comes 
that he may have to encounter them. It cannot be 
too strongly impressed upon the minds of all men, 
that day by day they are approaching towards old 
age, and that they should honourably endeavour to 
provide a store of conveniences against that time, 
when they will be most in want of them, and least 
able to procure them. To reflect properly upon 
this, will give them pleasure instead of pain; and 
they will not die a day sooner for being always 
ready for that certain event : to do otherwise is act- 
ing like weak-minded men, who delay making their 
wills, and properly settling their worldly affairs, 
because to them it looks so like the near approach 
of death. 




As Tiberius Caesar was upon a journey to Naples, 
he stopped at a house which he had upon the 
mountain Misenus. As he was walking in the 
gardens attached to the house, one of his domestic 
Slaves appeared in the walks, sprinkling the 
ground with a watering pot, in order to lay the 
dust, and this he did so officiously, and ran with so 
much alertness from one walk to another, that 
wherever the Emperor went, he still found this 
fellow mighty busy with his watering pot. But at 
last his design being discovered, which was to 
attract the notice of Caesar by his extraordinary 
diligence, in the hope that he would make him free, 
part of the ceremony of doing which consisted in 
giving the Slave a gentle stroke on one side of his 
face, his imperial Majesty being disposed to be 
merry, called the man to him, and when he 
came up, full of the joyful expectation of his liberty, 


2 A 

1 78 FABLES. 

Hark you, friend, says he, I have observed that you 
have been very busy a great while ; but you 
were officiously meddling" where you had nothing 
to do, where you might have employed your time 
better elsewhere ; and therefore I must tell you 
that I cannot afford a box on the ear at so low a 
price as you bid for it. 


PH.EDRUS tells us upon his word, that this is a 
true story, and that he wrote it for the sake of a set 
of industrious idle gentlemen at Rome, who were 
harassed and fatigued with a daily succession of 
care and trouble, because they had nothing to do. 
Always in a hurry, but without business ; busy, but 
to no purpose : labouring under a voluntary neces- 
sity, and taking abundance of pains to shew they 
were good for nothing. But what great town or 
city is so entirely free of this sect, as to render the 
moral of this Fable useless any where? For it 
points at all those officious good-natured people, 
who are eternally running up and down to serve 
their friends, without doing them any good; who, 
by a complaisance wrong judged or ill applied, 
displease, whilst they endeavour to oblige, and are 
never doing less to the purpose than when they are 
most employed. In a word, this Fable is designed 
for the reformation of all those who endeavour to 
gain for themselves benefits and applause, from a 
misapplied industry. It is not our being busy and 
officious that w r ill procure us the esteem of men of 
sense; but the application of our actions to some 
noble useful purpose, and for the general good of 




A Frog, one day peeping out of the lake, and 
looking about him, saw two Bulls fighting at some 
distance off in the meadow, and calling to his 
associates, Look, says he, what dreadful work is 
yonder: Dear sirs, what will become of us? Tush, 
said one of his companions, do not frighten yourself 
so about nothing; how can their quarrels affect us? 
They are of a different kind, and are at present 
only contending which shall be master of the herd. 
That is true, replies the first, their quality and 
station in life are different from ours; but as one of 
them will certainly prove conqueror, he that is 
worsted, being- beaten out of the meadow, will take 
refuge here in the marshes, and possibly tread some 
of us to death : so you see we are more nearly con- 
cerned in this dispute of theirs, than you were at 
first aware. 

l8o FABLES. 


A wise man, however low his condition in life, 
looks forward through the proper and natural 
course and connection of causes and effects ; and in 
so doing, he fortifies his mind against the worst 
that can befal him. It is of no small importance to 
the honest and quiet part of mankind, who desire 
nothing so much as to see peace and virtue 
flourish, to consider well the consequences that 
may arise to them out of the quarrels and feuds of 
the great, and to endeavour, by every means in 
their power, to avoid being in any way drawn in 
by their influence to become a party concerned in 
their broils and disputes: for no matter in which 
w r ay the strife between the high contending parties 
may terminate, those who may have had the mis- 
fortune to be concerned with them, ought to think 
themselves well off if they do not smart for it 
.severely in the end. How often has it happened, 
that men in eminent stations, who want to engross 
all power into their own hands, begin, under the 
mask of patriotism, to foment divisions and form 
factions, and excite animosities between well- 
meaning, but undiscerning people, without whose 
aid in one way or another they could not succeed ; 
but who, at. the same time, little think that the 
great aim of their leaders is nothing more than the 
advancement of their own private interest, or 
ambitious ends. The good of the public is always 
pretended upon such occasions, and may some- 
times happen to be tacked to their own ; but then 
it is purely accidental, and never was originally 




Ax Old Hound, who had excelled in his time, 
and given his master great satisfaction in many a 
chase, at last, through age, became feeble and 
unserviceable. However, being in the field one 
day, when the Stag was almost run down, he 
happened to be the first that came in with him, and 
seized him by the haunch; but his decayed and 
broken teeth not being able to keep their hold, the 
Deer escaped; upon which, his Master fell into a 
great passion, and began to whip him severely. 
The honest old creature is said to have barked out 
this apology: Ah! do not thus strike your poor old 
servant: it is not my heart and inclination, but my 
strength and speed, that fail me. If what I now 
am displease you, pray do not forget what I have 

1 82 FABLES. 


O let not those, whom honest servants bless. 
With cruel hands their age infirm oppress; 
Forget their service past, their former truth, 
And all the cares and labours of their youth. 

THIS P^able is intended to reprove the ingratitude 
too common among mankind, which leaves the 
faithful servant to want and wretchedness, after he 
has spent the prime of his life in our service fora 
bare subsistence. Where shivery is allowed, the 
laws compel the master to provide for the worn-out 
slave; and where there is no law to enforce the 
debt of gratitude, none but those who are insensible 
to all the finer feelings of humanity w r ill neglect it. 
Those who forget past services, and treat their 
faithful servants or friends unkindly or injuriously, 
when they are no longer of use to them, however 
high their pride, are unworthy of the name of gen- 
tleman. They are, indeed, commonly of an upstart 
breed, with whom the failure of human nature 
itself is imputed as a crime; and servants and de- 
pendents, instead of being considered their fellow- 
men, are treated like brutes for not being more than 
men. The imprudence of this conduct is equal to 
its wickedness, inasmuch as it directly tends to 
extinguish the honest desire to please and to act 
faithfully, in the younger servants, when they 
see that worn-out merit thus goes unrewarded. 
Humanity and gratitude are the greatest orna- 
ments of the human mind, and when they are 
extinguished, every generous and noble sentiment 
perishes along with them. 




A Bitch, who was just ready to whelp, intreated 
another to lend her her kennel only till her month 
was up, and assured her that then she should have 
it again. The other very readily consented, and 
with a great deal of civility, resigned it to her im- 
mediately. However, when the time was elapsed, 
she came and made her a visit, and very modestly 
intimated, that now she was up and well, she hoped 
she should see her abroad again ; for that, really, it 
would be inconvenient for her to be without her 
kennel any longer, and therefore, she told her, she 
must be so free as to desire her to provide herself 
with other lodgings as soon as she could. The 
lying-in Bitch replied, that truly she was ashamed 
of having kept her so long out of her own house ; 
but it was not upon her own account (for indeed she 
was well enough to go any where) so much as that 

184 FABLES. 

of her puppies, who were yet so weak, that she was 
afraid they would not be able to follow her; and, if 
she would be so good as to let her stay a fortnight 
longer, she would take it as the greatest obligation 
in the world. The other Bitch was so good-natured 
and compassionate as to comply w r ith this request 
also; but at the expiration of the term, came and 
told her positively that she must turn out, for she 
could not possibly let her be there a day longer. 
Must turn out, says the other ; we will see to that : 
for I promise you, unless you can beat me and my 
whole litter of whelps, you are never likely to have 
any thing more to do here. 


WISE and good-natured men do not shut their 
ears, nor harden their hearts, against the calls of 
humanity, and the cries of distress; but how often 
are their generous natures imposed upon by the 
artifices of the base and worthless ! These fail not 
to lay their plans with deep cunning, to work them- 
selves into the good graces of the benevolent, and 
having accomplished their ends, the return they 
often make is abusive language, or the most open 
acts of violence. One of the evil and lamentable 
consequences arising out of this, is, that worth in 
distress suffers by it : for distrust and suspicion take 
hold of the minds of men, and the hand of charity 
is thus benumbed. This Fable may also serve to 
caution us never to let any thing of value go out of 
our possession without good security. The man 
who means to act prudently, ought never to put 
himself in the power of others, or to run any risk of 
involving his own family in ruin. 



A Eox having crept into an out-house, looked up 
and down, seeking what he might devour, and at 
last spied a Hen perched up so high, that he could 
by no means come at her. My dear friend, says he, 
how do you do? I heard that you were ill, and 
kept within ; at which I was so concerned, that I 
could not rest till I came to see you. Pray how is 
it with you now: Let me feel your pulse a little; 
indeed you do not look well at all. He was run- 
ning on after this fulsome manner, when the Hen 
answered him from the roost, Truly, friend Reynard, 
you are judging rightly, for I never was in more 
pain in my life : I must beg your pardon for being 
so free as to tell you that I see no company; and 
you must excuse me too for not coming down to 
you, for, to say the truth, my condition is such, that 
I fear I should catch my death by it. 

VOL. IV. 2 B 

1 86 FABLES. 


IT is generally the design of hypocritical persons 
to delude and impose upon others, with an eye to 
derive some benefit to themselves, when they pre- 
tend to feel a flattering anxiety for their welfare; 
or sometimes they may perhaps, with impertinent 
folly, mean no more than merely to mock and be- 
fool men who are weak enough to become their 
dupes. In both cases they are enemies to truth 
and sincerity, which adorn and tend so greatly to 
promote the happiness of society, and they ought 
to be exposed as such. For although men of pene- 
tration see through the pretence, and escape its 
dangers, yet the weak, the vain, and the unsus- 
picious are put off their guard, and have not dis- 
cernment enough to shun the trap so pleasingly 
baited. The Fable also furnishes a hint against 
hypocritical legacy hunters, whose regard is gener- 
ally of the same nature as that of the Fox for the 



I8 7 


Ax Ass, while feeding" upon the coarse herbage 
by the edge of a wood, found a Lion's skin, and 
putting" it on, went in this disguise into the adjoin- 
ing forests and pastures, and threw all the flocks 
and herds into the greatest consternation and dis- 
may. At length, his master, who was in search of 
him, made his appearance, and the silly beast, en- 
tertaining the idea of frightening him also, capered 
forward with a terrific gait towards him; but the 
good man seeing his long ears stick out, presently 
knew him, and with a stout cudgel made him 
sensible, that notwithstanding his being dressed 
in a Lion's skin, he was really no more than an 

1 88 FABLES. 


As all affectation is wrong", and tends to expose 
and make a man ridiculous, so the more distant he 
is from the thing which he affects to appear, the 
stronger will be the ridicule which he excites, and 
the greater the inconvenience into which he there- 
by runs himself. How strangely absurd it is for a 
timorous person to procure a military post, in order 
to keep himself out of danger ! and to fancy a red 
coat the surest protection for cowardice ! Yet there 
have been those who have purchased a commission 
to avoid being insulted ; and have been so silly as 
to think courage was interwoven with a sash, or 
tied up in a cockade. But it would not be amiss 
for such gentlemen to consider that it is not in the 
power of scarlet cloth to alter nature, and that as it 
is expected a soldier should shew himself a man of 
courage and intrepidity upon all proper occasions, 
they may by this means meet the disgrace they in- 
tended to avoid, and appear greater Asses than 
they needed to have done. However, it is not in 
point of fortitude only that people are liable to ex- 
pose themselves, by assuming a character to which 
they are not equal; but he who puts on a shew of 
learning, of religion, of a superior capacity in any 
respect, or in short, of any virtue or knowledge, to 
which he has no proper claim, is, and will always 
be found to be, an Ass in a Lion's skin. 




As a clownish Fellow was sitting musing upon a 
bank, a Gnat alighted upon his leg and bit it. He 
slapped his hand upon the place, with the intention 
of crushing the assailant; but the little nimble in- 
sect escaped between his fingers, and repeated its 
attacks. livery time he struck at it, he gave him- 
self a smart blow upon the leg, but missed his aim. 
At this he became enraged, and in the height of 
his peevish and impatient humour, he earnestly 
prayed to Hercules, beseeching him with his mighty 
power to stretch forth his arm against a pernicious 
insect, by which he was so miserably tormented. 


HE who suffers his mind to be ruffled by every 
little inconvenience, subjects himself to perpetual 

i go 


uneasiness and disquiet. There is no accident, 
however trivial, but is capable of disconcerting him, 
and he becomes absurdly miserable on the most 
foolish occasion. His good humour is soured in an 
instant, and he is rendered uncomfortable to him- 
self, and odious or ridiculous to all about him. He 
prays with earnestness to the Supreme Being to aid 
him in all his paltry selfish schemes, or to gratify 
vanities, for which, as a rational being, he ought to 
blush and be ashamed. The imaginary distresses, 
which his unfortunate disposition heightens into 
severe calamities, are matter of diversion to those 
who are disposed to sneer at him; and when his 
pettish humour makes him rave like a madman, 
and curse his fate, at the dropping of a hat, or the 
blunder of a servant, even his friends must view 
his behaviour with a mixed emotion of pity and 




ONE hot sultry day, a Wolf and a Lamb hap- 
pened to come just at the same time, to quench 
their thirst in the stream of a brook that fell 
tumbling down the side of a rocky mountain. The 
Wolf stood upon the higher ground, and the Lamb 
at some distance below him. However, the Wolf, 
having a mind to pick a quarrel with the Lamb, 
asked him what he meant by disturbing the water, 
and making it so muddy that he could not drink? 
and, at the same time, demanded satisfaction. The 
Lamb, frightened at this threatening charge, told 
him, in a tone as mild as possible, that with humble 
submission, he could not conceive how that could 
be, since the water which he drank ran down from 
the Wolf to him, and therefore could not be dis- 
turbed so far up the stream. Be that as it may, 


replies the Wolf, you are a rascal, and I have been 
told that you used ill language concerning me 
behind my back, about half a year ago. Upon my 
word, says the Lamb, the time you mention was 
before I was born. The Wolf, finding it to no pur- 
pose to argue any longer against truth, fell into a 
great passion, snarling and foaming at the mouth 
as if he had been mad; and drawing near to the 
Lamb, Sirrah, says he, if it were not you, it was 
your father, and that is the same. So he seized the 
poor innocent helpless thing, tore it to pieces, and 
made a meal of it. 


Where'er oppression rules, fell Wolves devour; 

And the worst crimes are want of strength and pow'r. 

THEY who do not feel the sentiments of humanity, 
will seldom listen to the voice of reason ; and when 
cruelty and injustice are armed with power, and 
determined on oppression, the strongest pleas of 
innocence are preferred in vain, and nothing is 
more easy than finding pretences to criminate the 
unsuspecting victims of tyranny. How many of 
the degenerate, corrupt, and arbitrary governments 
with which the civilized world has been disfigured, 
have exercised their vengeance upon the honest 
and virtuous, who have dared in bad times to 
speak the truth; and how many men in private life 
are to be met with, whose wolfish dispositions, and 
envious and rapacious tempers cannot bear to see 
honest industry rear its head ! 




THE Mice called a general council, and after the 
doors were locked, entered into a free consultation 
about ways and means how to render themselves 
more secure from the danger of the Cat. Many 
schemes were proposed, and much debate took 
place upon the matter. At last, a young Mouse, 
in a fine florid speech, broached an expedient, 
which he contended was the only one to put them 
entirely out of the power of the enemy, and this 
was, that the Cat should wear a bell about her 
neck, which, upon the least motion, would give the 
alarm, and be a signal for them to retire into their 
holes. This speech was received with great ap- 
plause, and it was even proposed by some, that 
the Mouse who had made it should have the thanks 
of the assembly. Upon which, an old Mouse, who 
had sat silent hitherto, gravely observed, that the 

VOL. IV. 2 C 

194 FABLES. 

contrivance was admirable, and the author of it, 
without doubt, very ingenious; but he thought it 
would not be so proper to vote him thanks, till he 
should further inform them how the bell was to be 
fastened about the Cat's neck, and who would 
undertake the task. 


IT is easy for visionary projectors to devise 
schemes, and to descant on their utility, which, 
after all, are found to be so impracticable, or so 
difficult, that no man of solid judgement can be 
prevailed upon to attempt putting them into 
execution. In all matters where the good of the 
community is at stake, new projects should be 
carefully examined in all their bearings, that the 
ruinous consequences which might follow them 
may be avoided. All business of this import ought 
to be left to the decision of such men only as are 
distinguished for their good sense, probity, honour, 
and patriotism. When these have examined them 
in all their different bearings, we may place con- 
fidence in their labours, and adopt their plans ; but 
the Fable teaches us not to listen to those rash and 
ignorant politicians, who are always foisting their 
schemes upon the public upon every occurrence of 
mal-administration, without looking beneath the 
surface, or considering whether they be practicable 
or otherwise. 




Ox the death of the old Lion, without his leaving 
an heir, the beasts assembled to choose another 
King of the forest in his stead. The crown was 
tried on many a head, but did not sit easy upon 
any one. At length the Ape putting it upon his 
own, declared that it fitted him quite well, and 
after shewing them many antic tricks, he with a 
great deal of grimace, and an affected air of wis- 
dom, offered himself to fill the high office. The 
silly creatures being pleased with him at the mo- 
ment, instantly, by a great majority, proclaimed 
him King. The Eox, quite vexed to see his fellow- 
subjects act so foolishly, resolved to convince them 
of their sorry choice, and knowing of a trap ready 
baited at no great distance, he addressed himself to 
King Ape, and told him that he had discovered a 

196 FABLES. 

treasure, which being found on the waste, belonged 
to his Majesty. The Ape presently went to take 
possession of the prize; but no sooner had he laid 
his paws upon the bait, than he was caught fast in 
the trap. In this situation, between shame and 
anger, he chattered out many bitter reproaches 
against the Fox, calling him rebel and traitor, and 
threatening revenge : to all which Reynard gravely 
replied, that this was nothing but a beginning of 
what he would meet with in the high station his 
vanity had prompted him to aspire to, as it was 
only one of the many traps that would be laid for 
him, and in which he would be caught; but he 
hoped this one might be a treasure to him, if it 
operated as a caution, and served to put him in 
mind of the false estimate he had put upon his 
abilities, in supposing, that with his inexperienced 
empty pate, he could manage the weighty affairs of 
state. He then, with a laugh, left him to be re- 
lieved from his peril by one or other of his foolish 
loving subjects. 


WHEN Apes are in power, Foxes will never be 
wanting to play upon them. Men shew their folly, 
rashness, and want of consideration, when they 
elect rulers without the qualifications of integrity 
and abilities to recommend them to the office; and 
the higher it is, the more important it is to the in- 
terests of the community that it should be properly 
filled. The Fable also shews the weakness of those 
who, through self-conceit, aspire to any high sta- 
tion without the requisites to befit them for it, and 
the want of which exposes authority to scorn. 




A poor feeble old Man, who had crawled from his 
cottage into a neighbouring wood to gather a few 
sticks, had made up his bundle, and laying it over 
his shoulders, was trudging homewards; but what 
with age, and the length of the way, he grew so 
faint and weak, that he sunk under it, and as he sat 
upon the ground, called upon Death to come once 
for all and ease him of his troubles. Death no 
sooner heard him, than he came and demanded 
what he wanted? The poor old Creature, who little 
thought Death was so near, frightened almost out 
of his senses with his terrible aspect, answered him 
trembling, That having by chance let his bundle of 
sticks fall, and being too infirm to get it up himself, 
he had made bold to call upon him to help him; 
and he hoped his worship was not offended with 


him for the liberty he had taken in craving his 


THIS Fable gives us a lively representation of the 
general behaviour of mankind towards that grim 
king of terrors, Death. Such liberties do they take 
with him behind his back, that upon every little 
accident which happens in their way, Death is im- 
mediately called upon, and they even wish it might 
be lawful for them to finish with their own hands a 
life so odious, so perpetually tormenting, and vexa- 
tious. When, let but Death make his appearance, 
and the very sense of his near approach almost 
does the business: then it is that they change their 
minds, and would be glad to come off so well as to 
have their old burthen laid upon their shoulders 
again. But wise and good men know that care 
and numberless disappointments must be their por- 
tion in their passage through life, and know also 
that it is their duty to endure them with patience; 
for he is the best and happiest man who neither 
wishes nor fears the approach of Death. 




ONE hot sultry summer, the lakes and ponds 
being almost every where dried up, a couple of 
Frogs agreed to travel together in search of water. 
At last they came to a deep well, and sitting upon 
the brink of it, began to consult whether they 
should leap in or not. One of them was for it, 
urging that there was plenty of clear spring water, 
and no danger of being disturbed. Well, says the 
other, all this may be true, and yet I cannot come 
into your opinion for my life; for if the water 
should happen to dry there too, how should we get 
out again f 


In human affairs, many stations we meet, 
Where 'tis easy to enter, but hard to retreat. 



