Roger L'Estrange, Fables of Æsop and other eminent mythologists with morals and reflexions (1692)

Roger L’Estrange (1616-1704)  

 

This is part of a collection of works on and by Aesop.

Source

Roger L'Estrange, Fables of Æsop and other eminent Mythologists with Morals and Reflexions (London: Printed for R. Sare, T. Sawbridge, B. Took, M. Gillyflower, A. & J. Churchil, and J. Hindmarsh, 1692).

See also the facs. PDF version of the text.

The illustration of L'Estrange: "VOS NON VOBIS" [G. Kneller pinxit. R. White sculpsit.]

This edition also has the following illustration, presumably of Aesop and his animals, with the name "UTILE DULCI".

 

 


 

Table of Contents

THE PREFACE.

AN Alphabetical Table, Referring to the NUMBER of the Respective FABLES.

ERRATA.

THE LIFE OF AESOP.

  • CAP. I. Of Aesop's Countrey, Condition, and Person.
  • CAP. II. Aesop and his Fellow-slaves Upon their Iourny to Ephesus.
  • CAP. III. The Sale of Aesop to Xanthus.
  • CAP. IV. Xanthus Presents Aesop to his Wife.
  • CAP. V. Aesop's Answer to a Gard'ner.
  • CAP. VI. Aesop's Invention to bring his Mistress back again to her Husband, after she had Left him.
  • CAP. VII. An Entertainment of Neates Tongues.
  • CAP. VIII. A Second Treat of Tongues.
  • CAP. IX. Aesop brings his Master a Guest That had no sort of Curiosity in him.
  • CAP. X. Aesop's Answer to a Magistrate.
  • CAP. XI. Xanthus undertakes to Drink the Sea dry.
  • CAP. XII. Aesop Baffles the Superstition of Augury.
  • CAP. XIII. Aesop finds hidden Treasure.
  • CAP. XIV. Aesop Expounds upon an Augury, and is made Free.
  • CAP. XV. Aesop. Presents himselfe before the King of Lydia.
  • CAP. XVI. Aesop Adopts Ennus. Ennus's Ingratitude and Falseness, and Aesop's Good Nature.
  • CAP. XVII. Aesop's Letters of Morality to his Son Ennus.
  • CAP. XVIII. Aesop's Voyage to Delphos; his Barbarous Usage There, and his Death.

THE FABLES OF AESOP, &c.