WE ought never to change our situation in life, 
nor undertake any action of importance, without 
first duly and deliberately weighing the conse- 
quences that may follow, in all their different 
bearings. It is commonly owing to the neglect of 
such wholesome precautions, that numbers of 
young people are led into unfortunate matches, 
suddenly made up; and others are from the same 
causes led into a round of profuse living, or into 
gaming and other extravagant conduct, which is 
sure to terminate in ruin. To look before we leap, 
is a maxim worthy of being remembered by all 
ranks and conditions of men, from the lowest to the 
highest: even kings may reap benefit by it; for 
when they inconsiderately execute those schemes 
which their wicked counsellors advise, they have 
often abundant reason to repent. By this blind 
stupidity, wars are commenced, from which a state 
cannot be extricated either with honour or safety; 
and unwise projects are encouraged by the rash 
accession of those who never considered the conse- 
quences, or how they were to get out, till they had 
plunged themselves irrecoverably into them. 




A Fox scrambling hastily over a hedge, in his 
flight from the hounds, got his foot severely torn by 
a Briar. Smarting with the pain, he burst into re- 
vilings and complaints at this treatment, which he 
declared he little expected to meet with for only 
passing over a hedge; and he could not help think- 
ing it was very bad usage to be thus grappled by 
the long arms, and cut and wounded by the sharp 
crooked spines of a Briar. True, says the Briar f 
but recollect that you intended to have made me 
serve your turn, and would, without ceremony, have 
trampled me down to the ground : but none of your 
freedoms with me, Master Reynard; you may make 
a convenience of others, perhaps, but the family of 
the Briars are not of that cast. Whoever presumes 
to use any impudent familiarities with them, is sure 
to smart for it. 


2 D 

202 FABLES. 


PRESUMING and arrogant people do not hesitate 
to make a convenience, or a kind of stepping stone, 
of any one who will suffer them to do so ; and if 
they can only get their turn served, no matter how, 
they use no ceremony, nor shew any delicacy in 
accomplishing their ends. But the selfish and im- 
pudent gentry, who are so apt to take liberties of 
this kind, now and then mistake their men, and are 
justly retorted upon; and however upon these occa- 
sions they may be surprized and angry, others, who 
are indifferent spectators, instead of viewing them 
as objects of pity, feel a secret satisfaction in seeing 
them suffer, as proper examples of justice. 




A Man having caught a Weasel in his pantry, 
was just going to kill it, when the little captive 
begged that he would not do so cruel a deed, but 
spare his life; and he assured the Man that he was 
his friend, and only entered his pantry with a view 
of destroying the mice with which it was infested. 
That may be, said the Man, but you do not do this 
with the intention of serving me, nor with any 
other view but that of serving yourself; and be- 
sides, you are so ferocious and cruel a little crea- 
ture, that you kill every animal you have within 
your power, without the least compunction, and 
seem to delight in killing for killing's sake; there- 
fore, your pretensions to serve me, and your plea 
for mercy, are good for nothing. 

204 FABLES. 


MANY people in the world are ever ready to set 
up the pretensions of their acting with zeal, purely 
to serve the public, and pretend that it is through 
the warmth of their friendship that they do the 
same to individuals; but the main spring of all 
the actions of the agents of treachery, and of bad 
men, is set a-going with the view only of serving 
themselves. It is thus that the unprincipled and 
mercenary thief-taker would like well to be ac- 
counted a public spirited man ; and he cannot help 
boasting of his services as such. The hangman's 
pretensions are of the same kind : but however 
useful and necessary some of such a description of 
men may be, to keep down the wicked part of man- 
kind, who are a nuisance to civilized society, yet 
the instruments themselves are very like in charac- 
ter to the Weasel in the Fable. The same may be 
said of those factious writers, who pester the world 
with their clamorous charges, under the mask of 
patriotism, but whose real motive is either to gain 
money by the sale of their highly seasoned scan- 
dals, or to run down their corrupt opponents in 
order to obtain their places. 


20 5 


AN Ass happening to meet with a Boar, and 
being in a frolicsome humour, and having a mind 
to shew some of his silly wit, began in a sneering 
familiar style to accost the Boar with, So ho, 
brother, your humble servant, how is all at home 
with you? The Boar, nettled at his familiarity, 
muttered out, Brother, indeed! then bristled up 
towards him, told him he was surprized at his 
impudence, and was just going to shew his resent- 
ment by giving him a rip in the flank : but wisely 
stifling his passion, he contented himself with only 
saying, Go, thou sorry beast! I could be easily and 
amply revenged upon thee; but I don't care to foul 
my tusks with the blood of so base a creature ! 




IT is no uncommon thing to meet with impudent 
fools, so very eager of being thought wits, that they 
will run great hazards in attempting to shew them- 
selves such, and will often persist in their awkward 
raillery to the last degree of offence. But these 
kind of folks, instead of raising themselves into 
esteem, are held in contempt by men of sense; and 
though the generous and the brave may scorn to 
suffer themselves to be ruffled by the insolent beha- 
viour of every ass that offends them, yet such 
sparks must not from thence conclude, that they 
will not meet with retorts in kind from men far 
superior to themselves in mental endowments; or 
that their unseasoned wit will always escape a more 
proper, but a different chastisement. 




THE Dog sued the Sheep for a debt, of which the 
Kite and the Wolf were to be the judges. They, 
without debating long upon the matter, or making 
any scruple for want of evidence, gave sentence for 
the plaintiff, who immediately tore the poor Sheep 
in pieces, and divided the spoil with the unjust 


OF the many evils which throw back the well- 
being of society, none raise in the honest mind 
more painful and indignant feelings, than behold- 
ing the judgment seat of mercy and justice filled 
by an unjust, corrupt, and wicked judge, who has 
become, step by step, hardened in his impious 
enormities, and is the fully-prepared tool and sup- 

208 FABLES. 

porter of tyranny and arbitrary power. Fraud and 
oppression follow in his train: the righteous laws 
of a just government are frittered away, or super- 
seded: truth and innocence are obnoxious ; honesty 
is sneered at, and it becomes criminal to espouse 
the cause of virtue. In this state of things, wicked- 
ness predominates, and its rapacious abettors give 
full scope to the exercise of all kind of oppression 
and injustice, to gratify their own vicious lusts. 
Then it is that mankind are made to feel the evils 
of power being in the hands of the worst of their 
species, who, without hesitation, rob them of their 
property, and divide the spoils. If there be not a 
sufficiency of the most spirited and virtuous 
patriotism to rescue the country from their fangs, 
then is despotism and degradation near at hand. 




A Herdsman missing a young heifer, went up 
and down the forest to seek it ; and having walked 
over a great deal of ground to no purpose, he fell a 
praying to Jupiter for relief, promising to sacrifice 
a kid to him, if he would help him to a discovery of 
the thief. After this he went on a little further, 
and came near a grove of oaks, where he espied the 
carcase of his heifer, and a Lion growling over it, 
and feeding upon it. This sight almost scared him 
out of his wits; so down he fell upon his knees 
once more, and addressing himself to Jupiter, O 
Jupiter, says he, I promised thee a kid to shew me 
the thief: but now I promise thee a bull, if thou 
wilt be so merciful as to deliver me out of his 


2 E 

210 FABLES. 


WE ought never to supplicate the divine power, 
but through motives of religion and virtue. Prayers 
dictated by blind self-interest, or to gratify some 
misguided passion, cannot, it is presumed, be ac- 
ceptable to the Deity: and of all the involuntary 
sins which men commit, scarcely any are more 
frequent than their praying absurdly and impro- 
perly, as well as unseasonably, when their time 
might have been employed to a better purpose. 
Would men, as they ought to do, obey the com- 
mands, of Omnipotence, by fulfilling their moral 
duties, and endeavour with all their might to live 
as justly as they can, a just Providence would give 
them what they ought to have; but stupidity and 
ignorance, until better informed, and divested of 
superstition and bigotry, will continue to form 
their notions of the Supreme Being from their own 
poor shallow conceptions; and nothing contributes 
more to keep up this injudicious practice among 
simple, but perhaps well-meaning people, than the 
numerous collections of those crude rhapsodies, 
the offspring of itinerant bigotry, with which the 
country overflows; while most of those prayers 
are neglected which have been composed with due 
reflection and matured deliberation, by the most 
learned and pious of men. This Fable also teaches 
us, that frequently the gratification of our vain 
prayers w r ould only lead us into dangers and evils, 
of the existence of which we had no previous sus- 


21 I 


A Lion, that in the prime of his life had been 
very rapacious and cruel, was reduced by age and 
infirmities to extreme feebleness. Several of the 
beasts of the forest, who had been great sufferers 
by him, now came and revenged themselves upon 
him. The Boar ripped him with his tusks, the Bull 
gored him with his horns, and others in various 
ways had each a stroke at him. When the Ass 
saw that they might do all this without any dan- 
ger, he also came and threw his heels in the Lion's 
face. Upon which, the poor expiring tyrant is said 
to have groaned out these words : Alas ! how griev- 
ous is it to suffer insults, even from the brave and 
valiant; but to be spurned at by so base a creature 
as this, is worse than dying ten thousand deaths ! 

212 CABLES. 


WHEN men in power lose sight of justice and 
mercy, and cruelly and unjustly tyrannise over the 
people under their sway, they never will gain sin- 
cere reverence or respect from the rest of mankind. 
The injuries they inflict in the hey-day of their 
wicked career, will be remembered with detestation 
through life; and when age and impotence lay hold 
of them, they must not expect to meet with friends 
they never deserved ; but may be certain of being 
treated with neglect and contempt, and the baser 
their enemies are, the more insolent and intolerable 
will be tbe affront. It will then be discovered, 
with bitter remorse, that the days have passed 
away, in which virtue and dignity ought to have 
laid the foundation of a reputation which would 
have been the solace of old age, and also, extended 
a good name to posterity with feelings of venera- 
tion; instead of which the remembrance of past 
crimes will haunt the guilty mind, and the unjust 
man will at last be thrown into the grave with the 
common dust, amidst the whispers of "Let him 
go;" and he will be no more remembered than the 
animals on which he feasted, or the herbage which 
was cut down when he was a child. 




A Magpie sat chattering upon the back of a 
Sheep, and pulling off the wool to line her nest. 
Peace, you noisy thing, says the Sheep : if I were a 
dog, you durst not serve me so. That is true 
enough, replies the Magpie, I know very well 
whom I have to deal with : I never meddle with the 
surly and revengeful; but I love to plague such 
poor helpless creatures as you are, who cannot do 
me any harm. 


IT is the characteristic of a mean, low, base 
spirit, to be insolent or tyrannical to those who are 
obliged to submit to it, and slavishly submissive to 
those who have the spirit and the power to resist. 
Men of this stamp take especial care not to meddle 

2I 4 


with people of their own malicious principles, for 
fear of meeting with a suitable return ; but they de- 
light in doing mischief for mischief's sake, and 
seem pleased when they can insult the innocent 
with impunity. This kind of behaviour is incon- 
sistent with all the rules of honour and generosity, 
and is opposite to every thing that is great, good, 
amiable, and praise-worthy. 



THE Eox invited the Stork to dinner, and, being* 
disposed to divert himself at the expense of his 
guest, provided nothing for the entertainment but 
soup, which he served up in a wide shallow dish. 
This the Fox could lap up with a great deal of 
ease; but the Stork, who could but just dip in the 
point of his bill, was not a bit the better for his 
entertainment. However, a few days after, he re- 
turned the compliment, and invited the Fox; but 
suffered nothing to be brought to table excepting 
some minced meat in a glass jar, the neck of which 
was so deep, and so narrow, that, though the Stork 
with his long bill made a shift to fill his belly, all 
that the Fox, who was very hungry, could do, was 
to lick the brims as the Stork slabbered them with 
his eating. Reynard was heartily vexed at first; 

2l6 FABLES. 

but when he came to take his leave, owned ingenu- 
ously, that he had been used as he deserved; and 
that he had no reason to take any treatment ill, of 
which himself had set the example. 


IT is very imprudent, as well as uncivil, to affront 
any one, and we should always reflect, before we 
rally another, whether we can bear to have the jest 
retorted. Whoever takes the liberty to exercise his 
witty talent in that way, must not be surprised if 
he meet reprisals in the end. Indeed, if all those 
who are thus paid in their own coin, would take it 
with the same frankness that the Fox did, the mat- 
ter would not be much; but we are too apt, when 
the jest comes to be turned home upon ourselves, 
to think that insufferable in another which we look- 
ed upon as pretty and facetious when the humour 
was our own. The rule of doing as we would be 
done by, so proper to be our model in every trans- 
action of life, may more particularly be of use in 
this respect. People seldom or never receive any 
advantage by these little ludicrous impositions ; 
and yet, if they were to ask themselves the ques- 
tion, would find, that they would receive the same 
treatment from another with a very bad grace. 




A Villager found a Snake under a hedge, almost 
dead with cold. Having compassion on the poor 
creature, he brought it home, and laid it upon the 
hearth near the fire, where it had not lain long be- 
fore it revived with the heat, and began to erect 
itself, and fly at the wife and children of its pre- 
server, filling the whole cottage with its frightful 
hissings. The Countryman hearing an outcry, 
came in, and perceiving how the matter stood, took 
up a mattock, and soon dispatched the ingrate, 
upbraiding him at the same time in these words: 
Is this, vile wretch, the reward you make to him 
that saved your life? Die, as you deserve; but a 
single death is too good for you. 

VOL. IV. 2 F 

2l8 FABLES. 


THERE are some minds so depraved, and entirely 
abandoned to wickedness, so dead to all virtuous 
feelings, that the tenderness and humanity of 
others, though exerted in their own favour, not only 
fail to make a proper impression of gratitude upon 
them, but are not able to restrain them from repay- 
ing benevolence with injuries. Moralists, in all 
ages, have incessantly declaimed against the enor- 
mity of this crime, concluding that they who are 
capable of injuring their benefactors, are not fit to 
live in a community; being such as the natural ties 
of parent, friend, or country are too weak to re- 
strain within the bounds of society. Indeed, the 
sin of ingratitude is so detestable, that none but 
the basest tempers can be guilty of it. Men of low 
grovelling minds, who have been rescued from in- 
digence by the hand of benevolence, or of charity, 
forget their benefactors, as well as their original 
wretchedness ; and as soon as prosperity flows 
upon them, it too often serves only to rekindle their 
native rancour and venom, and they hiss and 
brandish their tongues against those who are so 
inadvertent or unfortunate as to have served them. 
But prudent people nee^i not to be admonished on 
this subject; for they know how much it behoves 
them to beware of taking a snake into their bosom. 




A Cock, perched upon a lofty tree, crowed so 
loud, that his voice echoed through the wood, and 
drew to the place a Eox, who was prowling in 
quest of prey. But Reynard finding the Cock was 
inaccessible, had recourse to stratagem to decoy 
him down. Approaching the tree, Cousin, says he, 
I am heartily glad to see you ; but I cannot forbear 
expressing my uneasiness at the inconvenience of 
the place, which will not let me pay my respects to 
you in a better manner, though I suppose you will 
come down presently, and that difficulty will be 
removed. Indeed, cousin, says the Cock, to tell 
you the truth, I do not think it safe to venture upon 
the ground; for, though I am convinced how much 
you are my friend, yet I may have the misfortune 
to fall into the clutches of some other beast, and 

220 FABLES. 

what will become of me then r O dear, says Rey- 
nard, is it possible you do not know of the peace 
that has been so lately proclaimed between all 
kinds of birds and beasts ; and that we are for the 
future to forbear hostilities, and to live in harmony, 
under the severest penalties. All this while the 
Cock seemed to give little attention to what was 
said, but stretched out his neck as if he saw some- 
thing at a distance. Cousin, says the Fox, what is 
that you look at so earnestly? Why, says the 
Cock, I think I see a pack of hounds yonder, a 
good way off. O then, says the Fox, your humble 
servant, I must be gone. Nay, pray cousin do not 
go, says the Cock, I am just coming down; sure 
you are not afraid of the dogs in these peaceable 
times. No, no, says he; but ten to one whether 
they have yet heard of the proclamation! 


THE moral of this Fable principally instructs us 
not to be too credulous in believing the insinuations 
of those who are already distinguished by their 
want of faith and honesty, for perfidious people 
ought ever to be suspected in the reports that 
favour their own interest. When, therefore, any 
such would draw us into a compliance with their 
destructive measures, by a pretended civility, or 
plausible relation, we should consider such pro- 
posals as a bait, artfully placed to conceal some 
fatal hook, which is intended to draw us into dan- 
ger; and if by any simple counterplot we can 
unmask the design and defeat the schemes of the 
wicked, it will not only be innocent, but praise- 




A Hare vainly boasting" of her great speed in 
running, and casting a look of disdain upon a Tor- 
toise, that was slowly moving along, What a poor 
crawling thing are you! said she: I can go over a 
territory of country with the velocity of the wind, 
while you are an hour in accomplishing a journey 
of half a furlong. In a race I could leave you 
twenty miles behind me, in the time you were 
about reaching the end of one. I don't know that, 
said the Tortoise, and will give you a trial. Upon 
this, a match was made to run a certain distance, 
and the Eox, who had heard the dispute, was 
chosen umpire of the race. They then started 
together, and away went the Hare with great swift- 
ness, and soon left the Tortoise out of sight, and 
thinking herself certain of winning the race, she 
made a jest of the matter, squatted down in a tuft 

222 FABLES. 

of fern, and took a nap, concluding she could easily 
make up the lost ground, should the Tortoise at 
any time pass by. Indulging in this security, she 
over-slept herself, until the Tortoise, in a continued 
steady pace, arrived first at the fixed distance, and 
won the race 


WE must not flatter ourselves with coming to the 
end of our journey in time, if we sleep by the way; 
and unnecessary delays, in all pressing affairs, are 
just so much time lost. Action is an important 
part of the business of life; and " up and be doing" 
is a motto we ought to keep in mind, as it has 
guided many a plain plodding man, with steady 
aim, to carry his point effectually in making his 
own fortune, and at the same time gaining the 
esteem of the world. Industry and application to 
business make amends for the w^ant of a quick 
and ready wit ; but men of great natural abilities, 
and vivacity of imagination, often presume too 
much upon the superiority of their genius, and if to 
this presumption they add pride and conceit, they 
despise the drudgery of business, and suffer their 
affairs to go to disorder or ruin, through idleness 
and neglect. 




A Man having bought a Blackamoor, was so 
simple as to think that the colour of his skin was 
only dirt which he had contracted for want of due 
care under his former master. This fault he fancied 
might easily be removed by washing^so he ordered 
the poor Black to be put into a tub, and was at a 
considerable charge in providing ashes, soap, and 
scrubbing brushes for the operation. To work 
they went, rubbing and scouring his skin all over, 
but to no manner of purpose: for when they had 
repeated their washings several times, and were 
grown quite weary, all they got by it was, that the 
Blackamoor caught cold and died. 


What's bred in the bone will never come out of 
the flesh." 

224 FABLES. 

NATURE cannot by any art or labour be changed; 
she may indeed be wrought upon and moulded 
by good council and discipline; but it is in vain 
to attempt a total transformation of our genius, 
person, or complexion : therefore our application, 
assiduity, and pains, when wrong directed, are of 
no avail. We should, indeed, strive to discover 
w r hich way the bent of our genius lies, that we may 
apply ourselves to a judicious cultivation and im- 
provement of it; but we ought to be sure never to 
thwart or oppose nature's fixed laws. When men 
aspire to eminence in any of the various arts or 
sciences, without being gifted with the innate 
powers or abilities for such attainments, it is only 
like attempting to wash the Blackamoor white. 




THE Lion by chance saw a fair Maid, the 
forester's daughter, as she was tripping over a 
lawn, and fell in love with her. Nay, so violent 
was his passion, that he could not live unless he 
made her his own; therefore, without more delay, 
he broke his mind to the father, and demanded the 
damsel for his wife. The man, odd as the proposal 
seemed at first, soon recollected that, by complying, 
he might get the Lion into his power; but, by 
refusing him, should only exasperate and provoke 
his rage. Accordingly, he seemed to consent; but 
told him it must be upon these conditions: that, 
considering the girl was young and tender, he 
must let his teeth be plucked out, and his claws be 
cut off, lest he should hurt her, or at least frighten 
her with the apprehension of them. The Lion was 
too much in love to hesitate; but was no sooner 

VOL. IV. 2 G 

226 FABLES. 

deprived of his teeth and claws, than the treacher- 
ous forester attacked him with a huge club, and 
knocked out his brains. 


OF all the ill consequences that may attend the 
blind passion of love, few prove so fatal as that of 
its drawing people into a sudden and ill-concerted 
marriage. In the midst of a fit of madness, they 
commit a rash act, of which, as soon as they come 
to themselves, they find reason to repent as long as 
they live. Many an unthinking young man has 
been treated as much like a savage, in this respect, 
as the Lion in the Fable. He has, perhaps, had 
nothing valuable belonging to him but his estate, 
and the documents which formed his title to it; 
and if he is so far captivated, as to be persuaded to 
part with these, his teeth and his claws are gone, 
and he lies entirely at the mercy of madam and her 
relations, who will most likely not fail to keep him 
in complete subjection, after they have stripped 
him of all his power. Nothing but a true friend- 
ship, and a mutual interest, can keep up a recip- 
rocal love between the conjugal pair, and when 
these are wanting, contempt and aversion soon step 
in to supply their place. Matrimony then becomes 
a state of downright enmity and hostility; and 
what a miserable case he must be in, who has put 
himself and his whole power into the hands of his 
enemy. Let those reflect upon this (while they are 
in their sober senses) who abhor the thoughts of 
being betrayed into their ruin, by following the 
impulse of a blind unheeding passion. 