  • FABLE I. A Cock and a Diamond.
  • FAB. II. A Cat and a Cock.
  • FAB. III. A Wolf and a Lamb.
  • FAB. IV. A Frog and a Mouse.
  • FAB. V. A Lion and a Bear.
  • FAB. VI. A Dog and a Shadow.
  • FAB. VII. A Lion, an Ass, &c. a Hunting.
  • FAB. VIII. A Wolf and a Crane.
  • FAB. IX. A Countryman and a Snake.
  • FAB. X. A Lion and an Asse.
  • FAB XI. A City Mouse and a Country Mouse.
  • FAB. XII. A Crow and a Muscle.
  • FAB. XIII. A Fox and a Raven.
  • FAB. XIV. An Old Lion.
  • FAB. XV. An Asse and a Whelp.
  • FAB. XVI. A Lion and a Mouse.
  • FAB. XVII. A Sick Kite and her Mother.
  • FAB. XVIII. A Swallow and other Birds.
  • FAB. XIX. The Frogs Chuse a King.
  • FAB. XX. The Kite, Hawk, and Pigeons.
  • FAB. XXI. A Dog and a Thief.
  • FAB. XXII. A Wolf and a Sow.
  • FAB. XXIII. A Mountain in Labour.
  • FAB. XXIV. An Asse and an Ungrateful Master.
  • FAB. XXV. An Old Dog and his Master.
  • FAB. XXVI. An Asse, an Ape, and a Mole.
  • FAB. XXVII. The Hares and the Frogs.
  • FAB. XXVIII. A Wolf, Kid, and Goat.
  • FAB. XXIX. A Dog, a Sheep, and a Wolf.
  • FAB. XXX. A Countryman and a Snake.
  • FAB. XXXI. A Fox and a Stork.
  • FAB. XXXII. A Fox and a Carv'd Head.
  • FAB. XXXIII. A Daw and Borrow'd Feathers.
  • FAB. XXXIV. An Ant and a Fly.
  • FAB. XXXV. A Frog and an Oxe.
  • FAB. XXXVI. An Asse and a Wolf.
  • FAB. XXXVII. A Horse and a Lion.
  • FAB▪ XXXVIII. A Horse and an Asse.
  • FAB. XXXIX. A Bat and a Weazle.
  • FAB. XL. A Bat, Birds, and Beasts.
  • FAB. XLI. An Estriche, Birds, and Beasts.
  • FAB. XLII. A Wolfe and a Fox.
  • FAB. XLIII. A Stag Drinking.
  • FAB. XLIV. A Snake and a File.
  • FAB. XLV. A League betwixt the Wolves and the Sheep.
  • FAB. XLVI. An Axe and a Forrest.
  • FAB. XLVII. A Tree and a Wedge.
  • FAB. XLVIII. The Eagle and Arrow.
  • FAB. XLIX. A Thrush taken with Birdlime.
  • FAB. L. The Belly and Members.
  • FAB. LI. An Ape and a Fox.
  • FAB. LII. A Lark and her Young Ones.
  • FAB. LIII. The Stag and the Oxen
  • FAB. LIV. A Fox and a Sick Lyon.
  • FAB. LV. A Fox and a Weazel.
  • FAB. LVI. A Boare and a Horse.
  • FAB. LVII. A Stag and a Horse.
  • FAB. LVIII. Two Young Men and a Cook.
  • FAB. LIX. A Dog and a Butcher.
  • FAB. LX. A Wolfe, a Lamb, and a Goat.
  • FAB. LXI. A Cat and Uenus.
  • FAB. LXII. A Father and his Sons.
  • FAB. LXIII. A Laden Asse and a Horse.
  • FAB. LXIV. A Collyer and a Fuller.
  • FAB. LXV. A Thrush and a Swallow.
  • FAB. LXVI. A Fowler and a Pigeon.
  • FAB. LXVII. A Trumpeter taken Prisoner.
  • FAB. LXVIII. A Dog and a Wolfe.