22 7 


A Eox, in swimming across a river, was forced 
down by the rapidity of the stream to a place where 
the bank was so steep and slippery, jthat he could 
not ascend it. While he was struggling in this 
situation, a swarm of flies settled on his head and 
eyes, and tormented him grievously. A Hedgehog, 
who saw and pitied his condition, offered to call in 
the assistance of the Swallow to drive them away. 
No, no, friend, replies the Fox, I thank you for 
your kind offer; but it is better to let this swarm 
alone, for they are already pretty well filled, and 
should they be driven away, a fresh and more 
hungry set would succeed them, and suck me until 
I should not have a drop of blood left in my 

228 FABLES. 


THIS Fable is recorded by Aristotle, who tells us 
that ^Esop spoke it to the Samians on occasion of 
a popular sedition, to dissuade them from deposing 
their great minister of state, lest they might, in 
getting rid of one who was already glutted with 
their spoils, make room for a more hungry and 
rapacious one in his stead. By this it would ap- 
pear, that some ministers of state in ancient times, 
instead of being guided by integrity and patriotism, 
were intent only upon filling their own coffers, and 
aggrandizing and enriching their own relations, 
from the plunder of the people whose aifairs they 
were entrusted with ; and that they considered them 
as their prey, rather than their charge. A succes- 
sion of such ministers, who can be countenanced 
by weak monarchs only, is more calamitous to a 
nation than plague, pestilence, and famine; for the 
effects of their mal-administration do not end with 
their wicked lives, but lay the foundation of ruin to 
nations that would, under a patriotic government, 
have been virtuous, great, and flourishing. 




A Hare being" seized by an Eagle, squeaked out 
in a most woful manner. A Sparrow, that sat 
upon a tree just by, and saw the affair, could not 
forbear being unseasonably witty, but called out to 
the Hare: So ho! what, sit there and be killed! 
prithee up and away; I dare say if you would but 
try, so swift a creature as you are would easily 
escape from an Eagle. As he was going on with 
his cruel raillery, down came a Hawk and snapped 
him up, and notwithstanding his cries and lamenta- 
tions, fell to devouring him in an instant. The 
Hare, who was just expiring, addressing her last 
words to the Sparrow, said, You who just now in- 
sulted my misfortune, with so much security as you 
thought, may please to she\v us how well you can 
bear the like, now it has befallen you. 




To insult people in distress, is the characteristic 
of a cruel, indiscreet, and giddy temper; and he 
must surely have a very bad heart, and no very 
good head, who can look on the day of grief, and 
the hour of distress, as a time for impertinent rail- 
lery. If any other arguments were necessary, or 
might be supposed capable of enforcing moral pre- 
cepts on those who cannot be actuated by humanity, 
it might be added, that the vicissitudes of human 
affairs render such behaviour imprudent, as well as 
barbarous; since we cannot tell how soon we may 
be ourselves reduced to lament the woes which are 
now the objects of our derision: for nobody knows 
whose turn may be the next. 




A Man, in times when polygamy was allowed, 
had two wives, one of whom, like himself, had seen 
her best days, and was verging upon the decline of 
life, but possessed many engaging qualities. The 
other was young and beautiful, and shared the 
affection of her husband, whom she made as happy 
as he was capable of being, but was not completely 
so herself. The white hairs mixed with the black 
upon the good man's head, gave her some uneasi- 
ness, by proclaiming the great disparity of their 
years ; wherefore, under colour of dressing his head, 
she plucked out .the silver hairs, that he might still 
have as few visible signs of an advanced age as 
possible. The older dame, for reasons directly 
opposite, esteemed these grey locks as the honours 
of his head, and thought, while they gave him a 
venerable look, they made her appear something 

232 FABLES. 

younger, so that every time she combed his head, 
she took equal pains to extirpate the black hairs. 
Each continued her project, unknown to the other, 
until the poor man, who thought their desire to 
oblige him put them upon this extraordinary 
officiousness in dressing his head, found himself 
without any hair at all ! 


As Christianity has banished polygamy, no im- 
mediate moral can be derived by husbands from 
this Fable, unless we conclude, that it is as impos- 
sible to serve two mistresses as two masters; for 
whatever we do to please the one, will probably 
offend the other. To conciliate the affections of 
persons w T hose tempers are opposite, is extremely 
difficult, if not impracticable. To wives it may 
teach, that those whose love is tempered with a 
tolerable share of good sense, will be sure to have 
no separate views of their own, nor do any thing 
immediately relating to their husbands, without 
consulting them first. All that we shall add to 
what has been said, is to observe, that many 
women may ignorantly, out of a pure effect of com- 
plaisance, do a thousand disagreeable things to 
their husbands. But in a married state, one party 
should not be guessing at or presuming, but inform 
themselves certainly, what will please the other; 
and if the wife use her husband like a friend only, 
the least she can do is first to communicate to him 
all the important enterprizes she undertakes, and 
especially those which she intends should be for his 
honour and advantage. 




MERCURY being very desirous to know what 
credit he had obtained in the world, and how he 
was esteemed among mankind, disguised himself, 
and went to the shop of a famous Statuary, where 
images were to be sold. He saw Jupiter, Juno, 
and himself, and most of the other gods and god- 
desses: so, pretending that he wanted to buy, he 
asked the prices of several, and at length pointing 
to Jupiter, What, says he, is the lowest price you 
will take for that? A crown, says the other; and 
what for that r pointing to Juno : I must have 
something more for that. Mercury then, casting 
his eye upon the figure of himself, with all his sym- 
bols about it, Here am I, said he to himself, in 
quality of Jupiter's messenger, and the patron of 
artisans, with all my trades about me; and then 
smiling with a self-sufficient air, and pointing to 


2 H 

234 FABLES. 

the image, and pray friend, what is the price of this 
elegant figure? Oh, replied the Statuary, if you 
will buy Jupiter and Juno, I Avill throw you that 
into the bargain. 


IF we knew ourselves, of what could any of us be 
vain? Vanity is the fruit of ignorance, and the 
froth of perverted pride. Humility is the constant 
attendant on men of great talents and good quali- 
ties: these enable them to see how far they are 
short of perfection ; but the vain and arrogant con- 
ceive they have attained its height. All vain men* 
who affect popularity, fancy other people have the 
same opinion of them that they have of themselves : 
but nothing makes them look so cheap and little in 
the eyes of discerning people as their enquiring 
flike Mercury in the Fable) after their own worth, 
and wanting to know r what value others set upon 
them : and those who are so full of themselves, as 
to hunt for praise, and lay traps for commendation, 
will generally be disappointed, and be marked out 
as the emptiest of fellow T s ; for it argues a littleness 
of mind to be too anxious and solicitous concerning 
our fame. He that behaves himself as he should 
do, need not fear procuring a good share of respect, 
and a fair reputation ; but then these should not be 
the end or the motive of our pursuits : our principal 
aim should be the welfare of our country, our 
friends, and ourselves, and it should be directed by 
the rules of honour and virtue. 




A Fox. having tumbled, by chance, into a well, 
had been ineffectually endeavouring a long while 
to get out again, when, at last, a Goat came to 
the place, and wanting to drink, asked Reynard 
whether the water was good: (rood! said he, aye, 
so sweet, that I am afraid I have surfeited myself, I 
have drank so abundantly. The Goat, upon this, 
without more consideration, leapt in ; when the 
Fox mounted upon his back, and taking the advan- 
tage of his horns, bounded up in an instant, and 
left the poor simple Goat at the bottom of the well 
to shift for himself. Upon the Goat's reproaching 
him for his perfidy, Ah, Master Goat, said he, you 
have far more hairs in your beard than brains in 
your head. 




CREDULITY may be said to be the child of ignor- 
ance, and the mother of distress. A wise man will 
not suffer himself to be imposed upon by slender 
artifices and idle tales; but the credulous man is 
easily deluded, and subjects himself to numberless 
misfortunes. He is ever the dupe of designing 
knaves, and of needy adventurers, who are always 
intent upon serving themselves at the expense of 
others. They fasten upon opulent men of weak 
minds, as the objects of delusion, and for this 
purpose, tempt them with proposals of apparently 
advantageous schemes, which they have ready 
made out, to entice their victims to embark along 
with them. By credulity, they hope to establish 
their own fortune, and provided this be done, they 
care not, even if the ruin of their unsuspecting 
associates follow. It will likewise ever be found 
that when an honest man and a knave happen to 
become partners in the same common interest, the 
latter, whenever necessity pinches, will be sure to 
shift for himself, and leave the former in the lurch. 




THE Peacock complained to Juno, how hardly he 
was used in not having so good a voice as the 
Nightingale. That little bird, says he, charms 
every ear with his melody, while my hoarse scream- 
ings disgust every one who hears them. The 
goddess, concerned at the uneasiness of her favour- 
ite bird, answered him very kindly to this purpose: 
If the Nightingale be blest with a fine voice, you 
have the advantage in point of beauty and majesty 
of person. Ah! said the Peacock, but what avails 
my silent unmeaning beauty, when I am so far ex- 
celled in voice? The goddess dismissed him with 
this advice: Consider that the properties of every 
creature were appointed by the decree of fate; to 
you beauty; strength to the Eagle; to the Nightin- 
gale a voice of melody; the faculty of speech to the 

238 FABLES. 

Parrot; and to the Dove innocence. Each of these 
is contented with his own peculiar quality; and 
unless you have a mind to be miserable, you must 
learn to be so too. 


THE most useful lesson that we can possibly 
learn, towards the attainment of happiness in this 
world, is to enjoy those blessing's that we have in 
our power, without vainly pining 1 after those which 
we have not. Instead of being ambitious of having 
more endowments than nature has allotted to us, 
we should spare no pains to cultivate those we 
have; and which a sourness or peevishness of tem- 
per, instead of improving, will certainly lessen and 
impair. Whoever neglects the happiness within 
his reach, in order to brood over the consideration 
of how much happier he might have been, had his 
situation been like that of others, ingeniously ccn- 
trives to torment himself, and opens a perpetual 
source of discontent, which prevents his ever being, 
at ease. He does not reflect, or he would soon 
discover, that all the desirable properties in the 
world never centered in one man, and that those 
who have had the greatest share of them, if of an 
unhappy disposition, still wished for something 
more, and wanted to possess some inherent gifts 
w r hich shone forth in other men: but such persons 
ought to be put in mind, that it does not become 
mortals to repine at the will of Heaven, which dis- 
tributes happiness w r ith an equal hand upon the 
highest and the lowest of mankind, if they \vere 
wise enough, and grateful enough, to perceive it. 




THE Lion having entered into an alliance with 
other Beasts of prey, it was agreed, for their mutual 
advantage, that they should hunt in company, and 
divide the spoil. They accordingly met on a cer- 
tain day, and commenced the chase, and ere long 
they ran down and killed a fine fat Deer, which 
was instantly divided into four parts, there happen- 
ing to be then only the Lion and three others 
present. After the division was made, the Lion 
advancing forward Avith an air of majesty, and 
pointing to one of the shares, was pleased to de- 
clare himself after the following manner: This I take 
possession of as my right, which devolves to me, as 
I am descended by a true, lineal, hereditary succes- 
sion from the royal family of Lion : that, pointing 
to the second, I claim by, I think, no unreasonable 

240 FABLES. 

title, considering that the success of all the engage- 
ments you have with the enemy depends chiefly 
upon my courage and conduct; and you very well 
know that wars are too expensive to be carried on 
without large supplies. Then, nodding his head 
towards the third, that I shall take by virtue of my 
prerogative, to which I make no question but so 
dutiful and loyal a people will pay all the deference 
and regard that I can desire. Now, as for the 
remaining part, the necessity of our present affairs 
is so very urgent, our stock so lo\v, and our credit 
so impaired and weakened, that I must insist upon 
your granting that without hesitation or demur; 
and hereof fail not at your peril. 


No alliance is safe which is made with the wick- 
ed, if they be superior to us in power. The most 
solemn treaties will be disregarded as soon as they 
can be broken with advantage. Powerful poten- 
tates, when they are regardless of moral obligation,, 
and consider might only to be right, will never 
want specious pretences to furnish out their decla- 
rations of war, nor hesitate about inveigling less 
powerful states to join them, and after subduing 
the enemy, and seizing upon the spoils, will fall 
upon their allies on the slightest pretences, or for 
no better reason but because they are powerful 
enough to do so. No man ought to be entrusted 
with unlimited power; and when a community has 
been stupid enough to put the management of their 
affairs into such hands, they have ever found their 
confidence abused, and their property invaded. 


2 4 I 


ONCE upon a time, the Heathen Gods agreed to 
adopt each a particular tree into their patronage. 
Jupiter chose the Oak ; Venus was pleased to 
name the Myrtle ; Apollo pitched upon the Laurel ; 
Cybele took the Pine, and Hercules the Poplar. 
Pallas being present, expressed her surprise at 
their fancy, in making choice of trees that bore 
nothing. Oh, says Jupiter, the reason of that is 
plain enough, for we would not be thought to dis- 
pense our favours with any mercenary view. You 
may do as you please, says she, but let the Olive be 
my tree ; and I declare my reason for choosing it is, 
because it bears plenty of noble useful fruit. Upon 
which the Thunderer, putting on a serious com- 
posed gravity, spoke thus to the goddess: Indeed 
daughter, it is not without cause that you are so 


2 I 

242 FABLES. 

celebrated for your wisdom ; for unless some benefit 
attend our actions, to perform them for the sake of 
glory is but a silly business. 


Ix all our actions, we should intend something* 
useful and beneficial; for the standing value of all 
things is in proportion to their use. To undertake 
affairs with no other view but that of empty glory, 
whatever some curious dreamers may fancy, is em- 
ploying our time after a very foolish manner. The 
Almighty created the world out of his infinite good- 
ness, for the good of his creatures, and not out of a 
passion for glory, which is a vain, silly, mean prin- 
ciple ; and when we talk of glorifying the Author 
of our being, if we think reasonably, we must mean 
shewing our gratitude to him, by imitating this 
goodness of his, as far as we are able, and endeav- 
ouring to make some good or other the aim of all 
our undertakings. For if empty glory be unworthy 
the pursuit of a wise man, how vastly improper 
must it be to make an offering of it to an allwise 




A Viper having entered a smith's shop, looked 
up and down for something to eat; when, casting 
his eye upon a File, he greedily seized upon it, and 
fell to gnawing it with his teeth. After he had 
spent some time in his attempts to devour it, the 
File told him very gruffly, that he had better be 
quiet and let him alone; for he would get very 
little by nibbling at one who, upon occasion, could 
bite iron and steel. 


THIS Fable is levelled at those spiteful people 
who take so malignant a pleasure in the design of 
hurting others, as not to feel and understand tiial 
they hurt only themselves; and at those who are 
blinded by envy, which prompts them rather than 
not bite at all, to fall foul where they cannot expect 

244 FABLES. 

their nibbling will meet with any thing but dis- 
appointment, as every one must who is biting at 
that which is too hard for his teeth. Thus it is 
that spite and malignity, which are twin brothers, 
and the offspring of envy, are, as well as their 
parent, their own tormentors. They intend that 
the wounds they inflict should be deadly, and the 
greatest \vits and brightest reputations in all ages 
have been the objects of their attacks; but the 
brilliancy of truth and justice at length shines forth > 
and shews the deformity of such characters in the 
clearest light. Other people, of the same character 
and disposition, though of minor consideration in- 
deed, ought not to be passed over unnoticed. 
These may be called nibblers, who let their tongues 
slip very freely, in censuring the actions of persons 
who, in the esteem of the world, are of such an 
unquestionable reputation, that nobody will believe 
what is insinuated against them, and of such in- 
fluence through their own veracity, that the least 
word from them would ruin the credit of such ad- 
versaries, to all intents and purposes. The eiforts 
of little villains of this stamp, like dirty liquor 
squirted against the wind, recoil back and bespatter 
their own faces; or like the shades of a picture, 
serve to set off the brilliant tints of the opposite 
virtues, which support and adorn society. 



A Wolf disguising himself in the skin of a Sheep, 
and getting in among the flock, easily caught and 
devoured many of them. At last the Shepherd 
discovered him, and cunningly watched the oppor- 
tunity of slipping a noose about his neck, and 
immediately hung him up on the branch of a tree. 
Some other Shepherds observing what he was 
about, drew near and expressed their surprise at it. 
Brother Shepherd! says one of them, what! are 
you hanging your Sheep: No, replies the other, 
but I am hanging a Wolf in Sheep's clothing, and 
shall never fail to do the same, whenever I can 
catch one of them in that garb. The Shepherds 
then expressed themselves pleased at his dexterity, 
and applauded the justice of the execution. 

246 FABLES. 


WK ought not to judge of men by their looks, or 
their dress and appearances, but by the character 
of their lives and conversation, and by their works; 
for when we do not examine these, we must not be 
surprised if we find that we have mistaken evil for 
good, and instead of an innocent Sheep, taken a 
Wolf in disguise under our protection. The finished 
hypocrite, by assuming the character of virtue, 
makes the vice more odious and abominable; and 
when the mask is torn off, and fraud and imposture 
are detected, every honest man rejoices in the 
punishment of the offender. Men who have not 
had good, religious, and moral principles early 
instilled into their minds, find no barrier to check 
their propensity to evil, and get hardened as they 
advance in years; and even the most liberal educa- 
tion, if it want the foundation of truth and honesty, 
is often a curse instead of a blessing, and the 
objects of it fail to do honour either to themselves 
or to their country. Thus it is we see tyranny stalk- 
ing along under the mask of care and protection. 
Injustice sets up the letter of the law against its 
.spirit. Oppression strips the widow and the 
orphan, and at the same time preaches up mercy 
and compassion. Treachery covers itself under a 
cloak of kindness; and above all, it is peculiarly 
painful to find numbers of men, even of the learned 
professions, who ought to set an example of probity 
and honour, misapply their abilities to t\vist and 
pervert the sacred meaning of both law and gospel 
to the basest and worst of purposes. 


- 7 47 


A Stag, pursued by the hunters, took refuge in a 
stable, and begged of the Oxen to suffer him to 
conceal himself under the straw in one of the stalls. 
They told him that he would be in great danger 
there, for both the master and the servants would 
soon come to fodder them, and then he might be 
s ure of meeting his doom. Ah! says the Stag, if 
you will be so good as not betray me, I hope I shall 
be safe enough. Presently, in came a servant, who 
gave a careless look around, and then went out 
without any discovery. All the other servants of 
the farm came and went like the first. Upon this, 
the Stag began to exult, imagining himself quite 
secure; but a shrewd old Ox told him that he was 
reckoning upon his safety too soon, for there was 
another person to come, by whom he would not so 
readily be looked over. Accordingly, by and by 
came the master, who carefully peeped into every 

248 FABLES. 

corner, and at last, in turning over the litter, dis- 
covered the Stag's horns sticking out of the straw: 
upon which, he called all his servants back, and 
soon made a prize of the poor creature. 


THIS Fable is levelled against those worthless 
hirelings, who slide over their time in negligent 
disorder, and this not so much for want of capacity 
as honesty; their own private interest almost solely 
occupying their attention, while that of their mas- 
ter, whose wages they receive, and whose bread they 
eat, is postponed, or entirely neglected. Such ser- 
vants deserve not to be inmates in any good man's 
house; but where they are, it is absolutely neces- 
sary for the governors of families to look into their 
affairs with their own eyes; for though they may 
happen not to be in personal danger from the 
treachery of their domestics, they are perpetually 
liable to injuries from their negligence, which 
leaves the master open to the artifices of those who 
would defraud him. Few families are reduced to 
poverty merely by their own extravagance: the in- 
attention of servants swells every article of expense 
in domestic economy ; and the retinue of great men, 
instead of exerting their industry to increase their 
master's wealth, commonly exercise no other office 
than that of caterpillars, to consume and devour it. 
The fate of the Stag also warns us not to engage in 
any hazardous speculation, the success of which i s 
to depend upon the ignorance or carelessness of 
those with whom we have to deal; for though we 
may over-reach one or two, yet some master-eye is 
sure at last to pierce our covering of straw, and 
make us pay dearly for deviating from the straight 
road of honour and honesty. 




A Fowler took his gun, and went into the woods 
to shoot. He spied a Ring-dove -among the 
branches of an Oak, and clapping the piece to his 
shoulder, took his aim, and made himself sure of 
killing it. But just as he was going to pull the 
trigger, an Adder, which he had trod upon un- 
der the grass, bit him so painfully in the leg, that 
he was obliged to quit his design, and throw his 
gun down in an agony. The venom immediately 
infected his blood, and his whole body began to 
mortify; which, when he perceived, he could not 
help owning it to be just. Fate, says he, has 
brought destruction upon me, while I was contriv- 
ing the death of another. 