  • FAB. LXIX. A Farmer and his Dogs.
  • FAB. LXX. A Camel at First Sight.
  • FAB. LXXI. A Fox and a Lyon.
  • FAB. LXXII. An Eagle and a Fox.
  • FAB. LXXIII. A Husbandman and a Stork.
  • FAB. LXXIV. A Boy, and False Alarums.
  • FAB. LXXV. An Eagle and a Daw.
  • FAB. LXXVI. A Dog in a Manger.
  • FAB. LXXVII. A Sheep and a Crow.
  • FAB. LXXVIII. A Camel Praying for Horns.
  • FAB. LXXIX. A Fox and a Hare to Iupiter.
  • FAB. LXXX. A Peacock to Iuno.
  • FAB. LXXXI. An Old Weazle and Mice.
  • FAB. LXXXII. An Old Tree Transplanted.
  • FAB. LXXXIII. A Fox and a Goat.
  • FAB. LXXXIV. Cocks and a Partridge.
  • FAB. LXXXV. A Bragging Traveller.
  • FAB. LXXXVI. An Impostor to the Oracle.
  • FAB. LXXXVII. A Woman and a Fat Hen.
  • FAB. LXXXVIII. A Man Bit by a Dog.
  • FAB. LXXXIX. A Hunted Bever.
  • FAB. XC. A Thunny and a Dolphin.
  • FAB. XCI. Two Enemies at Sea.
  • FAB. XCII. A Fortune-Teller.
  • FAB. XCIII. A Cunning Woman.
  • FAB. XCIV. An Astrologer and a Traveller.
  • FAB. XCV. A Doctor and his Patient.
  • FAB. XCVI. A Fowler and a Black-Bird.
  • FAB. XCVII. Mercury and a Traveller.
  • FAB. CXVIII. A Boy and his Mother.
  • FAB. XCIX. A Shepherd turn'd Merchant.
  • FAB. C. An Old Man and a Lyon.
  • FAB. CI. A Fox that lost his Tayle.
  • FAB. CII. A Fox and a Bramble.
  • FAB. CIII. A Fox and a Crocodile.
  • FAB. CIV. A Fox and Huntsmen.
  • FAB. CV. A Man and a Wooden God.
  • FAB. CVI. A Dog Invited to Supper.
  • FAB. CVII. An Eagle and a Man.
  • FAB. CVIII. A Father and Sons.
  • FAB. CIX. A Fisherman and his Pipe.
  • FAB. CX. A Fisherman's Good Luck.
  • FAB. CXI. Large Promises.
  • FAB. CXII. Fishermen Disappointed.
  • FAB. CXIII. Death and an Old Man.
  • FAB. CXIV. A Doctor and Patient with Sore Eyes.
  • FAB. CXV. A Cat and Mice.
  • FAB. CXVI. An Ape and a Fox.
  • FAB. CXVII. A Smith and his Dog.
  • FAB. CXVIII. A Boasting Mule.
  • FAB. CXIX. A Dog and a Wolfe.
  • FAB. CXX. A Lyon and a Bull.
  • FAB. CXXI. A Lyon in Love.
  • FAB. CXXII. A Lyoness and a Fox.
  • FAB. CXXIII. Two Cocks Fighting.
  • FAB. CXXIV. A Fawn and a Stag.
  • FAB. CXXV. Iupiter and a Bee.
  • FAB. CXXVI. Wasps in a Honey-Pot.
  • FAB. CXXVII. A Young Man and a Swallow. :
  • FAB. CXXVIII. Mercury and a Carpenter.
  • FAB. CXXIX. A Fox and Grapes.
  • FAB. CXXX. A Wolfe and a Lyon.
  • FAB. CXXXI. A Boy and a Snake.
  • FAB. CXXXII. A Fowler and a Partridge.
  • FAB. CXXXIII. A Hare and a Tortoise.
  • FAB. CXXXIV. Apples and Horse-Turds.
  • FAB. CXXXV. A Peach, an Apple, and a Blackberry.
  • FAB. CXXXVI. A Mole and her Dam.