VOL. IV. 2 K 




THE mischief that bad men meditate to others, 
commonly, like a judgement, falls upon their own 
heads; and the punishment of wickedness is so just 
in itself, that the sufferer, who has made others feel 
it, cannot, if he think rightly, but confess that he 
deserves the like inflicted on himself. The har- 
dened unfeeling heart of a cruel and unjust man, 
can, however, continue to do a thousand bitter 
things to others, until he tastes calamity himself, 
and then only it is that he feels the insupportable 
uneasiness it occasions. Why should we think 
others born to hard treatment more than ourselves, 
or imagine it can be reasonable to do to another 
what we should think very hard to suffer in our 
own persons r 




The Hares in a certain park having met to con- 
sult upon some plan to preserve themselves from 
their numerous enemies, all agreed that life was 
full of care and misery, and that they saw no 
prospect of things changing for the better. Full of 
these desponding thoughts, and just as it had been 
proposed that they should put an end to their exist- 
ence, a storm arose, which tore the branches from 
the trees, and whirled the leaves about their ears. 
Panic-struck, they ran like mad creatures, until 
they were stopped by a lake, into which they has- 
tily resolved to throw themselves headlong, rather 
than lead a life so full of dangers and crosses ; but 
upon their approaching its margin, a number of 
Frogs, which were sitting there, frightened at their 
sudden approach, in the greatest confusion leapt 
into the water, and dived to the bottom; which an 

252 FABLES. 

old Hare, more sedate than the rest, observing, 
called out, Have a care what ye do! Here are 
other creatures I perceive, which have their fears 
as well as we. Don't then let us fancy ourselves 
the most miserable of any upon earth; but rather, 
by their example, learn to bear patiently those in- 
conveniences which nature has thrown upon us. 


THIS Fable is designed to shew us how unreason- 
able many people are, who live in continual fears 
and disquiet about the miserableness of their con- 
dition. There is hardly any state of life great 
enough to satisfy the wishes of an ambitious man ; 
and scarcely any so mean, but may supply the 
necessities of him that is moderate. There are few 
beings so very wretched, that they cannot pick out 
others in a more deplorable situation, and with 
whom they would not change cases. The rich man 
envies the poor man's health, without considering 
his wants; and the poor man envies the other's 
treasure, without considering his diseases. The 
miseries of others should serve to add vigour to our 
minds, and teach us to bear up against the load of 
lighter misfortunes. But what shall we say to 
those who have a way of creating themselves 
panics from the rustling of the wind, the scratching 
of a rat or a mouse behind the hangings, the flutter- 
ing of a moth, or the motion of their own shadow 
by moon-light! Their whole life is as full of alarms 
as that of a Hare, and they never think themselves 
so easy as when, like the timorous folks in the 
Fable, they meet with a set of creatures as fearful 
as themselves. 



THE Mountains were said to be in labour, and 
uttered the most dreadful groans. People came 
together, far and near, to see what birth would be 
produced; and after they had waited a considerable 
time in expectation, out crept a Mouse! 


PROJECTORS of all kinds, who endeavour by art- 
ful rumours, large promises, and vast preparations, 
to raise the expectations of mankind, and then by 
their mean performances disappoint them, have, 
time out of mind, been lashed with the recital of 
this Fable. It should teach us to suspect those 
who promise very largely, and to examine cau- 

254 FABLES. 

tiously what grounds they proceed upon, and 
whether their pretensions are not intended to 
render us their tools, or the dupes of their artifices. 
It likewise teaches us not to rely implicitly upon 
those constant declarations for liberty and the pub- 
lic good, which artful politicians use as stepping- 
stones to power ; but who having raised the 
people's expectations to the highest pitch, and 
obtained their desire by the public enthusiasm, 
then turn their whole art and cunning to em- 
bezzling the public treasure for their own private 
wicked ends, or to ruin and enslave their country; 
or at best but imitate the bad conduct of those whom 
they turned out by their clamour, while the san- 
guine hopes of all those that wished well to virtue, 
and flattered themselves with a reformation of 
every thing that opposed the well-being of the 
community, vanish away in smoke, and are lost 
in a gloomy uncomfortable prospect. The Fable 
likewise intimates, that the uncertain issue of all 
human undertakings should induce us not to make 
pompous boasts of ourselves, but to guard against 
promising any thing exceedingly great, for fear of 
coming off with a production ridiculously little. If 
we set out modestly, and perform more than we 
engaged to do, we shall find our fame grow upon 
us, and every unexpected addition we make to our 
plan will raise us more and more in the good 
opinion of the world; but if, on the contrary, we 
make ample professions of the greatness of our 
designs, and the excellence of our own abilities, 
it will too often happen, that instead of swelling 
our reputation, we shall only blow the trumpet to 
our shame. 



A certain Jack-Daw was so proud and ambitious, 
that, not contented to live within his own sphere, 
he picked up the feathers which fell from the Pea- 
cocks, stuck them in among his own, and very 
confidently introduced himself into an assembly of 
those beautiful birds. They soon found him out, 
stripped him of his borrowed plumes, and falling 
upon him with their sharp bills, punished him as 
his presumption deserved. Upon this, full of grief 
and affliction, he returned to his old companions, 
and would have lived with them again ; but they, 
knowing his late life and conversation, industri- 
ously avoided him, and refused to admit him into 
their company; and one of them, at the same time, 
gave him this serious reproof: If, friend, you could 
have been contented with our station, and had 

256 FABLES. 

pot disdained the rank in which nature had placed 
you, you had not been used so scurvily by those 
upon whom you intruded yourself, nor suffered the 
notorious slight which now we think ourselves 
obliged to put upon you. 


To aim at making a figure by the means of either 
borrowed wit, or borrowed money, generally sub- 
jects us at last to a ten-fold ridicule. A wise man, 
therefore, will take his post quietly, in his own 
station, without pretending to fill that of another, 
and never affect to look bigger than he really is, 
by means of a false or borrowed light. It shews 
great weakness and vanity in any man to be 
pleased at making an appearance above what he 
really is; but if to enable him to do so with some- 
thing of a better grace, he has clandestinely 
feathered his nest out of his neighbour's goods, it 
is a pity if he should not be found out, stripped of 
his plunder, and treated like a felonious rogue into 
the bargain. 




A Lion having laid down to take his repose 
under the spreading boughs of a shady tree, a 
company of Mice scampered over his back and 
waked him. Upon which, starting up, he clapped 
his paw upon one of them, and was just going to 
put it to death, when the little suppliant implored 
his mercy, begging him not to stain his noble 
character with the blood of so small and insig- 
nificant a creature- The Lion, touched with com- 
passion, instantly released his little trembling 
captive. Not long after, traversing the forest in 
search of his prey, he chanced to run into the toils 
of the hunters, and not being able to disengage 
himself, he set up a loud roar. The Mouse hearing 
the voice, and knowing it to be the Lion's, imme- 
diately repaired to the place, and bade him fear 


2 L 

258 FABLES. 

nothing, for that he was his friend. Instantly he 
fell to work, and with his little sharp teeth gnawed 
asunder the knots and fastenings of the toils, and 
set the royal brute at liberty. 


THEY who generously shower benefits on their 
fellow-creatures, seldom fail of inspiring the great 
bulk of them with a benevolent regard for their 
benefactors, and often receive returns of kindness 
which they never expected. Mercy is of all other 
virtues the most likely to kindle gratitude in those 
to whom it is extended, and it is difficult to find an 
instance of a conqueror who ever had occasion to 
repent of his humanity and clemency. The Fable 
gives us to understand, that there is no person in 
the world so little, but even the greatest may, at 
some time or other, stand in need of his assistance; 
and consequently it is good to shew favour, when 
there is room for it, towards those who fall into our 
power. As the lowest people in life may, upon 
occasion, be able either to serve or hurt us, it is as 
much our interest as our duty to behave with good- 
nature and lenity towards all with whom we have 
any intercourse. A great soul is never so much 
delighted as when an opportunity offers of making 
a return for favours received; and a sensible man, 
however exalted his station, will never consider 
himself secure from the necessity of accepting a 
service from the poorest. 




A Tortoise, weary of his condition, by which he 
was confined to creep upon the ground, and am- 
bitious to look around him with a larger prospect, 
proclaimed that if any bird would take him up into 
the air, and shew him the world, he would reward 
him with the discovery of a-n invaluable treasure, 
which he knew was hidden in a certain place of the 
earth. The Eagle accepted the offer, and having 
performed his undertaking, gently set the Tortoise 
again on the ground, and demanded the reward. 
The Tortoise was obliged to confess that he could 
not fulfil his promise, which he had made only 
with the view of having his fancy gratified. The 
Eagle, stung with resentment at being thus duped, 
grasped him again in his talons, and then soaring 
to a great height, let him fall, by which he was 
dashed to pieces. 

2 bo FABLES. 


MEN of honour are careful not to tarnish their 
reputations by falsifying their word, and always 
consider well how far it may be in their power to 
fulfil their promises before they make them. They 
always strive to walk on the straight line of recti- 
tude; and should they, in an unguarded moment, 
happen to stagger from it, they instantly retrace 
their steps, and feel unhappy until they have re- 
gained their station. There is a simplicity in truth 
and virtue, which requires no artifices, and never 
leads us into difficulties, but points out the plain 
and safe way. Deceit and cunning, on the con- 
trary, involve those who practise them in a maze, 
and they are bewildered in their own falsehoods, 
from which no dexterity can extricate them. The 
brain-racking schemes which villains practise to 
delude others, are commonly detected, and end in 
the unpitied punishment of themselves; for they 
seldom discover the folly of being wicked, until it 
has betrayed them into their ruin. But such per- 
sons would do well to refresh their memories with 
the old adage which says, that " all knaves are 
fools, but all fools are not knaves." 




A Polecat, that had long committed depredations 
on the farm-yard, having a mind to make a meal of 
the blood of the Cock, seized him one morning by 
surprise, and asked him what he could say for him- 
self why slaughter should not pass upon him ? The 
Cock replied, that he was serviceable to mankind 
by crowing in the morning, and calling them up to 
their daily labour. That is true, says the Polecat, 
and is the very objection that I have against you, 
for you make such a shrill impertinent noise, that 
people cannot sleep for you. Besides, you arc an 
incestuous rascal, and make no scruple of lying 
with your mother and sisters. Well, says the 
Cock, this I do not deny; but I do it to procure 
eggs and chickens for my master. Ah ! villain, 
says the Polecat, hold your wicked tongue, such 

262 FABLES. 

impieties as these declare that you are no longer 
fit to live. 


WHEN a wicked man in power has a mind to 
glut his appetite in any respect, innocence or even 
merit is no protection against him The cries of 
justice and the voice of reason, are of no effect 
upon a conscience hardened in iniquity, and a mind 
versed in a long practice of wrong 1 and robbery. 
Remonstrances, however reasonably urged, or mov- 
ingly couched, have no more influence upon the 
hearts of such, than the gentle evening breeze has 
upon the oak, when it whispers among its branches ; 
or the rising surges upon the deaf rock, when they 
dash and break upon its sides. Power should 
never be trusted in the hands of an impious selfish 
man, and one that has more regard to the gratifica- 
tion of his own insatiable desires, than to public 
peace and justice: but as a wicked son may succeed 
to the station of a virtuous and patriotic father, 
care should be taken to guard against a surprise, 
by a vigilant watchfulness of the encroaching na- 
ture of power, even w r hen in benevolent hands, that 
those checks may not be undermined which coun- 
teract its abuse in bad ones. Had the poor Cock 
exerted his usual vigilance, it would have served 
him much more effectually than either his inno- 
cence or his eloquence. 




A Eowler was busy placing his nets, and putting 
his tackle in order, by the side of a coppice, when 
a Blackbird, who was perched on an adjacent tree, 
eyed him with great attention ; but being at a loss 
to know the use of all this apparatus and prepara- 
tion, had the curiosity to ask him what he was 
doing. I am, says the Fowler, building a fine city 
for you birds to live in, and providing it with meat 
and all manner of conveniences for you. Having 
said this, he departed and hid himself, and the 
Blackbird, believing his words, came into the nets 
and was taken; but when the man ran up to seize 
his captive, the Bird thus addressed him: If this be 
your faith, and these the cities you build, it will be 
a great pity if you should ever again persuade any 
poor simple bird to try to inhabit them. 

264 FABLES. 


The Fowler's professions of friendship for the 
birds, while he aimed at their destruction, may be 
paralleled by too many instances in real life; and 
however mortifying it may be to reflect upon, yet 
so it is, that the designing knave far too often 
succeeds in his deep-laid schemes to ensnare, over- 
reach, and ruin the honest and the unsuspecting 
man. Planners and projectors of this character, 
both of high and low degree, are suffered to roam 
at large, and it behoves the inexperienced to guard 
against their plots with a watchful eye; for while 
they smoothly disclaim taking any mean advantage 
over those they are addressing, with their plausible 
pretensions, their sole study and aim is to fill their 
own pockets, and then to hug themselves with the 
thoughts of their success, and to laugh at those 
whom they have duped. As long as people can be 
found credulous enough to suffer themselves to be 
imposed upon, so long will there arise gentry of 
this description, who will live in affluence by taking 
advantage of their weakness. 

' ^/ 




A Nurse, who was endeavouring to quiet a fro- 
ward child, among other things threatened to throw 
it out of doors to the Wolf, if it did not leave off 
crying. A Wolf, who chanced to Be prowling 
near the door just at the time, heard the expres- 
sion, and believing the woman to be in earnest, 
waited a long while about the house, in expectation 
of having her words made good. But at last the 
child, wearied with its own perverseness, fell asleep, 
and the Wolf was forced to return back into the 
woods, empty and supperless. The Fox meeting 
him, and surprized to see him go home so thin and 
disconsolate, asked him what the matter was, and 
how he came to speed no better that night r Ah! 
do not ask me, says he, I was so silly as to believe 
what the Nurse said, and have been disappointed. 

VOL. IV. 2 M 

266 FABLES. 


MANY of the old moralists have interpreted this 
Fable as a caution never to trust a woman: a bar- 
barous inference, which neither the obvious sense 
of the apologue, nor the disposition of the softer 
sex will warrant. For though some women may 
be fickle and unstable, yet the generality exceed 
their calumniators in truth and constancy, and 
have more frequently to complain of being the 
victims, than to be arraigned as the authors of 
broken vows. To us this Fable appears to mean 
little more than merely to shew how easily inclined 
we are, in all our various expectations through life, 
to delude ourselves into a belief of any thing which 
we desire to be true. The lover interprets every 
smile of his mistress in his own favour, and is then 
perhaps neglected. The beauty believes all man- 
kind are dying for her, and is then deserted by her 
train of admirers. The followers of the great 
reckon a smile or a nod very auspicious omens, 
and deceive themselves with groundless hopes of 
employment or promotion, in expectation of which, 
they, like the Wolf at the Nurse's door, dangle 
away the time that might be usefully employed 
elsewhere, and at last are obliged to retire dis- 
appointed and hungry, crying out perhaps against 
the perfidy of those in power, instead of blaming 
their own sanguine credulity. 




A Man who used to play upon the harp, and sing- 
to it, in little ale-houses, and made a shift in those 
narrow confined walls to please the dull sots who 
heard him, from hence entertained an ambition of 
shewing his parts in the public theatre, where he 
fancied he could not fail of raising a great reputa- 
tion and fortune in a very short time. He was 
accordingly admitted upon trial; but the spacious- 
ness of the place, and the throng of the people, so 
deadened and weakened both his voice and instru- 
ment, that scarcely either of them could be heard, 
and where they could, his performance sounded 
so poor, so low, and wretched, in the ears of his 
refined audience, that he was universally hissed 
off the stage. 

268 FABLES. 


WHEN we are commended for our performances 
by people of much flattery or little judgement, we 
should be sure not to value ourselves upon it; for 
want of this caution, many a vain unthinking man 
has at once exposed himself to the censure of the 
world. A buffoon, though he would not be fit to 
open his mouth in a senate, or upon a subject 
where sound sense and a grave and serious 
behaviour are expected, may be very agreeable to 
a company disposed to be mirthful over a glass of 
wine. It is not the diverting a little, insignificant, 
injudicious audience or society, which can gain us 
a proper esteem, or insure our success, in a place 
which calls for a performance of the first rate. We 
should have either allowed abilities to please the 
most refined tastes, or judgement enough to know 
that we want them, and to have a care how we 
submit ourselves to the trial. And, if we have a 
mind to pursue, a just and true ambition, it is not 
sufficient that we study barely to please ; but it is 
of the greatest moment whom we please, and in 
what respect, otherwise we may not only lose our 
labour, but make ourselves ridiculous into the 




Ix a dispute between the Ant and the Fly con- 
cerning precedency, the latter thus boasted : I 
have, said he, the uppermost seats at church, and 
even frequent the altars; I am taster to the gods, 
and a partaker of all their sacrifices; I am ad- 
mitted into the palaces of kings, and enjoy myself 
at every entertainment provided for the princes of 
the earth, and all this without having occasion to 
labour. What have you to boast of, poor sorry 
drudge, crawling upon the earth, living in caverns 
and holes, and with constant exertion gathering up 
a grain of corn to support a wretched existence? 
Indeed! said the Ant, I pretend to none of these 
fine things. Visiting the great, and partaking of 
their festivals and sacrifices, might be entitled to 
some consideration, were you invited; but you are 
only an impudent intruder in such places. My 
time, indeed, is spent differently: I lead a life of 

2 yo FABLES. 

industry, which is crowned with health and vigour, 
and I am constantly held up as an example of 
prudence and foresight. I provide for present 
comforts and future wants, and court not the favors, 
nor dread the frowns of any one; while your lazi- 
ness and vanity make you a beggarly intruder 
wherever you hope to get a present supply. You 
may, perhaps, sip honey one day, but on the next 
you batten on carrion ; and having propagated a 
numerous progeny, equally as noxious and useless 
as yourself, I then behold you from my comfortable, 
warm, well-stored mansion, in the winter of your 
days, starving to death with hunger and cold. 


THE worthless part of mankind, who pass through 
the world without being of any service in it, and 
without acquiring the least reputation, seldom fail 
of adding empty pride to all their other failings, 
and behave with arrogance towards those who con- 
tribute to the comforts and happiness of society. 
They treat industrious persons as wretched drudges, 
appointed to labour for a poor subsistence, while 
they think themselves entitled to enjoy all the good 
things of this life, though they of all others least 
deserve them. But the worthy and industrious will 
generally find that the pride and extravagance of 
these idle flies, bring them at last to shame, if not 
to want, while their own honest labours secure a 
good name, a happy mind, and a sufficiency for 
their wants, if not a state of affluence. In short, 
no one is a better gentleman than he whose own 
honest industry supplies him with all necessaries, 
and who pretends to no more acquaintance with 
honour than never to say or do a mean or an 
unjust thing. 




A thin hungry Mouse, after much pushing and 
twisting, crept through a small hole^ into a corn 
basket, where he gorged himself so plentifully, that 
on his attempting to retire by the same passage, 
he found himself so swelled out, that, with all his 
endeavours, he could not squeeze through again. 
A Weasel, who stood at some distance, and had 
been diverting himself with the vain efforts of the 
little glutton, called to him sneeringly, Hark ye, 
Mr. Mouse ! remember that you were lean and 
half-starved when you got in at that small hole; 
and take my word for it, you must be as lean and 
half-starved before you can make your way out 

272 FABLES. 


THAT portion of mankind, whose inordinate de- 
sires push them on to stick at nothing" in acquiring" 
wealth, are seldom the most happy; for covetous- 
ness, which never produced one noble sentiment, 
often urges its votaries to break through the rules 
of justice, and then deprives them of the expected 
fruits of their iniquity. Besides, great riches and 
care are almost inseparable; and there is often a 
quiet and content attending upon people of mode- 
rate circumstances, to which the wealthy man is an 
utter stranger. It has happened, even to monarchs, 
that their inroads on the possessions of others have 
tended to the detriment of the aggressor, who has 
been obliged to resign the rich spoils obtained by 
unjustifiable hostilities, and to refund the ill-gotten 
wealth with a very bad grace : a punishment which 
Providence has wisely annexed to acts of violence 
and fraud, as the best security of the possessions 
of the just and virtuous, against the attempts of the 
wicked. Some men, from creeping in the lowest 
stations of life, have in process of time reached the 
greatest places, and grown so bulky by pursuing 
their insatiate appetite for money, that when they 
would have retired, they found themselves too 
opulent and full to get off. There has been no 
expedient for them to creep out, till they were 
squeezed and reduced in some measure to their 
primitive littleness. They that fill themselves with 
that which is the property of others, should always 
be so served before they are suffered to escape. 


2 73 


Ax Eagle that had young ones, looking for some- 
thing to feed them with, happened to spy a Fox's 
Cub that lay basking itself abroad in the sun; she 
made a stoop, and trussed it immediately; but be- 
fore she had carried it quite off, the old Fox coming 
home, implored her, with tears, to spare her Cub, 
and pity the distress of a poor fond mother, who 
would think no affliction so great as that of losing 
her child. The Eagle, whose nest was high in an 
old hollow tree, thought herself secure from all pro- 
jects of revenge, and so bore away the Cub to her 
young ones, without shewing any regard to the 
supplications of the Fox. But that subtle creature, 
highly incensed at this outrageous barbarity, ran 
to an altar, where some country people had been 
sacrificing a kid in the open fields, and catching up 


2 N 

274 FABLES. 

a fire-brand in her mouth, made towards the tree 
where the Eagle's nest was, with a resolution of 
revenge. She had scarcely reached its root, when 
the Eagle, terrified with the approaching ruin of 
herself and family, begged of the Fox to desist, 
and with much submission, returned her the Cub 
safe and sound. 


AVHEX men in high situations happen to be 
wicked, how little scruple do they make of oppress- 
ing their poor neighbours ! They are perched upon 
a lofty station, and having out-grown all feelings 
of humanity, are insensible to the pangs of remorse. 
The widow's tears, the orphan's cries, and the 
curses of the miserable, fall by the way, and never 
reach their hearts. But let such, in the midst of 
their flagrant injustice, remember how easy it is, 
notwithstanding their superior distance, for the 
meanest vassal to take his revenge. The bitter- 
ness of affliction (even where cunning is wanting) 
may animate the poorest spirit with desperate 
resolutions ; and when once the fury of revenge 
is thoroughly awakened, we know not what she 
may effect before she is lulled to rest again. The 
most powerful tyrants cannot prevent a resolved 
assassination: there are a thousand different 
ways for any private man to do the business, who 
is heartily disposed to it, and willing to satisfy his 
appetite for revenge, at the expense of his life. 
An old woman may clap a fire-brand to the 
palace of a prince, and a poor weak fool may 
destroy the children of the mighty. 




IN former days it happened that the members of 
the human body, taking some offence at the con- 
duct of the Belly, resolved no longer to grant it the 
usual supplies. The Tongue first, _in a seditious 
speech, aggravated their grievances ; and after 
highly extolling the activity and diligence of the 
Hands and Feet, set forth how hard and unreason- 
able it was, that the fruits of their labour should be 
squandered away upon the insatiable cravings of a 
fat and indolent paunch. In short, it was resolved 
for the future to strike off his allowance, and let 
him shift for himself as well as he could. The 
Hands protested they would not lift a Finger to 
keep him from starving; and the Teeth refused to 
chew a single morsel more for his use. In 
this distress, the Belly remonstrated w r ith them in 
vain; for during the clamour of passion the voice 

276 FAHLES. 

of reason is always disregarded. This unnatural 
resolution was kept as long" as any thing of that 
kind can be kept, which was, until each of the 
rebel members pined away to the skin and bone, 
and could hold out no longer. Then they found there 
was no doing without the Belly, and, that idle and 
insatiable as it seemed, it contributed as much to 
the welfare of all the other parts, as they in their 
several stations did towards its maintenance. 


THIS Fable was spoken by Alenenius Agrippa, a 
Roman consul and general, when he was deputed 
by the senate to appease a dangerous tumult and 
insurrection of the people. The many wars the 
Romans were engaged in, and the frequent sup- 
plies they were obliged to raise, had so soured and 
inflamed the minds of the populace, that they were 
resolved to endure it no longer, and obstinately 
refused to pay the taxes. It is easy to discern how 
the great man applied this Fable: for, if the 
branches and members of a community refuse the 
government that aid which its necessities require, 
the whole must perish together. The rulers of a 
state, useless or frivolous as they may sometimes 
seem, are yet as necessary to be kept up and main- 
tained in a proper and decent grandeur, as the 
family of each private person is, in a condition suit- 
able to itself. Every man's enjoyment of that little 
which he gains by his daily labour, depends upon 
the government's being maintained in a condition 
to defend and secure him in the unmolested control 
and possession of it. 



A Mouse being ambitious of marrying into a 
noble family, paid his addresses to a young Lioness, 
and at length succeeded in entering into a treaty of 
marriage with her. When the day Appointed for 
the nuptials arrived, the bridegroom set out in a 
transport of joy to meet his beloved bride; and 
coming up to her, passionately threw himself at her 
feet; but she, like a giddy thing as she was, not 
minding how she walked, accidentally set her foot 
upon her little spouse, and crushed him to death. 


IT is very unsafe for persons of low estate to form 
connections with those of a very superior situation. 
When wealthy persons of mean extraction and un- 
refined education, as an equivalent for their money, 

278 FABLES. 

demand brides out of the nursery of the peerage, if 
they should not be ruined by the giddy extrava- 
gance of their high-born wives, their being despised, 
or at least treated with neglect, is almost certain. 
But indeed, much unhappiness follows the want of 
a sound judgement in the choice of a partner for 
life, whether it be in high or low, rich or poor. Xo 
human contract is of so important, as well as deli- 
cate a nature, as marriage. It is one of the grand 
epochs in the history of a man. It is an engage- 
ment which should be voluntary, judicious, and 
disinterested, and can never be attended with 
honour, or blessed with happiness, if it has not its 
origin in mutual affection. If it be either unsuit- 
able or compulsory, it produces not only individual 
misery, but consequences universally pernicious. 
Sordid interest and vile dependence may indeed 
sometimes act so powerfully, as to set nature and 
true convenience aside, so as to make the yoke 
which is jointly borne by the improper union of the 
high and low, or by age and youth, put on an 
appearance of regard for each other; but natural 
affection must needs be wanting on one side or the 
other. Nature has, however, with a strong hand, 
pointed out the path to be pursued, and a few pru- 
dential rules only are necessary to keep us within 
it. If a man is of an unsound constitution, or if he 
cannot provide for a family, let him forbear matri- 
mony: it is the duty of every man who marries, to 
take a healthy woman for his wife, for the sake of 
his children, and an amiable one for his own com- 
fort. The same precaution ought to be taken by 
the fair sex, unless they can make up their minds 
to become nurses to tainted worn-out husbands, 
and their puny nerveless offspring. 




AN opulent Old Man, who believed in omens and 
dreams, had an only Son, of whom he was dotingly 
fond. One night he dreamt that he saw the Young 
Man, while he was eagerly engaged in the chase, 
seized upon and torn in pieces by a Lion. This 
operated upon his fears to such a degree, that he 
instantly determined upon breaking off his Son's 
strong propensity to hunting, that he might be 
kept out of harm's way. For this purpose he spared 
neither pains nor expense to make home agreeable 
to him. He had the rooms decorated with the 
finest paintings of forest scenery, and the hunting 
of wild beasts, with the reality of which the youth 
had been so much delighted; but the Young Man, 
debarred from his favourite pleasures, considered 
the palace a prison, and his father as the keeper. 
One day, when looking at the pictures, he cast his 
eye upon that of a Lion, and, enraged that he was 

280 FABLES. 

confined for a dream about such a beast, he struck 
at the painting with his fist, with all his might. 
There happened to be a nail in the wall behind the 
canvas, which lacerated the hand terribly. The 
wound festered, and threw the Young Man into a 
fever, of which he died; so that the Father's dream 
was fulfilled by the very step he took to prevent it. 


THOSE people who govern their lives by fore- 
bodings and dreams, and signs of ill-luck, are kept 
in a state of constant anxiety and uneasiness. 
Such a disposition is grounded on superstition, 
which is the offspring of a narrow mind, and adds 
greatly to the evils with which life is sufficiently 
loaded. Heaven has kindly concealed from us the 
knowledge of futurity, and it is therefore foolish for 
us to attempt to pry into it, or to disturb our minds 
with absurd conceptions of events which are only 
realised by our ridiculous precautions against them. 
How inconsistent is the conduct of people who 
imagine things to be predestined, and yet busy 
themselves in endeavours to prevent their coming 
to pass: as if the vain efforts of human power 
or prudence were able to counteract the will, or 
reverse the decrees of the Omnipotent. 




A Kite who had kept sailing in the air for many 
days near a dove-house, and made a stoop at 
several Pigeons to no purpose, for. they were too 
nimble for him, at last had recourse to stratagem, 
and made a declaration to them, in which he set 
forth his own just and good intentions, and that he 
had nothing more at heart than the defence and 
protection of the Pigeons in their ancient rights 
and liberties, and how concerned he was at their 
unjust and unreasonable suspicions of himself, as if 
he intended by force of arms to break in upon their 
constitution, and erect a tyrannical government 
over them. To prevent all which, and thoroughly 
to quiet their minds, he thought proper to propose 
such terms of alliance, as might for ever cement a 
good understanding between them ; one of which 

VOL. iv. 20 

282 FABLES. 

was, that they should accept of him for their king, 
and invest him with all kingly privilege and pre- 
rogative over them ; in return for which he pro- 
mised them protection from all their enemies. The 
poor simple Pigeons consented: the Kite took the 
coronation oath, after a very solemn manner, on 
his part, and the Doves the oaths of allegiance and 
fidelity on theirs. But much time had not passed 
over their heads before the good Kite pretended 
that it was part of his prerogative to devour a 
Pigeon whenever he pleased; and this he was not 
contented to do himself only, but instructed the 
rest of the royal family in the same kingly arts. 
The Pigeons, reduced to this miserable condition, 
said one to the other, Ah! we deserve no better! 
Why did we let him come in ? 


WHAT can this Fable be applied to, but the 
exceeding blindness and stupidity of that part of 
mankind, who wantonly and foolishly trust their 
native rights of liberty without good security ! 
Who often chuse for guardians of their lives and 
fortunes, persons abandoned to the most unsociable 
of vices; and seldom have any better excuse for 
such an error in politics, than that they were 
deceived in their expectation, or never thoroughly 
knew the manners of their king, till he had got 
them entirely in his power. We ought not to incur 
the possibility of being deceived in so important a 
matter as this; an unlimited power should not be 
trusted in the hands of any one who is not endowed 
with a perfection more than human. 




A Kite who had been sick a long" time, begin- 
ning to be doubtful of recovery, begged of his 
Mother to go to all the churches and religious 
houses in the country, to try what prayers and 
offerings would effect in his behalf. The old Kite 
replied, Indeed, my dear son, I would willingly 
undertake any thing to save your life; but I have 
great reason to despair of doing you any service in 
the way you propose: for with what face can I 
ask any thing of the gods, in favour of one whose 
whole life has been a continued scene of rapine 
and injustice, and who has not scrupled, upon 
occasion, to rob even their altars ? 


THE rehearsal of this Fable almost unavoidably 
draws our attention to that very serious and 

284 FABLES. 

important point, the consideration of a death-bed 
repentance, the sincerity of which \ve may justly 
suspect in one whose whole life has been spent in 
acts of wickedness and impiety. To expose the 
absurdity of relying upon such a weak foundation, 
we need only ask the same question with the Kite 
in the Fable: how can he, who has offended the 
gods all his life-time by acts of dishonour and in- 
justice, expect that they will be pleased with him 
at last, for no other reason but because he fears he 
shall not be able to offend them any longer? Since 
the summons to "pass that bourne whence no 
traveller returns," must one day come, we ought 
always to be prepared to meet it. But w T hen the 
whole life has been wasted, without communion 
with, or totally estranged from that Almighty 
Being, by whose fiat it was called into existence, 
then indeed the polluted soul must be distracted 
with the agonizing thoughts of appearing before 
Him, who created it for a very different purpose. 
Nothing but the consciousness of having led a 
virtuous life, can, in the awful moment, disarm 
death of his terrors, and fortify the mind with 
cheering hopes and resignation. But this is a 
subject of the utmost importance, and the due 
enforcing of it is one of the most solemn duties 
of the pulpit. 




THE first time the P"ox saw the Lion, he fell 
down at his feet, and was ready to die with fear. 
The second time he took courage, and could even 
bear to look upon him. The third time he had the 
impudence to come up to him, to salute him, and 
to enter into familiar conversation with him. 


FROM this Fable we may observe the two 
extremes in \vhich we may fail as to a proper 
behaviour towards our superiors. The one is a 
bashfulness, proceeding either from a vicious guilty 
mind, or a timorous rusticity; the other an over- 
bearing impudence, which assumes more than 
becomes it, and so renders the person insuffer- 
able to the conversation of well-bred reasonable 

286 FABLES. 

people. But there is a difference between the 
bashfulness which arises from a want of education, 
and the shame-facedness that accompanies con- 
scious guilt : the first, by time and a nearer 
acquaintance, may be ripened into a proper liberal 
behaviour; the other no sooner finds an easy 
practicable access, but it throws off all manner 
of reverence, grows every clay more and more 
familiar, and branches out at last into the utmost 
indecency and irregularity. Indeed there are many 
occasions which may happen to cast an awe, or 
even a terror, upon our minds at first view, without 
any just or reasonable grounds; but upon a little 
recollection, or a nearer insight, we recover our- 
selves, and can appear indifferent and unconcerned, 
where before we were ready to sink under a load 
of diffidence and fear. We should upon such occa- 
sions use our endeavours to regain a due degree of 
steadiness and resolution; but at the same time 
we must have a care that our efforts in that respect 
do not force the balance too much, and make it 
rise to an unbecoming freedom, and an offensive 




A Wolf in quest of prey, happened to fall in 
with a well-fed Mastiff. Ah, Tray, said he, one 
does not need to ask how you do, you look so 
plump and hearty. I wish I were as well provided 
for; but my gaunt looks shew that I fare very dif- 
ferently, although I dare say I venture my life ten 
times more than you do, in searching for a preca- 
rious subsistence, amidst woods and wilds, exposed 
to rain, and frost, and snow. If you will follow 
me, replies the Dog, and do as I do, I have no 
doubt you will change for the better, and soon be 
in as good plight as I am. The Wolf eagerly 
requested to be informed what would be required 
of him. Very little, replied the Mastiff; only drive 
away beggars, guard the master's house, caress 
him, and be submissive to his family, and you 
will be well fed and warmly lodged. To these con- 
ditions the Wolf had no objections; but as they 

288 FABLES. 

were jogging along, he observed the hair worn 
off around the Dog's neck, and enquired the cause. 
O nothing, answered he, or a mere trifle; perhaps 
the collar, to which my chain is fastened, has left 
a mark. Chain! replied the Wolf, with some sur- 
prize; so then you are not permitted to go where 
and when you please? Not always, said Tray; but 
what does that signify? It signifies so much, 
rejoined the Wolf, that I am resolved to partake of 
no sumptuous fare with a chain about my neck; 
for half a meal, with liberty, is preferable to a full 
one without it. 


TRUE greatness of soul will never give up liberty 
for any consideration Avhatever; for what are 
riches, grandeur, titles, or any other worldly good, 
if they are holden by so precarious a tenure as the 
arbitrary will of a tyrant! A mere competency, 
with liberty, is preferable to servitude amidst the 
greatest affluence; and even the lowest condition 
in life, with freedom, is better than the most 
exalted station without it. But liberty in a state 
of society does not consist in doing whatsoever \ve 
please: but only permits those actions by which 
we do no injustice to our neighbour, or to the 
community. The well-being of society requires 
the efforts of all, from the highest to the lowest, 
to preserve and support it; and since it appears to 
be the will of Omnipotence, that mankind should 
live in this state of social union (which does not 
admit of the unbridled freedom of the savage state) 
a certain portion of individual liberty must be 
given up for the good of the whole ; but the sacri- 
fice should be bounded by the common good: all 
beyond approaches towards slavery, and degrades 
the people who submit to it. 




The Flying Pish, to avoid its enemies, leaves the 
water, takes wing, and mounts up into the air. 
The Dolphin is one of the most constant of 
these enemies; and its velocity through the liquid 
element, it is said, surpasses that of every living 
creature, insomuch that as it darts along, the bril- 
liancy and changeableness of its colours, which 
cannot be described, appear like the flash of a 
meteor. A Flying Fish being pursued by a 
Dolphin, in his eagerness to escape, took too long 
a flight, and his wings becoming dry, he fell upon 
a rock, where his death was inevitable. The 
Dolphin, in the keenness of his pursuit, ran him- 
self on shore at the foot of the rock, and was left 
by the wave, gasping in the same condition as 
the other. Well, says the Flying Fish, I must 

VOL. IV. 2 P 



die it is certain; but it is some consolation to 
behold my merciless enemy involved in the same 


WHEN brought low by a cruel and insolent op- 
pressor, 'there is no torture we feel more poignantly 
than to see him triumphantly exulting in our 
downfall ; and the opposite extreme must take 
place in our minds, on seeing* our enemy over- 
shoot his mark, and in his turn brought down to 
the same level of distress with ourselves. The 
temper that is not touched with feelings of this 
kind, must be of a highly philosophical cast indeed. 
The great and powerful, for the sake of their own 
peace of mind, should not unfeelingly persecute 
their inferiors; for nothing is more sweet to some 
tempers, and scarcely any thing more easy to com- 
pass, than revenge. 




THE Lion hearing an odd kind of hollow voice, 
and seeing nobody, started up: he listened again, 
and hearing the noise repeated, he trembled and 
quaked for fear. At last, seeing a Erog crawl out 
of the lake, and finding that the noise he had 
heard was nothing but the croaking of that little 
creature, he went up to it with great anger ; but 
checking himself, turned away from it, ashamed of 
his own timidity. 


THE early prejudices of a wrong education can 
only be eradicated from the strongest minds. The 
weak retain them through life. This Eable is a 
pretty image of the vain fears and empty terrors, 
with which our weak misguided nature is so apt 
to be alarmed and disturbed. If we hear but ever 
so little noise which we are not able to account for, 


immediately, nay often before we give ourselves 
time to consider about it, we are struck with fear, 
and labour under a most unmanly and unreason- 
able trepidation : more especially if the alarm hap- 
pens when we are alone, and in the dark. These 
fears are ingrafted into our minds very early, and 
therefore it is the more difficult, even when we are 
grown up, and ashamed of them, to root them out 
of our nature. They are chiefly the offspring of 
the nursery, and originate in the many terrific 
tales, and lying stories, of those who have the 
management there; and though every pains be 
aftenvards taken to free the mind from the im- 
pression of such groundless fears, the weaker part 
of mankind are still apt to be terrified at the empty 
phantoms of ghosts, spectres, apparitions, and hob- 
goblins. But whatever effect such phantasies may 
have upon the guilty mind, innocence has nothing 
to dread from supernatural causes. Fear is, how- 
ever, a natural passion, and its use is to put us 
upon our guard against danger, by alarming the 
spirits; but it, like all our other passions, should 
be kept in a state of subjection : for though they 
are all good and useful servants, yet if once they 
get the better of our reason, they prove the most 
domineering tyrants imaginable; nor do any of 
them treat us in so abject and slavish a manner as 
fear: it unnerves and enfeebles our limbs, while it 
fetters our understandings; and at the same time 
that it represents a danger near at hand, disarms 
and makes us incapable of defending ourselves 
from it. But we ought to call forth a sense of 
honour and shame, to correct such weaknesses; 
and for this purpose it will be useful to remember 
the Fable of the Lion and the Frog. 



A Kid being mounted upon the roof of a high 
shed, and seeing a Wolf below, took the oppor- 
tunity of affronting him with the foulest reproaches : 
upon which the Wolf, looking up, replied, Do not 
value yourself, vain creature, upon thinking you 
mortify me, for I look upon this ill language as 
not coming from you, but from the place which 
protects you. 


PLACE a coward out of the reach of danger, and 
then no man can put on an appearance of greater 
courage. In his castle he makes a great deal more 
bluster and threatening than a man of spirit and 
honour would do, if placed in the same situation. 
A similar kind of overbearing behaviour too often 


shews itself in the upstart worthless placeman, who 
taking" advantage of his situation, which protects 
him, and knowing that he is out of the reach of our 
resentment, exhibits all the "insolence of office;'' 
but such should be put in mind, that a saucy 
deportment is no sign of either courage, good 
sense, or -good manners, and that a gentleman 
and a man of spirit will use no .ill, or unbecoming 
language to any person, however low in station. 




A plain Country Mouse was one day unexpect- 
edly visited at his hole, by a fine Mouse of the 
Town, who had formerly been his play-fellow. 
The honest rustic, pleased with the honour, resolved 
to entertain his friend as sumptuously as possible. 
He set before him a reserve of delicate grey pease 
and bacon, a dish of fine oatmeal, some parings 
of new cheese, and to crown all with a dessert, a 
remnant of a charming mellow apple. When the 
repast was nearly finished, the spark of the town, 
aking breath, said, ( )ld Crony, give me leave to be 
a little free with you : how can you bear to live in 
this melancholy hole here, with nothing but woods, 
and meadows, and mountains, and rivulets about 
you? Do you not prefer the conversation of the 
world to the chirping of birds, and the splendour of 
the court, to the rude aspect of a wild like this? 
With many flowery arguments, he at last prevailed 


upon his country friend to accompany him to town, 
and about midnight they safely entered a certain 
great house, where there had been an entertain- 
ment the day before. Here it was the courtier's 
turn to entertain, and placing his guest on a rich 
Persian carpet, they both began to regale most 
deliciously, when on a sudden the noise of some- 
body opening the door, made them scuttle in 
confusion about the dining-room. The rustic in 
particular \vas ready to die with fear at the many 
hair-breadth escapes which followed. At last, 
recovering himself, Well, says he, if this be 
your town-life, much good may it do you. Give 
me my poor quiet hole again, with my homely, 
but comfortable grey pease. 


A moderate fortune, with a quiet retirement in 
the country, is preferable to the greatest affluence, 
attended with the care and the perplexity of busi- 
ness, How often are we deceived by the specious 
shows of splendour and magnificence; and what a 
poor exchange does he make, who gives up ease 
and content in an humble situation, to engage in 
difficulties, and encounter perils in affluence and 
luxury! The ploughman in the field, who labours 
for his daily pittance, earns his bread with less 
uneasiness and fatigue, than the man who haunts 
levees to obtain wealth and preferment. Riches, 
properly used, are indeed very conducive to ease 
and happiness; but if we leave any comfortable 
situation to procure them, or abuse the possession 
of them by riot and intemperance, we resign the 
end for the means, mistake the shadow for the 
substance, and convert the instruments of good 
fortune into the engines of anxiety and solicitude. 