  • FAB. CXXXVII. Wasps, Partridges, and a Husbandman.
  • FAB. CXXXVIII. Jupiter and a Serpent.
  • FAB. CXXXIX. A Flea and a Man.
  • FAB. CXL. A Flea and Hercules.
  • FAB: CXLI. A Man and Two Wives.
  • FAB. CXLII. Two Frogs that wanted Water.
  • FAB. CXLIII. A Dog and a Cock upon a Journy.
  • FAB. CXLIV. A Bat, Bramble and Cormorant.
  • FAB. CXLV. A Lark in a Net.
  • FAB. CXLVI. A Miller Burying his Gold.
  • FAB. CXLVII. A Stag with One Eye.
  • FAB. CXLVIII. A Stag and a Lyon.
  • FAB. CXLIX. A Goat and a Uine.
  • FAB. CL. An Asse, a Lyon, and a Cock.
  • FAB. CLI. A Gardiner and his Dog.
  • FAB. CLII. A Sow and a Dog.
  • FAB. CLIII. A Sow and a Bitch.
  • FAB. CLIV. A Snake and a Crab.
  • FAB. CLV. A Shepherd and a Wolves Whelp.
  • FAB. CLVI. A Lyon, Fox, and a Wolfe.
  • FAB. CLVII. A Wife and a Drunken Husband.
  • FAB. CLVIII. A Swan and a Goose.
  • FAB. CLIX. The Washing of a Blackmore.
  • FAB. CLX. A Raven and a Swan.
  • FAB. CLXI. A Sallow and a Crow.
  • FAB. CLXII. A Nightingale and a Bat.
  • FAB. CLXIII. A Boy and Cockles.
  • FAB. CLXIV. Two Travellers and a Bag of Money.
  • FAB. CLXV. Two Neighbour-Frogs.
  • FAB. CLXVI. A Bee-master.
  • FAB. CLXVII. A Kingsfisher.
  • FAB. CLXVIII. Fishing in Troubled Waters.
  • FAB. CLXIX. An Ape and a Dolphin.
  • FAB. CLXX. Mercury and a Statuary.
  • FAB. CLXXI. Mercury and Tiresias.
  • FAB. CLXXII. A Hound and a Mastiffe.
  • FAB. CLXXIII. An Unhappy Match.
  • FAB. CLXXIV. A Wolfe and a Kid.
  • FAB. CLXXV. A Fox and a Crab.
  • FAB. CLXXVI. A Musician.
  • FAB. CLXXVII. Thieves that Stole a Cock.
  • FAB. CLXXVIII. A Crow and a Raven.
  • FAB. CLXXIX. A Crow and a Dog.
  • FAB. CLXXX. A Raven and a Snake.
  • FAB. CLXXXI. A Daw and Pigeons.
  • FAB. CLXXXII. A Daw with a String at's Foot.
  • FAB. CLXXXIII. Iupiter and Fraud.
  • FAB. CLXXXIV. Iupiter and Modesty.
  • FAB. CLXXXV. Iupiters Wedding.
  • FAB. CLXXXVI. A Wolfe and a Sheep.
  • FAB. CLXXXVI. Hares, Foxes, and Eagles.
  • FAB. CLXXXVIII. An Ant formerly a Man.
  • FAB. CLXXXIX. Travellers by the Sea-side.
  • FAB. CLXXXX. A Wild Ass and a Tame.
  • FAB. CXCI. Asses to Iupiter.
  • FAB. CXCII. An Ass and the Frogs.
  • FAB. CXCIII. A Gall'd Ass and a Raven.
  • FAB. CXCIV. A Lyon, Ass and Fox.
  • FAB. CXCV. A Hen and a Swallow.
  • FAB. CXCVI. A Pigeon and a Picture.
  • FAB. CXCVII. A Pigeon and a Crow.
  • FAB. CXCVIII. A Woman and her Two Daughters.
  • FAB. CXCIX. A Shepherd and his Sheep.
  • FAB. CC. Iupiter and a Herds-man.
  • FAB. CCI. A Gnat Challenges a Lyon.