A Doe that had lost an eye, used to graze near 
the sea; and that she might be the more secure 
from harm, she kept her blind side towards the 
water, from whence she had no apprehension of 
danger, and with the other surveyed the country 
as she fed. By this vigilance and precaution, she 
thought herself in the utmost security; but a sly 
fellow, with two poaching companions, who had 
watched her several days to no purpose, at last 
took a boat, and came gently down upon her, and 
shot her. The Doe, in the agonies of death 
breathed out this doleful complaint: O hard fate, 
that I should receive my death's wound from the 
side whence I expected no ill, and be safe in that 
quarter where I looked for the most danger. 

VOL. IV. 2 Q 




WE are liable to many misfortunes that no care 
or foresight can prevent; but we ought to provide 
in the best way we can against them, and leave 
the rest 1 to Providence. The wisest of men have 
their foibles or blind sides, and have their enemies 
too, who watch to take advantage of their weak- 
nesses. It behoves us therefore to look to ourselves 
on the blind side, as the part that lies most 
exposed to an attack. Vigilance and caution are 
commonly our best preservatives from evil, and 
security is often a fatal enemy, when we cherish 
it so as to lull all our apprehensions to rest. We 
should not however encourage in ourselves the 
slavish principle of fear, nor make ourselves miser- 
able on account of latent evils, which it is 'not 
in our power to prevent. The ways and working's 
of Providence are inscrutable: and it is not in 
the power of human prudence to obviate all the 
accidents of life. 




A Countryman being in want of a handle for his 
hatchet, entered a wood and looked among the 
branches for one that would suit his purpose. The 
Trees, with a curiosity natural to some other crea- 
tures, asked him what he was seeking? He replied 
that he only wanted a piece of wood to make a 
handle to his axe, and begged they would be so 
good as to permit him to serve himself. Since 
that is all, said the Trees, help yourself, and wel- 
come. He immediately availed himself of the 
permission, and had no sooner fitted up his instru- 
ment, than he began pell-mell to cut and hack 
about him, felling the noblest trees in all the 
forest, without distinction. The Oak is said to 
have spoke thus to the Beech, in a low whisper: 
Brother, we must take all this for our easy 
credulity, and imprudent generosity. 

300 FABLES. 


ONE would imagine that the natural principle of 
self-preservation implanted in us, would make it 
unnecessary to caution any one not to furnish an 
enemy with arms against himself. Yet daily expe- 
rience shews us that such instances of imprudence 
are not uncommon. In this life we are liable to 
be surrounded with calamities and distresses: we 
should therefore be careful not to add to our mis- 
fortunes, by our own want of caution, nor to put 
power into the hands of those enemies, which our 
merit or our affluence may tempt to rise up against 
us. Any person in a community, by w r hat name 
or title soever distinguished, who affects a power 
which may possibly hurt a people, is their enemy, 
and therefore they ought not to trust him ; for 
though he w r ere ever so fully determined not to 
abuse such a power, yet he is so far a bad man, as 
he disturbs a nation's quiet, and makes them 
jealous and uneasy, by desiring to have it, or even 
retaining it, when it may prove mischievous. If 
we consult history, we shall find that the thing 
called prerogative, has been claimed and contended 
for chiefly by those who never intended to make a 
good use of it; and as readily resigned by wise 
and just princes, who had the true interest of their 
people at heart. How like senseless stocks do 
they act, who, by complimenting some capricious 
mortal, from time to time, with scraps of preroga- 
tive, at last put it out of their power to maintain 
their just and natural liberty! 




Ax Eagle flew down from the top of a high rock, 
and making a stoop at a Lamb, seized it with her 
strong talons, and bore aloft her bleating prize to 
her young. A Crow observing what passed, was 
ambitious of performing the same exploit, and 
dcirted down upon a Ram; but instead of being 
able to carry it up into the air, she found she had 
got her claws entangled in its fleece, and could 
neither move herself nor her fancied prize. Thus 
fixed she was soon taken by the Shepherd, and 
given away to some boys, who eagerly enquired 
what bird it was ? An hour ago, said he, she 
fancied herself an Eagle; however I suppose she 
is by this time convinced that she is but a Crow. 

302 FABLES. 


IT is impossible for any man to take a true 
measure of the abilities of another, without an 
exact knowledge and true judgement of his own; 
a false estimate of which always exposes him to 
ridicule, and sometimes to danger. Every man 
ought therefore to examine the strength of his own 
mind with attention and impartiality, and not 
fondly to flatter himself that he can by an awk- 
ward and ill-judged emulation soar to the height 
which has been attained by men endowed by 
nature with great abilities and original talents, 
matured by industry. We can no more adopt the 
genius of another man, than we can assume his 
shape and person. The bright original in every 
department of the arts and sciences will be valued 
and esteemed, whilst his puny imitators will be 
treated with neglect, or be despised. Almost 
every man has something original in himself, 
which, if duly cultivated, might perhaps procure 
him respect and applause, and it is creditable for 
him to endeavour justly to obtain them. 




Ix antient times, when the Horse and the Deer 
ranged the forest with uncontrolled freedom, it 
happened that contentions arose between them 
about grazing in particular meadows. These dis- 
putes ended in a conflict between them, in which 
the Deer proved victorious, and with his sharp 
horns drove the Horse from the pasture. Full of 
disappointment and chagrin, the Horse applied to 
the Man, and craved his assistance, in order to 
re-establish him in the possession of his rights. 
The request was granted, on condition that he 
would suffer himself to be bridled, saddled, and 
mounted by his. new ally, with whose assistance he 
entirely defeated his enemy; but the poor Horse 
was mightily disappointed when, upon returning 
thanks to the Man, and desiring to be dismissed, 
he received this answer: No, I never knew before 

304 FABLES. , 

how useful a drudge you were; now I have found 
what you are good for, you may be assured I will 
keep you to it. 


VICTORIES may be purchased at too dear a rate, 
if we solicit the assistance of allies capable of 
becoming our most formidable enemies, and it 
will be vain to flatter ourselves, that the yoke of 
slavery, if we once willingly suffer it to be laid 
upon our shoulders, can be easily shaken off, when 
the ends for which we bore it are accomplished. 
The Fable is intended to caution us against con- 
senting to any thing that might prejudice public 
liberty, as well as to keep us upon our guard 
in the preservation of that which is of a private 
nature. This is the use and interpretation given 
of it by Horace, one of the best and most polite 
philosophers that ever wrote. After reciting the 
Fable, he applies it thus : This, says he, is the case 
of him, who, dreading poverty, parts with that 
invaluable jewel, liberty; like a wretch as he is, he 
will always be subject to a tyrant of some sort or 
another, and be a slave for ever, because his avari- 
cious spirit knew not how to be contented with 
that moderate competency, which he might have 
possessed independent of all the world. 




A Miller and his Son' were taking- their Ass to 
market to sell him, and that he might get thither 
in good condition, they drove him gently before 
them. They had not proceeded far before they met 
a company of travellers: Sure, say they, you are 
mighty careful of your Ass ; one of you might as 
well get up and ride, as suffer him to walk on at his 
ease, while you trudge after on foot. In compliance 
with this advice, the Old Man set his Son upon the 
beast. And now, they had scarcely advanced a 
quarter of a mile further, before they met another 
company. You idle young rogue, said one, why 
don't you get down, and let your poor father ride ? 
Upon this, the Old Man made his Son dismount, 
and got up himself. While they were marching in 
this manner, a third company began to insult the 

VOL. IV. 2 R 

306 FABLES. 

father. You hard-hearted wretch, say they, how 
can you suffer that poor lad to wade through 
the dirt, while you, like an alderman, ride at your 
ease ? The good-natured Miller stood corrected, 
and immediately took his Son up behind him. 
And now the next man they met exclaimed, with 
more vehemence and indignation than all the rest, 
Was there ever such a couple of lazy loobies ! to 
overload in so unconscionable a manner, a poor 
dumb creature, who is far less able to carry you, 
than you are to carry him ! The complying Old 
Man would have been half inclined to make the 
trial, had not experience by this time sufficiently 
convinced him, that there cannot be a more fruitless 
attempt, than to endeavour to please all mankind. 


IT is better to pursue the dictates of one's own 
reason, than attempt to please every body; for to 
do this is next to impossible. Therefore we ought 
to decide according to the best of our judgement, 
and correct our mistakes from our own experience. 
Wise men are instructed by reason; men of less 
understanding by experience; the most ignorant 
by necessity; and beasts by instinct. When a man 
so neglects himself, as not to make a just use of his 
reason and his mental powers, in combating with 
prejudice and folly, as well as the caprice of others, 
he will ever be led on in a maze of error, wavering 
and embarrassed about pursuing this or that path, 
until between them he is lost in a labyrinth, from 
which he will never be able to extricate himself as 
long as he lives. 




A commonwealth of Ants, having, after a busy 
summer, provided every thing for their wants in 
the winter, were about shutting themselves up for 
that dreary season, when a Grasshopper in great 
distress, and in dread of perishing with cold and 
hunger, approached their avenues, and with great 
humility begged they would relieve his wants, and 
permit him to take shelter in any corner of their 
comfortable mansion. One of the Ants asked him 
how he had disposed of his time in summer, that 
he had not taken pains and laid in a stock, as they 
had done? Alas! my friends, says he, I passed 
away the time merrily and pleasantly, in drinking, 
singing, and dancing, and never once thought of 
winter. If that be the case, replied the Ant, all I 
have to say is this: that they who drink, sing, and 
dance in the summer, run a great risk of starving 
in the winter. 

308 FABLKS. 


As summer is the season in which the industrious 
laborious husbandman lays up his supplies for the 
winter, so youth and manhood are the times of life 
which 'we should employ in laying in such a stock 
as may suffice for helpless old age; yet there are 
many whom we call rational creatures, who squan- 
der ^away in a profuse prodigality, whatever they 
get in their younger days, as if the infirmity of 
age would require no supplies to support it, or at 
least would find them administered to it in some 
miraculous way. From this Fable we learn this 
admirable lesson, never to lose the present oppor- 
tunity of fairly and honestly providing against 
the future evils and accidents of life; and while 
health and the vigour of our faculties remain firm 
and entire, to lay them out to the best advantage; 
so that when age and infirmities despoil us of our 
strength and abilities, we may not have to bewail 
that we have neglected to provide for the wants 
of our latter days: for it should always be remem- 
bered, that "a youth of revels breeds an age of 
care," and that temperance in youth lays the 
foundation of health and comfort for old age. 




Ax old Lion, finding that many of the beasts had 
become too nimble for him, and that he could not 
come at his prey so readily as before, craftily gave 
out that he had long studied physic and surgery in 
foreign C9untries, and that he could cure every kind 
of disorder to which the beasts were liable. These 
professions having been spread abroad, he hoped 
to get many of the animals to come within his 
clutches. The Horse seeing through the whole of 
the scheme, was resolved to be even with him ; and 
so humouring the thing as if he suspected nothing, 
he feigned himself to be in great pain from a 
wound in his foot, and limping up to the Lion, 
he begged he would examine the part and admi- 
nister relief. The Lion, though intent only upon 
making a good meal of horse-flesh, begged the 
Horse to hold up his foot that he might see it: this 

310 FABLES. 

was no sooner done, than the Horse gave him so 
violent a blow on the nose, as quite stunned him, 
and scampered off, neighing at the success of a 
trick, which had defeated the purpose of one who 
intended to have tricked him out of his life. 


WE ought never to put trust in the fair words and 
pretensions of those who have both an interest and 
inclination to ruin us; and where we find foul play 
thus intended against us, it is not in the nature of 
things to expect that we should not, if we can, turn 
the tables upon the plotters. Treachery has some- 
thing so wicked and worthy of punishment in its 
nature, that it deserves to meet with a return of its 
own kind. An open revenge is too liberal for it, 
and nothing matches it but itself. Though a man 
of sense and honour will always view tricking and 
fraud of all kinds as mean and beneath him, and 
will despise setting such an example, yet it can- 
not be inconsistent with virtue to counteract the 
schemes of those who are taking all manner of 
undue advantages, and hatching wicked plots to 
undermine us. 



A Fox having fallen into a well, made a shift, 
by sticking his claws into the sides, to keep his 
head above water. Soon after, a Wolf came and 
peeped over the brink, to whom the Fox applied, 
and very earnestly implored his assistance to help 
him out, or he should be lost. Ah ! poor Reynard, 
says he, I pity your misfortune; poor creature, I 
am sorry for you with all my heart: how did you 
happen to slip into this well r pray how long have 
you been in this melancholy situation r Nay, I 
prithee friend, replies the Fox, if you wish me 
well, do not stand pitying me, but lend me some 
succour as soon as you can; for pity is but cold 
comfort when one is up to the chin in water, and 
within a hair's breadth of starving or drowning. 




IF we would really manifest our sorrow for the 
sufferings of another, let our pity be shewn by our 
friendly endeavours to relieve him ; for indeed pity 
of itself is but poor comfort at any time, unless it 
produces something more substantial. If we can- 
not do this, let us not offend the sensibility, and 
add to the anguish of a delicate mind, by empty 
professions and unmeaning compassion. For, to 
stand bemoaning the misfortunes of our friends, 
without offering some expedient to alleviate them, 
is only echoing their grief, and putting them in 
mind that they are miserable. He is truly my 
friend, who with a ready presence of mind supports 
me; not he who merely condoles with me upon 
my ill success, and expresses his sorrow for my 




A Gardener's Dog happened by some mischance 
to fall into the well: his Master ran immediately 
to his assistance; but when helping him out, the 
surly brute bit his hand. The Gardener took this 
ungrateful treatment so ill, that he shook him off, 
and left him to shift for himself. Thou wicked 
wretch ! said he, to injure the hand that was 
stretched forth to save thy life! The hand of thy 
Master, who has hitherto fed and taken care of 
thee! Die there as thou deservest; for so base and 
unnatural a creature is not fit to live. 


WHEN a man has suffered his mind to become so 
debased as to be capable of doing injuries to him 
who has showered benefits on his head, he can 

VOL. IV. 2 S 

314 FABLES. 

scarcely be treated with too much severity. He 
deserves at least to be scouted as an outcast to 
society. All the favours that are bestowed upon 
men of this worthless disposition, are thrown away ; 
for the envy and malevolence of the ingrate, work 
him up into a hatred of his benefactor. Generous 
men should therefore use a just circumspection 
in the choice of the objects of their benevolence, 
before they give way to the feelings of the heart, or 
waste its bountiful overflowings upon those w r ho, 
instead of making a grateful return, will bite them 
like a drowning but spiteful dog. The Fable is 
also intended as an admonition to servants, who 
owe an especial duty to their masters; whose kind- 
ness should be met by their faithful exertions to 
serve them ; and whose interest they ever ought 
to make their own. 


3 1 5 


A Deer, terrified by the cry of the Hunters, 
instead of trusting to his fleetness, made towards 
a cave which he chanced to espy, and in which he 
hoped to conceal himself until they were passed 
by; but he had scarcely reached the entrance 
before he was seized by a Lion who lay crouching 
there, ready to spring upon his prey, and who 
instantly killed and tore him to pieces. In the 
last agonies of death, he thus gave vent to his 
feelings : Ah, me ! said he, unhappy creature 
that I am. I hoped in this cave to escape the 
pursuit of men; but have fallen into the jaws of 
the most cruel and rapacious of wild beasts. 


THIS Fable points out the dangers to which we 
expose ourselves, when, from want of presence of 

316 FABLES. 

mind, we suffer ourselves to be guided by our 
unreasoning fears, which no sooner shew us an 
5vil, than they throw us into the utmost confusion 
in our manner of escaping, and prevent us from 
discerning the safe path by which we ought to 
avoid it. Thus, in a rash endeavour to shun a less 
danger, we oftentimes blindly run headlong into 
a greater. The fate of the Deer should warn us 
to consider well what may be the ultimate con- 
sequences, before we take any important step; for 
many paths which appear smooth and pleasant at 
a distance, are found to be rough and dangerous, 
when we come to tread them; and many a plausible 
scheme, which promises us ease and safety, is 
no better than a tempting bower, with a Lion 
crouching among its foliage, ready to spring upon 
and devour us. 




As a Ploughman was turning" up the soil, his 
plough uncovered a treasure which had been 
hidden there. Transported with joy, he seized 
upon it, and fervently began to thank.the ground 
for being so liberal to him. Eortune passing by, 
observed what he was about, and could not forbear 
shewing her resentment at it. You stupid creature,' 
said she, to lie thus thanking the ground, and take 
no notice of me! If you had lost such a treasure, 
instead of finding one, I should have been the first 
you would have laid the blame upon. 


Ho\v often do we ascribe our success or mis- 
fortunes to wrong causes! Vanity sometimes leads 
us to consider our prosperity as the natural result 


of our own sagacity, and inattention sometimes 
induces us to make acknowledgments to wrong 
persons. But if we would have our praises valued, 
we should be cautious to direct them properly. 
Our thanks are an indirect affront to those who 
receive them without deserving them; and at the 
same time an act of open ingratitude to those who 
merit them without receiving them. In prosperity, 
as well as in adversity, let us not forget the power 
and goodness of Heaven ; and if we implore the aid 
of the Almighty in our distress, we should not 
neglect to send up our acknowledgments of his 
goodness with the voice of gratitude. 



Ax Ape meeting with a Fox, humbly requested 
he would be so good as to give him some of the 
superfluous hair from his bushy tail, to make into 
a covering for his bare posteriors, which were 
exposed to all the inclemency of the weather; and 
he endeavoured to further his suit by observing to 
Reynard, that he had far more than he had any 
occasion for, and a great part even dragged along 
in the dirt. The Fox answered, that as to his 
having too much, it was more than he knew; but 
be it as it would, he had rather sweep the ground 
with his tail as long as he lived, than part with the 
least bit of it for a covering to the filthy posteriors 
of an Ape. 


RICHES, in the hands of a wise and generous 
man, are a blessing to the community in which he 

320 FABLES. 

lives : they are like the light and the rain, and 
diffuse a good all around them. But wealth, when 
it falls to the lot of those who want benevolence 
and humanity, serves only as an instrument of 
mischief, or at best produces no advantage to the 
rest of mankind. The good man considers himself 
as a kind of steward to those from whom fortune 
has withheld her smiles, and thus shews his 
gratitude to Heaven for the abundance which 
has been showered down upon him. He directs 
the superfluous part of his wealth at least, to the 
necessities of such of his fellow-creatures as are 
worthy of it, and this he would do from feeling, 
though there were no religion which enjoined it. 
But selfish avaricious persons, who are generally 
knaves, how much soever they may have, will 
never think they have enough, much less be 
induced, by any consideration of virtue or religion, 
to part with any portion for the purposes of charity 
and beneficence. If the riches and power of the 
world were to be always in the hands of the 
virtuous part of mankind, it would seem, according 
to our human conceptions, that they would produce 
more good than in those of the vile and grovelling 
mortals, who often possess them. Without any 
merit, these move apparently in a sphere of ease 
and splendour, while good sense and honesty have 
to struggle in adversity, or walk in the dirt. But 
the all-wise Disposer of Events does certainly 
permit this order of things for just, good, and 
wise purposes, though our shallow understandings 
are not able to fathom them. 




Ax arch mischievous Boy, sitting by the side of 
a well, observed a noted Thief coming towards 
him. The little dissembler, wiping his eyes, 
affected to be in great distress. The Thief asking 
him what was the matter ? Ah ! says the Boy, I 
shall be severely flogged, for in attempting to get 
some water, I have dropped the silver tankard 
into the well. Upon this the Thief, eager for a 
prize, stripped off his clothes, and went down to 
the bottom to search for it; where having groped 
about to no purpose, he came up again, but found 
neither the Boy nor the clothes, the little wag 
having run off with and hidden them, and left the 
Thief to look for the tankard at his leisure. 

VOL. IV. 2 T 

322 FABLES. 


NOTHING gives more entertainment to honest 
men, than to see rogues and sharpers tricked and 
punished in the pursuit of their schemes of villainy, 
by making their own contrivances instrumental in 
bringing down their wickedness upon their own 
heads. In these instances, justice seems as it were 
to be acting in person, and saves the trouble of 
publicly enforcing punishment by the penal laws; 
but indeed vice carries with it its own punishment, 
and the misery attendant upon it in this world, 
seems always pretty exactly balanced to its various 
degrees of enormity. The abandoned man drags 
on a contemptible or infamous life, Avith a con- 
stantly deadened or disturbed conscience, and 
amidst associates like himself, where he can never 
hope to meet with either friendship or fidelity. 



IT was reported that the Lion was sick, and the 
beasts were given to understand that they could 
not make their court better than by going to visit 
him. Upon this they generally went; but it was 
particularly taken notice of, that the Fox was not 
one of the number. The Lion therefore dispatched 
one of his Jackals to enquire why he had so little 
charity and respect as never to come near him, at 
a time when he lay so dangerously ill, and every 
body else had been to see him ? Why, replies the 
Fox, pray present my duty to his majesty, and tell 
him that I have the same respect for him as ever, 
and have been coming several times, but was fear- 
ful of being troublesome, as I have observed, from 
the prints of their footsteps, that great numbers 
have gone into the royal den; but I have not seen 
a single trace of their coming out again. 