THE FABLES OF BARLANDUS, &c.

  • FAB. CCII. A Lyon and a Frog.
  • FAB. CCIII. An Ant and a Pigeon.
  • FAB. CCIV. A Peacock and a Pye.
  • FAB. CCV. An Impertinent Dr. and his Patient.
  • FAB. CCVI. A Lyon, Ass and Fox.
  • FAB. CCVII. A Wolfe and a Kid.
  • FAB. CCVIII. An Ass to Iupiter.
  • FAB. CCIX. A Woman and her Maids.
  • FAB. CCX. A Lyon and a Goat.
  • FAB. CCXI. A Uultur's Invitation.
  • FAB. CCXII. Bustards and Cranes.
  • FAB. CCXIII. Iupiter and an Ape.
  • FAB. CCXIV. An Eagle and an Owl.

THE FABLES OF ANIANUS, &c.

  • FAB. CCXV. An Oak and a Willow.
  • FAB. CCXVI. A Fisherman and a Little Fish.
  • FAB. CCXVII. An Ant and a Grasshopper.
  • FAB. CCXVIII. A Bull and a Goat.
  • FAB. CCXIX. A Nurse and a Wolfe.
  • FAB. CCXX. An Eagle and a Tortoise.
  • FAB. CCXXI. An Old Crab and a Young.
  • FAB. CCXXII. The Goose and Gosselin.
  • FAB. CCXXIII. The Sun and the Wind.
  • FAB. CCXXIV. An Ass in a Lyon's Skin.
  • FAB. CCXXV. A Fox and a Worm.
  • FAB. CCXXVI. A Curst Dog.
  • FAB. CCXXVII. Two Friends and a Bear.
  • FAB. CCXXVIII. A Horse-man's Whig Blown off.
  • FAB. CCXXIX. Two Pots.
  • FAB. CCXXX. Good Luck and Bad Luck.
  • FAB. CCXXXI. A Country-man and Fortune.
  • FAB. CCXXXII. An Old UUoman and the Devil.
  • FAB. CCXXXIII. A Boy and Fortune.
  • FAB. CCXXXIV. A Peacock and a Crane.
  • FAB. CCXXXV. A Tyger and a Fox.
  • FAB. CCXXXVI. A Lyon and Bulls.
  • FAB. CCXXXVII. A Fir and a Bramble.
  • FAB. CCXXXVIII. A Covetous Man and an Envious.
  • FAB. CCXXXIX. A Crow and a Pitcher.
  • FAB. CCXL. A Lyon and a Man.
  • FAB. CCXLI. A Boy and a Thief.
  • FAB. CCXLII. A Country-man and an Oxe.
  • FAB. CCXLIII. A Man and a Satyr.
  • FAB. CCXLIV. A Country-man and a Boar.
  • FAB. CCXLV. A Bull and a Mouse.
  • FAB. CCXLVI. A Country-man and Hercules.
  • FAB. CCXLVII. A Hen and Golden Eggs.
  • FAB. CCXLVIII. An Ape and her Two Brats.
  • FAB. CCXLIX. An Oxe and a Heifer.
  • FAB. CCL. A Dog and a Lyon.
  • FAB. CCLI. A River-Fish and a Sea-Fish.
  • FAB. CCLII. A Fox and a Leopard.

THE FABLES OF ABSTEMIUS, &c.