324 FABLES. 


HE that embarks implicitly in any scheme, may 
be mistaken, notwithstanding the number who 
keep him company; but he Avho keeps out till he 
sees reason to enter, acts upon true maxims of 
policy; and it is the quintessence of prudence not 
to be too easy of belief: for a rash and hasty 
credulity has been the ruin of many. Men who 
habituate themselves to think, will profit by the 
experience of others, as well as their own ; but 
commonly the multitude do not reason, but stupidly 
follo\v each other step by step; not moving out of 
the sphere in which chance has placed them : and 
the notions or prejudices they may have imbibed 
in youth, remain with them to the last. There is 
no opinion, however impious or absurd, that has 
not its advocates in some quarter of the world. 
Whoever, therefore, takes up his creed upon trust, 
and grounds his principles on no better reason 
than his being a native or inhabitant of the regions 
wherein they prevail, becomes a disciple of Maho- 
met in Turkey, and of Confucius in China; a Jew, 
or a Pagan, as the accident of birth decides. 




A dispute arose between the Xorth Wind and 
the Sun, about the superiority of their power, and 
they agreed to determine matters by trymg which 
of them could first compel a Traveller to throw off 
his cloak. The Xorth Wind began, and blew a 
very cold blast, accompanied by a sharp driving 
shower; but this, and whatever else he could do, 
instead of making the Alan quit his cloak, induced 
him to gird it about him more closely. Xext came 
the Sun, who, breaking out from a cloud, drove 
away the cold vapours, and darted his warm sultry 
beam's upon the weather-beaten Traveller. The 
Man growing faint with the heat, first threw off 
his heavy cloak, and then flew for protection to the 
shade of a neighbouring grove. 

326 FABLES. 


THERE is something in the temper of man so 
averse to severe and boisterous treatment, that he 
who endeavours to carry his point in that way, 
instead of prevailing, generally leaves the mind 
of him whom he has thus attempted to subdue, in 
a more confirmed and obstinate state. Bitter 
words and hard usage freeze the heart into an 
obduracy, which mild, persuasive, and gentle lan- 
guage only can dissolve. Persecution has always 
fixed those opinions which it was intended to 
dispel; and the quick growth of Christianity in 
early times, is attributed in a great measure to 
the barbarous reception which its first teachers 
met with in the Pagan world; and since that time 
the different modes of faith which have grown out 
of Christianity itself, have been each established 
by the same kind of intolerant spirit. To reflect 
upon these things, furnishes matter of wonder and 
regret, for the benevolent Author of the Christian 
religion taught neither intolerance nor persecution. 
The doctrines he laid down are plain, pure, and 
simple. They teach mercy to the contrite, aid to 
the humble, and eternal happiness to the good. In 
short, persecution is the scandal of all religion, and 
like the North Wind in the Fable, only tends to 
make a man Avrap his notions more closely about 




THE Horse, adorned with his great war saddle, 
and champing" his foaming" bridle, came thundering 
along the high-way, and made the mountains echo 
with his neighing. He had not gone far before he 
overtook an Ass, who was labouring under a heavy 
burthen, and moving slowly on in the same track. 
In an imperious tone he threatened to trample him 
in the dirt, if he did not get out of the way. The 
poor Ass, not daring to dispute, quietly got aside 
as fast as he could, and let him go by. Not long 
after this, the same Horse, in an engagement, 
happened to be shot in the eye, which made him 
unfit for show, or any military business, so he was 
stripped of his ornaments, and sold to a carrier. 
The Ass meeting him in this forlorn condition, 
thought that now it was his time to retort: 

328 FABLES. 

J ley-day, friend, says he, is it you! Well, I always 
believed that pride of your's would one day have 
a fall. 


IT is an affectation of appearing considerable, that 
puts men upon being proud and insolent; but this 
very affectation infallibly makes them appear little 
and despicable in the eyes of discerning people. 
Did the proud man but rightly consider what kind 
of ingredients pride is composed of and fed with, 
and the unstable foundation, and the tottering 
pinnacle upon which it stands, he would blush 
at the thoughts of it, and. cease to be puffed up 
by the little supernumerary advantages, whether of 
birth, fortune, or title, which he may enjoy above 
his neighbours. These might indeed be a blessing 
to him, and to the community in which he lives, 
if wisely used ; but if guided by pride, and 
consequently by want of sense, they will prove 
only a curse ; and the reverence and respect 
which he looks for, will not be paid with sincerity, 
nor does he deserve it ; and should the tide of 
misfortune set in against him, instead of friendship 
and commiseration, he will meet with nothing but 
contempt, and that with much more justice than 
ever he himself expressed it towards others. The 
vain proud man ought to be put in mind, that the 
time is not far distant, when his skull will not be 
distinguished from that of the beggar; and that 
there is no state, however exalted, so permanent, 
that it may not be reduced to a level with the 




A Hawk, in the eagerness of his pursuit after a 
Pigeon, flew with such violence against the corner 
of a hedge, that he was stunned and fell. A 
Farmer, who had been looking about his fields, 
saw the whole transaction, and instantly ran and 
picked up the Hawk, and was going to kill him; 
but the latter begged the Man would let him go, 
assuring him he was only following a Pigeon, and 
neither intending nor had done, any harm to him. 
To which the Farmer replied, and what harm had 
the Pigeon done to you r and wrung his head off 


IN all our transactions through life, to suppose 
ourselves in the place of those we may be dealing 


2 U 

330 FABLES. 

with, will be the most certain check upon our own 
conduct; and we ought always to consult our con- 
science about the rectitude of our behaviour: for 
this we may be assured of, that we are acting 
wrong, whenever we are doing any thing to 
another, which we should think unjust, if it were 
done to us. Let those, therefore, who intend to act 
justly, but take this view of things, and all will be 
well. There will be no danger of their oppressing 
others, or fear of their falling into error or danger 
themselves. Nothing but an habitual inadvertency 
as to this particular, can be the occasion of so 
many ingenuous noble spirits being so often en- 
gaged in courses opposite to virtue and honour. 




A Fox being closely pursued by the Hunters, 
and almost run down, begged of a Countryman to 
give him protection, and save his life. The Man 
consented, and pointed out a hovel, into which 
the Fox crept, and covered himself up among 
some straw. Presently up came the Hunters, and 
enquired of the Man if he had seen the Fox, and 
which way he had taken ? No, said he, I have not 
seen him here, he has passed another way; but all 
the while he nodded with his head, and pointed 
with his finger to the place where the Fox was 
hidden. These signals the Hunters, in the eager- 
ness of pursuit, did not notice, but calling off the 
dogs, they dashed along in another direction. 
Soon after, the Fox came out of his hiding place, 
and was sneaking off, when the Man calling after 
him, Hallo, says he, is this the way you behave 

332 FABLES. 

then, to go without thanking the benefactor who 
has saved your life ? Reynard, who had peeped 
all the while, and had seen what passed, answered, 
I know what obligation I owe you well enough, 
and I assure you if your actions had agreed with 
your words, I should have endeavoured, however 
incapable of it, to have returned you suitable 


DISSIMULATION and double dealing are among 
the most odious vices, and a hollow friend is worse 
than an open enemy; for in the full confidence of 
friendship, we are led to depend upon the man who 
uses that confidence to betray us. To pretend to 
keep another's counsel, and appear in his interest, 
while underhand we are giving intelligence to his 
enemies, is treacherous, knavish, and base. Truth 
is a plain and open virtue, and cannot be practised 
in part ; and truth and sincerity are the same ; 
wherefore he that equivocates and adheres to his 
promise in one sense, without preserving it inviola- 
bly in its full extent and meaning, departs as much 
from truth and sincerity as the most direct liar. 

" And be those juggling fiends no more believ'd, 
" That palter with us in a double sense; 
" That keep the word of promise to the ear, 
" And break it to our hope." 




AN Athenian one day found ./Esop entertaining 
himself with a company of little Boys at their 
childish diversions, and began to jeer and laugh 
at him for it. ^Esop, who was too much a wag 
himself to suffer others to ridicule him, took a bow 
unstrung, and laid it upon the ground. Then 
calling the censorious Athenian, Now, philosopher, 
says he, expound the riddle if you can, and tell us 
what the unstrained bow implies. The Man, after 
racking his brains a considerable time to no pur- 
pose, at last gave it up, and declared he knew not 
what to make of it. Why, says ./Esop, smiling, if 
you keep a bow always bent, it will lose its 
elasticity presently; but if you let it go slack, it 
will be fitter for use when you want it. 




THE mind of man is not formed for unremitted 
attention, nor his body for uninterrupted labour; 
and both are in this respect like a bow. We can- 
not go through any business requiring intense 
thought, without unbending the mind, any more 
than we can perform a long journey without 
refreshing ourselves by due rest at the several 
stages of it. Continual labour, as in the case of 
the bended bow, destroys the elasticity and energy 
of both body and mind. It is, therefore, absolutely 
necessary for the studious man to unbend, and the 
laborious one to take his rest, or both lose their 
tone and vigour, and become dull and languid. It 
is to remedy these extremes, that pastimes and 
diversions ought to be kept up, provided they are 
innocent. The heart that never tastes of pleasure, 
shuts up, grows stiff, and is at last incapable of 




THE Wolf having laid in a store of provisions, 
snugly kept in his den, and indulged himself in 
feasting upon them. The Fox observing this 
seclusion of the Wolf, became inquisitive to know 
the cause, and by way of satisfying his curiosity 
and his suspicions, he went and paid the Wolf a 
visit. The latter excused himself from seeing the 
Fox, by pretending he was very much indisposed. 
The Fox having smelt how matters stood, took 
his leave, and immediately went to a Shepherd to 
inform him of the discovery he had made, and 
that he had nothing else to do but to take a good 
weapon with him, and with it easily dispatch the 
Wolf as he lay dozing in his cave. The Shepherd 
following his directions, presently went and killed 
the Wolf. The wicked Fox then slily took posses- 
sion of the cave and the provisions to himself; but 

336 FABLES. 

he did not enjoy them long, for the same Shepherd 
shortly afterwards passing* by the place, and seeing 
the Fox there, dispatched him also. 


A villain, whose only aim is to get what he can, 
will as soon betray the innocent as the guilty. 
Let him but know where there is a suspected 
person, and propose a reward, and he will seldom 
fail to work the suspicion up to high treason, and 
will be at no loss to produce sufficient proofs of it, 
Men of this stamp will not be content with prac- 
tising one single villainy; for having never laid 
down any good principles for their guide, they will 
go on triumphantly in their wickedness for a time, 
and though, perhaps, they may be the instruments 
of bringing other villains to punishment, yet they 
will at last suffer in their turn; for, besides their 
being detested by all good men, justice will, sooner 
or later, overtake their crimes, and hurl down its 
vengeance on their heads, with a measure equal at 
least to the sufferings their perfidy has occasioned 
to others. The fate of such wretches can never 
excite the smallest commiseration ; for no character 
is so truly detestable, as that of a spy and informer. 




A Raven in quest of food, seeing a Serpent 
basking- in the sun, soused down, seized it with 
his horny beak, and attempted to carry it off. 
But the Sepent, writhing with the pain, twisted 
its elastic coils so firmly about the Raven, and bit 
him with such envenomed fierceness, that he fell 
to the ground mortally wounded. In the agonies 
of death, the Raven confessed this was a just 
punishment upon him, for having attempted to 
satisfy his greedy appetite at the expence of 
another's welfare. 


WHEN men suffer their passions to set aside 
their reason, they soon become sensual in their 
appetites, and inordinate in their desires. Moral 

VOL. IV. 2 X 



rectitude takes its departure from their minds, and 
led by their evil spirit, they soon become fitted for 
the commission of any enormity. They give the 
rein to their unbridled lusts, and regardless of 
consequences, stop at nothing to gratify their 
brutal desires. But if we mark the progress of 
such men through life, it will be found that, besides 
losing the great and virtuous pleasures of self- 
approbation, and incurring the stings of a guilty 
conscience, their wicked career often meets just 
punishment from retaliations in kind, which the 
objects of their iniquitous proceedings unexpect- 
edly retort upon them. 




A Bee, whose business had led her to the brink 
of a purling stream, was snatched away by its 
circling eddy, and carried down its current. A 
Dove, pitying her distressed situation, cropped a 
twig from a tree, and dropt it before her in the 
water, by means of which the Bee saved herself, 
and got ashore. Not long after, a Fowler having 
a design upon the Dove, espied her sitting on a 
tree, and keeping out of her sight, was waiting 
the opportunity of shooting her. This the Bee 
perceiving, stung him on the ear, which made him 
give so sudden a start, that the Dove instantly 
took the alarm, and flew away. 


WE ought ever with a ready zeal to extend our 
arm to relieve a sinking friend from distress and 

340 FABLES. 

danger, or endeavour to forewarn him against the 
wicked plots of his enemies. The benevolent man, 
from the most disinterested motives, will always 
be disposed to do good offices to all, and the grate- 
ful man will never forget to return them in kind, if 
it be possible; and there is not one good man in 
the world who may not on some occasion stand in 
need of the help of another. But gratitude is not 
very common among mankind. It is a heavenly 
spark, from which many virtues spring; and the 
source of pleasures which never enter the breast 
of the vile ingrate. The favours and kindnesses 
bestowed upon the grateful man, he cannot forget; 
those which are conferred upon the ungrateful, are 
lost: he concludes he would not have had them, if 
he had not deserved them. 




A Child was playing in a meadow, and by 
chance trod upon a Serpent. The Serpent, in the 
fury of his passion, turned up and bit the child 
with his venomous teeth, so that he died imme- 
diately. The Father of the child, inspired with 
grief and revenge, took a weapon, and pursuing 
the Serpent, before he could get into his hole, 
struck at him and lopped off a piece of his tail. 
The next day, hoping by stratagem to finish his 
revenge, he brought to the Serpent's hole honey, 
and meal, and salt, and desired him to come forth, 
protesting that he only sought a reconciliation on 
both sides; but the Serpent answered him with a 
hiss to this purpose: In vain you attempt a recon- 
ciliation; for as long as the memory of the dead 
Child and the mangled tail subsists, it will be 
impossible for you and I to have any charity for 
each other. 

34 2 FABLES. 


WHEN persons have carried their differences to 
an extreme length, it is in vain for them to think 
of renewing a cordial friendship; for in the heat 
of their quarrel, many injuries must have been 
reciprocally offered and received, which must tear 
asunder the strongest bands of amity. The fury of 
their dissensions may indeed subside, yet neither 
party can forgive the wrongs which neither can 
forget. The consciousness of having provoked the 
resentment of another, will dwell so continually 
upon the mind of the aggressor, that he cannot 
rest till he has finished his work, and put it as 
much as possible out of his enemy's power to make 
any return upon him ; and the old proverb will be 
verified which says, "The man who has injured 
you, will never forgive you/' Morality bids us 
forgive our enemies, and the voice of reason con- 
firms the same; but neither reason nor morality 
bids us enter into a friendship w r ith, or repose a 
confidence in, those who have injured us, and of 
whom \ve have a bad opinion. We may resolve 
not to return ill-usage; but ought never to put 
ourselves into the power of an enemy. 





A clownish stupid Fellow, in travelling to mar- 
ket with his goods, loaded his Horse very lightly, 
and put a heavy burden upon his Ass, and was 
trudging along the road with them on foot. They 
had not travelled half-way to their journey's end, 
when the Ass felt greatly overpowered with the 
weight he carried, and begged the Horse would be 
so good as to assist him by taking a part of it upon 
his back, and lighten the grievous burden, assuring 
him that through weakness he was quite exhausted, 
and was ready to faint. No ! said the Horse, keep 
your burden to yourself, it does not concern me. 
Upon hearing this cruel reply, the poor Ass drop- 
ped down, and soon expired. The Master then 
ungirded the pack-saddle, and awkwardly tried 
several ways to relieve his Ass, but all to no pur- 
pose; it was too late. When he perceived how 
matters stood, he took the whole burden and laid 

344 FABLES. 

it upon the Horse, together with the skin of the 
dead Ass, and when he felt tired with walking, he 
also mounted himself. The Horse is said to have 
often muttered as he went along, Well, this is my 
proper punishment, for refusing to help my fellow- 
servant in the depth of his distress. 


HE who has no compassion in his breast, is 
unworthy the title of a man; and the heart that 
feels no anguish at the misfortunes of others, nor a 
desire to relieve those who groan under a load of 
sorrow, is destitute of the very grounds and prin- 
ciples of virtue. The eye that has no tear for the 
griefs of a friend, is also blind to its own interest; 
for the burden of human affairs must be borne by 
some or other of us, and the duty, as well as the 
common necessity of helping one another, ought 
not to be shuffled off by the unworthy expression 
of " it is none of my business ;" for the business of 
society is more or less the business of every man 
who lives in it; and he who permits his weak 
brother, for want of timely assistance, to sink 
under a greater weight than he is able to sustain, 
deserves to be punished for his cruelty, by being 
obliged to bear the whole of his own distressing 
burdens himself. The Fable also hints at the 
miseries which poor dumb useful animals undergo, 
from the injudicious management or cruel treatment 
of those under whose government they have the 
misfortune to fall. These kind of "hogs in armour" 
ought to be taught by their own sufferings, the 
benevolent text, that "A merciful man will be 
merciful to his beast." 




A Husbandman having placed nets in his fields 
to catch the Rooks and the Geese, which came to 
feed upon the new-sown corn, found among his 
prisoners a single Stork, who happened to be in 
their company. The Stork pleaded hard for his 
life, and among other arguments, alleged that he 
was neither Goose nor Crow, but a poor harmless 
Stork, whose attachment to mankind, and his 
services to them in picking up noxious creatures, 
as well as fulfilling his duties to his aged 
parents, he trusted, were well known. All this 
may be true, says the Husbandman, for what 
I know; but as I have taken you in company 
with thieves, and in the same crime, you must 
also share the same fate with them. 

VOL. IV. 2 Y 

346 FABLES. 


WHEN we become so abandoned to stupidity 
and a disregard of our reputation, as to keep bad 
company, however little we may be criminal in 
reality, we must expect the same censure and 
punishment as is due to the most notorious of 
our companions. The world will always form an 
idea of the character of every man from his asso- 
ciates : nor is this rule founded on wrong principles ; 
for, generally speaking, those who are constant 
companions, are either drawn together by a simi- 
litude of manners and principles, or form such a 
similitude by daily commerce and conversation. 
If, therefore, we are tender of our reputation, we 
should be particularly delicate in the choice of our 
company, since some portion of their fame or 
infamy must unavoidably be reflected upon us. 
It is not enough to be virtuous ourselves, but we 
must be cautious not to associate with those who 
are devoted to vice: for, though we cannot confer 
any degree of our own credit upon them, we may 
suffer much discredit, and incur much danger, from 
mixing with such bad companions. 




Two Men being to travel through a forest to- 
gether, mutually engaged to stand by each other 
in any danger they might encounter on the way. 
They had not gone far, before a Bear rushed 
towards them out of a thicket; upon which, one 
of them, being a light nimble fellow, got up the 
branches of a tree, and kept out of sight. The 
other falling flat upon his face, and holding his 
breath, lay still, while the Bear came up and 
smelled at him, but not discovering any marks 
of life, he walked quietly away again to the place 
of his retreat, without doing the Man the least 
harm. When all was over, the Spark who had 
climbed the tree, came down to his Companion, 
and asked him what the Bear said to him: for, 
says he, I took notice that he clapt his mouth 
very close to your ear. Why, said the other, he 

348 FABLES. 

advised me, for the future, never to place any 
confidence in such a faithless poltron as you. 


THERE is nothing in this world that can lighten 
our burdens, in passing through it, or contribute 
more to our happiness, than our knowing we have 
a true friend, who will commiserate with and help 
us in our misfortunes, and on whom we can rely 
in times of difficulty and distress. There are 
many, indeed, who, with fair words, pretend to 
that character, and are ever ready to offer their 
services when there is no occasion for their help. 
But the real friend, like gold from the furnace, 
shines forth in his true lustre, and with heart and 
hand is ever ready to succour us, in times of tribu- 
lation and peril. It is on such only we ought to 
place a confidence in any undertaking of import- 
ance; for the man who is wholly actuated by the 
selfish unsocial principle of caring only for himself, 
is not fit to be associated with others of a more 
generous character; and he who will desert them 
in adversity ought not to be made a partaker of 
the prosperity of others. It therefore behoves us 
diligently to examine into the fidelity of those we 
have to deal with, before we embark with them in 
any enterprise, in which our lives and fortunes 
may be put to hazard by their breach of faith. 




AFTER a fierce battle between two Cocks for the 
sovereignty of the dunghill, one of them having 
beaten his antagonist, he that was vanquished 
slunk away and crept into a corner, where he for 
some time hid himself; but the conqueror flew up 
to a high place, and clapped his wings, crowing 
and proclaiming his victory. An Eagle, who was 
watching for his prey, saw him from afar, and in 
the midst of his exultation darted down upon him, 
trussed him up, and bore him away. The van- 
quished Cock perceiving this, quitted the place of 
his retreat, and shaking his feathers and throwing 
off all remembrance of his late disgrace, returned 
to the dunghill, and gallanted the Hens, as if 
nothing had happened. 

350 FABLES. 


THIS Fable shews us the impropriety and incon- 
venience of running into extremes, and teaches us, 
that under all the various and sudden vicissitudes 
of human life, we ought to bear success with 
moderation, and misfortune with fortitude and 
equanimity; to repress immoderate exultation, and 
unmanly despair. Much of our happiness depends 
upon keeping an even balance in our words and 
actions, and in not suffering circumstances to 
mount us too high in time of prosperity, nor to 
sink us too low with the w r eight of adverse fortune. 
A wise man will not place too high a value on 
blessings w r hich he knows to be no more than 
temporary ; nor will he repine at evils, whose 
duration may perhaps be but short, and cannot 
be eternal. He will submit himself with humility 
and resignation to the decrees of Providence, and 
the will of heaven. In prosperity, the fear of evil 
will check the insolence of triumph; and in adver- 
sity, the hope of good will sustain his spirit, and 
teach him to endure his misfortunes with constancy 
and fortitude. 





A flock of Wild Geese and a parcel of Tame 
ones used often to feed tog-ether in a corn field. 
At last, the owner of the corn, with his servants, 
coming upon them of a sudden, surprised them in 
the very fact, and the Tame Geese being heavy, 
and fat full-bodied creatures, were most of them 
sufferers; but the wild ones being thin and light, 
easily flew a\vay. 


WHEN the enemy comes to make a seizure, they 
are sure to suffer most whose circumstances are 
the richest and fattest. In any case of persecu- 
tion; money hangs like a dead weight about a 
man; and we never feel gold so heavy as when 

352 FABLES. 

we are endeavouring to make off with it. Great 
wealth has many cares annexed to it, with which 
the poor and needy are not afflicted. A com- 
petency to supply the necessities of nature, and 
the wants of old age, is indeed to be desired ; but 
we should rather endeavour to contract our wants 
than to multiply them, and not too eagerly grasp 
at the augmentation of our possessions, which 
will increase our cares by adding to our danger. 
Persons of small fortune have as much reason to 
be contented as the rich: their situation is full 
as happy, considered altogether, for if they are 
deprived of some of the gratifications which the 
rich enjoy, they are also exempted from many 
troubles and uneasinesses necessarily cleaving to 


THE Frogs and the Alice, who inhabited part of 
a most extensive fen, (of which there remained 
unoccupied sufficient room to hold many whole 
nations of both) could not agree with each other 
so as to live in peace: many bitter disputes arose 
between them about the right to particular pools, 
and their tuft-covered margins. At length, 
national jealousies and animosities arose to such 
a height, that each claimed the sovereignty of the 
whole fen, and the most rancorous war was waged 
between them, in order to settle, by force of arms, 
their respective pretensions. While their hostile 
armies were drawn up in battle array, on a plain 
of several square yards in extent, protected on 
both flanks and rear by dark pools and gloomy 
forests of sedges, reeds, and bulrushes, their two 
chieftains advanced to meet each other, and to it 
they fell as fierce as tigers. While these two 

VOL. iv. 2 / 

354 FABLES. 

combatants were thus engaged, a Kite sailing in 
the air, beheld them from a great distance, and 
darting down upon them, instantly bore them off 
in his talons; while the field of battle presented a 
delicious repast to some Ravens, who had chanced 
to spy the movements of these hostile armies. 


THE leading feature in the character of men, in 
all ages of the world, has ever been self-interest; 
and when this is not kept within due bounds, by 
a just sense of morality and honour, their bad 
passions are let loose, and money, power, or 
dominion, are the chief objects they keep in view. 
When men thus depraved, have long soared above 
restraint, and their numbers and power become 
predominant in a nation, the accumulation of their 
wickedness hurries them blindly on to break out 
into offensive wars with other nations, on the 
most frivolous pretences, and rapine, plunder, and 
innumerable murders succeed, by which humanity 
is outraged, and the fair face of nature is deluged 
with blood. " Peace is the natural happy state of 
man, and war is his disgrace." The mighty 
among the Frogs and Mice attend not to this: 
they strut and exult for a time; but their pride, 
tyranny, and injustice, will have an end : for 
opposed to these vices are the attributes of Omni- 
potence, and they are eternal. It often happens 
(as in the case of the combatants in the Fable) 
that when national depravity has attained its 
height, the Kites and Ravens of other regions 
are invited forth, and made the instruments of a 
just retribution. 




A Fowler set his snares to catch birds in the 
.open field. A Lark was caught; and finding her- 
self entangled, could not forbear lamenting- her 
hard fate. Ah ! woe is me, says she, what crime 
have I committed that man should be plotting my 
destruction ? I have not taken either his silver or 
gold, or any thing of value to him; and while 
other rapacious birds deal about destruction and 
go unpunished, I must die for only picking up a 
single grain of corn. 


THE irregular administration of justice in the 
world, is indeed a melancholy subject to think of. 
A poor fellow shall be hanged for stealing a sheep, 
perhaps to keep his family from starving; while 

356 FABLES. 

one, who is already great and opulent, will not 
scruple to add to his overflowing wealth by the 
most bare-faced peculation upon the public, and 
yet shall escape punishment, and even censure, 
through powerful interest with those who ought 
to be his judges, but allow themselves to be 
swayed by the splendour of his connections, or 
corrupted by his money. When justice is intrusted 
in such hands, then shall we see the description 
given by one of our satirical poets, of a corrupt 
court of law, realized. He calls it a place, 

Where little villains must submit to fate. 
That great ones may enjoy the world in state. 

However, let no one, who violates the law, rest his 
defence on this plea; for though crimes, committed 
by his superiors, ought not to escape with impu- 
nity, yet his own nevertheless deserve punishment. 
Hence we may also draw a hint, not unworthy of 
our attention, to endeavour to preserve our own 
integrity, unshaken in the midst of iniquity, and 
to shew ourselves unstained by the corruption even 
of the worst of times. 




A Shepherd was feeding" his flock, on a very fine 
day, near the sea-side. The beauty of the weather, 
the smoothness of the water, and the ships w r ith 
spreading sails floating along its surface, formed 
altogether so charming a scene, that he lost all 
relish for a pastoral life; and lured also by the 
prospect of gain, he determined to quit an employ- 
ment, which he now despised as yielding neither 
honour nor profit. He quickly sold off his flocks, 
and commenced merchant adventurer; and ere 
long, he embarked with his whole property on the 
ocean. The ship had not long been at sea before 
a dreadful tempest arose, which wrecked her and 
all her cargo; but our merchant and the crew were 
fortunate enough to escape with their lives. The 
adventurer having thus lost his all, returned to 
his former farm, and was glad to hire himself to 


the man who had bought his stock, to attend the 
sheep which were once his own. One day, as he 
sat meditating upon the change that had hap- 
pened, and viewing the sea calm and unruffled as 
before, Ah ! says he, thou deceitful tempting 
element, experience has made me so wise, that 
if I should again acquire a property, I will never 
more trust it upon thy faithless bosom. 


THIS Fable is intended to put men of fickle 
unsettled minds upon their guard against that 
propensity which often inclines them so strongly 
to shifting and changing, and leads them to 
imagine they would be happier in any profession 
than the one to which they have been brought up. 
By this disposition they are led away from an 
honest competency, to adventure their all upon 
untried schemes, in the hope of bettering their 
condition. But men of this wavering temper, who 
are comfortably settled in the world, would do 
well to reflect, before they change their situation, 
and rashly venture, perhaps, the acquisitions of 
their whole life, on projects, the failure of which 
may subject them to great calamities, which will 
be the more intolerable to bear, as they will not 
have adverse fortune to blame, but merely their 
own folly. Of this truth, experience will convince 
them when it is too late. 




A Eox, in one of his early visits to the farm- 
yard, happened to be caught in a springe, which 
had been set for that very purpose; and while he 
was struggling to escape, he was observed by the 
Cock, who, with his Hens, was feeding near the 
place. The Cock, dreading so dangerous a foe, 
approached him with the utmost caution. Rey- 
nard no sooner cast his eye upon him, than with 
all the smooth and designing artifice imaginable, 
thus addressed him. My dear friend, says he, 
you see what an unfortunate accident has befallen 
me here, and all upon your account, for not having 
heard you crow for a long time past, I was re- 
solved on my way homeward to pay you a friendly 
visit; I therefore beg you will bring me something 
to cut this tormenting wire, or at least be so good 
as to conceal my misfortune till I have knawed 

3t')0 FABLES. 

it asunder. Yes, said the Cock, I can guess what 
kind of a visit you intended to pay me, and will 
fetch you the proper assistance immediately. He 
then hastened and told the Farmer, who instantly 
went to the place, and knocked the Fox on the 


WHEN the innocent fall into misfortune, it is the 
part of a generous and brave spirit to contribute 
as far as possible to their relief; and there is no 
quality of mind more amiable than that of tenderly 
feeling for the distressed : but we ought not to let 
our compassion flow out upon improper objects, 
lest we may, by saving a villain, be doing an act 
of injustice to the community. When wicked men 
are entrapped in their own pernicious schemes, 
and laid hold of by the arm of justice, it is a 
misplaced lenity to endeavour to screen or protect 
them from it, as by letting them loose to continue 
their depredations, we become the advocates for 
their crimes, and in some degree partakers in their 




A certain Young Man used to play with a beau- 
tiful Cat, of which he grew so fond, that at last he 
fell in love with it to such a degree, that he could 
rest neither night nor day for the excess of his 
passion. In this condition he prayed to Venus, 
the goddess of beauty, to pity and relieve his 
pain. The good-natured goddess was propitious, 
and heard his prayers ; and the Cat, which he 
held in his arms, was instantly transformed into a 
beautiful Young Woman. The Youth was trans- 
ported with joy, and married her that very day. 
At night, while they were in bed, the bride unfor- 
tunately heard a mouse behind the hangings, and 
sprang from the arms of her lover to pursue it : 
the Youth was ashamed, and Venus offended, to 
see her sacred rites thus profaned by such unbe- 
coming behaviour; and perceiving that her new 

VOL. IV. 3 A 

362 FABLES. 

convert, though a woman in outward appearance, 
was a Cat in her heart, she caused her to return 
to her old form again, that her manners and 
person might be suitable to each other. 


THIS Fable, however extravagant and unnatural 
in its composition, is intended to depicture and 
check the blind instinctive ardour of the passion 
of love, the transports of which cover all imper- 
fections, so that its devotees consider neither 
quality nor merit. It is like an idol of our own 
creating, which we fashion into \vhatever figure 
or shape we please, and then run mad for it. The 
Fable also shews that 

" Xo charm can raise from dirt a grov'ling mind ;" 

And that people of a low turn of spirit and mean 
education cannot change their principles by 
changing their situation: for in the midst of 
splendour and magnificence, they still retain the 
same narrow sentiments, and seldom fail to betray, 
by some dirty action, their original baseness, 
which no embroidery can conceal; and though 
fortune has been pleased to lift them out of the 
mire, we still see the silly awkward blockheads 
displaying their lack of mind and education 
through all their ensigns of dignity. If any thing 
more need be added, it can only be with a view 
of more plainly putting inexperienced youth on 
their guard against making inconsiderate connec- 
tions, lest they take a Cat into their bosom, instead 
of an amiable consort and companion for life. 




A Fowler having taken a Partridge in his nets, 
the bird begged hard for a reprieve, and promised 
the man, if he would let him go, to decoy the other 
Partridges into his snares. No, replies the Fowler, 
if I had before been undetermined what to do with 
you, now you have condemned yourself by your 
own words: for he who is such a scoundrel as to 
offer to betray his friends, to save himself, deserves 
if possible worse than death. 


To betray our friends is one of the blackest of 
crimes; and however much traitors may suppose 
they recommend themselves by their successful 
acts of treachery, they will find that those who 

364 FABLES. 

employ them as useful instruments in any dirty 
business of faction or party, are shocked at the 
baseness of their minds; and however convenient 
it may be to " like the treason, the traitor will be 
despised." History furnishes us with many in- 
stances of king's and great men who have punished 
the actors of treachery with death, though the part 
they acted had been so conducive to their interests 
as to give them a victory, or perhaps the quiet 
possession of a throne: nor can princes pursue a 
more just maxim than this, for a traitor is a villain, 
and sticks at nothing to promote his own selfish 
ends. He that will betray one master for a bribe, 
will betray another on the same account. It is 
therefore impolitic in any state to suffer such 
wretches to live under its protection. Since then 
this maxim is so good, and likely at all times to 
be acted upon, what stupid rogues must they be 
who undertake such precarious dirty work ! 




A Blind Alan and a Lame Man happening to 
come at the same time to a piece of very bad road, 
the former begged of the latter that he would be 
so kind as to guide him through the difficulty. 
How can I do that, said the Lame Man, since I am 
scarcely able to drag myself along r But as you 
appear to be very strong*, if you will carry me, we 
will seek our fortunes together. It will then be 
my interest to warn you against any thing that 
may obstruct your way; your feet shall be my feet, 
and my eyes your's. With all my heart, replied 
the Blind Man; let us mutually serve each other. 
So, taking his lame companion on his back, they 
by means of this union travelled on with safety 
and pleasure. 

366 FABLES. 


THERE is no such thing as absolute independ- 
ence, in a state of society, and the defects and 
weaknesses of individuals form the cement by 
which it is bound together. All men have their 
imperfections and wants, and must help each other 
as a matter of expediency as well as virtue; for 
Providence has so ordered things in this life, that 
like the Blind Man and the Lame in the Fable, we 
may be serviceable to each other in almost every 
instance. What one man wants another supplies. 
Without these failings there would be neither 
friendship nor company; so that it is our interest 
to be both charitable and sociable, when our very 
wants and necessities are converted by Providence 
into blessings. The whole race of mankind ought 
indeed to be but so many members of the same 
body; and in contributing to the ease and con- 
venience of each other, we are not only serviceable 
to the whole, but kind to ourselves. 




A Lion having seized upon a Doe, while he was 
standing over his prize, a Wolf stepped up to 
him, and impudently claimed to go halves. No! 
said the Lion, you are too apt to take what is not 
your due. I therefore shall never have any thing 
to do with you, and I peremptorily insist on your 
immediate departure out of my sight. A poor 
honest dog, who happened to be passing, and 
heard what was going on, modestly withdrew, 
intending to go about another w r ay. Upon which 
the Lion kindly invited him to come forward and 
partake with him of the feast, to which his modesty 
had given him so good a title. 


THERE is something in modesty which ought 
ever strongly to prepossess us in favour of those 

368 FABLES. 

persons in whose nature it is interwoven; and men 
of discerning and generous minds have a pleasure 
in discovering it, and in bringing into notice the 
worthy man, who is diffident of his merit, and 
cannot prevail upon himself to challenge the praise 
or tribute he deserves. It is, however, to be 
lamented, that such patrons are not very nume- 
rous, and that the assuming arrogance and teasing 
importunities of the greedy forward man should so 
commonly succeed in attaining his ends, while 
modesty in silence starves unnoticed, and is for 
ever poor. Were men in exalted stations of life 
to pay more attention to the importance of this, 
and endeavour to discover modest worth, to draw 
merit from the shade, and virtue from obscurity, 
and distribute their patronage and their favours 
to such only, their own affairs, as well as those of 
the public, would be better managed, and the 
difference between the conduct of upstart pride 
and sensible plain honesty would soon shew itself 
in its true unvarnished colours. 




Ax Ass was loaded with provisions of several 
sorts, which he was carrying home for a grand 
entertainment. By the way, he met with a fine 
large Thistle, and being very hungry, immediately 
eat it up, which, while he was doing, he entered 
into this reflection: How many greedy epicures 
would think themselves happy amidst such a 
variety of delicate viands as I now carry! But 
to me, this bitter prickly Thistle is more savory 
and relishing than the most exquisite and sump- 
tuous banquet. 


TEMPERANCE and exercise may be regarded as 
the constituents of natural luxury. It is not in 
the power of the whole art of cookery, to give 

VOL. IV. 3 B 

370 FABLES. 

such an exquisite relish and seasoning to a dish, 
as these two will confer on the plainest fare. 
Indolent epicures have no true taste: they subsist 
entirely by whets and provocatives of appetite; 
but he whose stomach is braced and strengthened 
by exercise, has a whet within himself, which adds 
a poignancy to every morsel that he eats. Provi- 
dence seems to have carved out its blessings with 
an equal hand, and what it has denied to the poor 
in one way, it has amply supplied them with in 
another: if it have withheld riches, it has given 
them a greater store of health; and if it have 
refused them the means of luxury, it has at least 
formed them with the capacity of living as happily 
without it. And it may further be observed, that 
if we except hereditary diseases, almost every 
other ailment may be laid to the account of in- 
dolence, intemperance, or anxiety of mind. 




NEVER were two creatures happier together than 
a Dog" and a Cat, reared in the same house from 
the time of their birth. They were so kind, so 
gamesome, and diverting, that it was half the 
entertainment of the family to see the gambols 
and love tricks that passed between them. Still 
it was observed, that at meal-times, when scraps 
fell from the table, or a tit-bit was thrown to them, 
they would be snarling and spitting at one another 
like the bitterest foes. 


THIS Fable is too true a picture of the practices 
and friendships of the world. We first enter into 
agreeable conversations, contract likings, and form 
close intimacies and connections, which one would 

372 FABLES. 

think nothing could ever break up; but dashing- 
interests at length come in the way, and dissolve 
the charm. An unreasonable desire to engross 
more than we can enjoy, is the bone of contention, 
which in greater or less degrees sets mankind 
together by the ears. A jealous thought, a mis- 
taken word or look, is then sufficient to cancel all 
former bonds : the league is broken, and the farce 
concludes like the Dog and the Cat in the 
Fable, w T ith biting and scratching out one an- 
other's eyes. The same kind of over-grasping 
selfishness, which operates so powerfully upon 
and blinds individuals, may with equal truth 
be charged against all public associations or 
societies of men, from the greatest to the least, 
when they are under the influence of that mistaken 
patriotism, which, instead of applying its powers 
to the improvement of what they already possess, 
seeks aggrandizement by engrossing the colonies 
or privileges of their less powerful neighbours. 




A Trumpeter, being taken prisoner in battle, 
begged . hard for quarter, declaring his innocence, 
and protesting, that he neither had killed nor 
could kill any man, bearing no arms but his trum- 
pet, which he was obliged to sound at the word 
of command. For that reason, replied his enemies, 
we are determined not to spare you; for though 
you yourself never fight, yet, with that wicked 
instrument of yours, you blow up animosity among 
other people, and so become the cause of much 


THE fomenter of mischief is at least as culpable 
as he who puts it in execution. A man may be 
guilty of murder, who never has handled a sword 
or pulled a trigger, or lifted up his arm with any 

374 FABLES. 

mischievous weapon. There is a little incendiary 
called the tongue, which is more venomous than 
a poisoned arrow, and more killing than a two- 
edged sword. The moral of the Fable therefore 
is this, that if in any civil insurrection, the persons 
taken in arms against the government deserve to 
die, much more do they whose devilish tongues 
or pens gave birth to the sedition, and excited 
the tumult. The liable is also equally applicable 
to those evil counsellors, who excite corrupt or 
wicked governments to sap and undermine, and 
then to overturn the just laws and liberties of a 
whole people; or involve them in cruel offensive 
wars, in \vhich they cause thousands upon thou- 
sands of swords to be drawn, and whole armies 
of men to be cut in pieces, while they themselves 
coolly sit out of danger, and calculate the gains 
they derive from the wide-spreading desolation. 
AVar is the most horrid custom that ever resulted 
from human wickedness, and is caused only by 
the ignorance of the psople, or the wickedness of 



A company of idle Boys used to assemble on 
the margin of a lake, inhabited by a great number 
of Frogs, and divert themselves by throwing vollies 
of stones into the water, to the great annoyance 
and danger of the poor terrified Frogs, who were 
thus pelted to death as soon as any of them put 
up their heads. At length, one of the boldest of 
the Frogs ventured, in behalf of the whole com- 
munity, to croak out their complaints. Ah, my 
Boys, said he, why will you learn so soon the cruel 
practices of your race? Consider, I beseech you, 
that though this may be sport to you, it is death 
to us ! 


THIS Fable shews the propensity of unguided 
youth to do evil, and points out the need of in- 
culcating benignity of conduct upon their minds, 



and giving them a direction towards a manly and 
generous humanity, which in manhood will 'shew 
itself in actions and habits that cannot fail to do 
honour to themselves, and qualify them for any 
office in the service of their country. The contrary 
of all this will be found to predominate in society, 
when youth are suffered to go on with impunity, in 
indulging their wicked inclinations for cruelty, by 
which their minds are hardened and debased. 
This hard-heartedness in boys will grow into 
brutality and tyranny in men; and that cruelty 
which was at first inflicted upon poor dumb 
inimals, will soon shew itself upon their fellows. 
The great man of this cast will tyrannize over 
those below him : these again will shew the same 
hateful disposition to their dependents, and so 
downwards to the lowest, who, guided only by 
ignorance, will give vent to their natural base- 
ness, by goading and distressing the poor animals 
which are wretchedly toiling in their service.