  • FAB. CCLIII. Demades the Orator.
  • FAB. CCLIV. A Fox and a Hedge-Hog.
  • FAB. CCLV. A Mouse in a Chest.
  • FAB. CCLVI. A Husbandman and Ceres.
  • FAB. CCLVII. A Country-man and a Hawk.
  • FAB. CCLVIII. A Swallow and a Spider.
  • FAB. CCLIX. A Country-man and a River.
  • FAB. CCLX. A Pigeon and a Pye.
  • FAB. CCLXI. A Cuckow and a Hawk.
  • FAB. CCLXII. A Country-man and an Ass.
  • FAB. CCLXIII. A Fox and a Knot of Gossips.
  • FAB. CCLXIV. Capons Fat and Lean.
  • FAB. CCLXV. Oxen and a Piece of Timber.
  • FAB. CCLXVI. Trees Streight and Crook'd.
  • FAB. CCLXVII. A Swan and a Stork.
  • FAB. CCLXVIII. The Inconsolable Widow.
  • FAB. CCLXIX. A Wench Parting with her Sweet-heart.
  • FAB. CCLXX. A Fly upon a Wheel.
  • FAB. CCLXXI. An Eele and a Snake.
  • FAB. CCLXXII. Seamen Praying to Saints.
  • FAB. CCLXXIII. The Fishes and the Frying-Pan.
  • FAB. CCLXXIV. A League of Beasts and Fishes.
  • FAB. CCLXXV. A Covetous Ambassador.
  • FAB. CCLXXVI. An Old Friend and a Cardinal.
  • FAB. CCLXXVII. A Young Droll and a Crooked Old Man.
  • FAB. CCLXXVIII. An Old Fellow, and a Young Wench.
  • FAB. CCLXXIX. An Eagle and a Pye.
  • FAB. CCLXXX. A Country-man and a Mouse.
  • FAB. CCLXXXI. A Sick Hermit.
  • FAB. CCLXXXII. A Rich Man and a Foolish Servant.
  • FAB. CCLXXXIII. A Widow had a mind to Marry.
  • FAB. CCLXXXIV. Town-Dogs and Country-Dogs.
  • FAB. CCLXXXV. A Snake to Iupiter.
  • FAB. CCLXXXVI. The Frogs and Tortoises.
  • FAB. CCLXXXVII. The Mice and the Oxe.
  • FAB. CCLXXXVIII. A Run-away Dog and his Master.
  • FAB. CCLXXXIX. The Birds and Beetles.
  • FAB. CCXC. A Bear and Bees.
  • FAB. CCXCI. A Fowler and a Chaffinch.
  • FAB. CCXCII. A Soldier and Two Horses.
  • FAB. CCXCIII. A Spaniel and a Sow.
  • FAB. CCXCIV. Oxen and Timber.
  • FAB. CCXCV. A Goldfinch and a Boy.
  • FAB. CCXCVI. A Droll and a Bishop.
  • FAB. CCXCVII. A Lapwing Preferr'd.
  • FAB. CCXCVIII. A Priest and Pears.
  • FAB. CCXCIX. A Horse and a Hog.
  • FAB. CCC. A Hunts-man and a Currier.
  • FAB. CCCI. A Hermit, and a Soldier.
  • FAB. CCCII. A Husband and Wife twice Marry'd.
  • FAB. CCCIII. A Lyon and a Mouse.
  • FAB. CCCIV. Wax and Brick.
  • FAB. CCCV. A Husbandman turn'd Soldier and Merchant.
  • FAB. CCCVI. An Ass puts in for an Office.
  • FAB. CCCVII. A River and a Fountain.
  • FAB. CCCVIII. A Wicked Man and the Devil.
  • FAB. CCCIX. A Counsel of Birds for Chusing more Kings.
  • FAB. CCCX. A Woman that would needs Die for her Husband.
  • FAB. CCCXI. A Son Singing at his Mothers Funeral.
  • FAB. CCCXII. A Iealous Husband.
  • FAB. CCCXIII. A Man that would not take a Glister.
  • FAB. CCCXIV. A Wolfe and a Sick Ass.
  • FAB. CCCXV. A Fox and a Sick Cock.
  • FAB. CCCXVI. Three Things are the Better for Beating.
  • FAB. CCCXVII. The Asses Wish.
  • FAB. CCCXVIII. A Cat and Mice.
  • FAB. CCCXIX. A Boar and a Fox.
  • FAB. CCCXX. A Wolfe and a Porcupine.
  • FAB. CCCXXI. A Mouse and a Kite.
  • FAB. CCCXXII. A Cockle and Iupiter.
  • FAB. CCCXXIII. A Bitch ready to Puppy.
  • AB. CCCXXIV. A Hedge-Hog and a Snake.
  • FAB. CCCXXV. A Fox and a Hare.
  • FAB. CCCXXVI. An Old Man resolv'd to give over Whoring.
  • FAB. CCCXXVII. An Impertinent and a Philosopher.
  • FAB. CCCXXVIII. A Wolfe in a Sheeps-skin.
  • FAB. CCCXXIX. An Incouragable Son.
  • FAB. CCCXXX. A Sheep-Biter Hang'd.
  • FAB. CCCXXXI. A Bull and a Ram.
  • FAB. CCCXXXI. A Widow and a Green Ass.
  • FAB. CCCXXXIII. An Eagle and Rabbets.
  • FAB. CCCXXXIV. A Pike sets up for Sovereignty.
  • FAB. CCCXXXV. A Sheep picks a Quarel with a Shepherd.
  • FAB. CCCXXXVI. A Creaking Wheel.
  • FAB. CCCXXXVII. A Man had a Mind to try His Friends.
  • FAB. CCCXXXVIII. A Fox Praising Hares Flesh.
  • FAB. CCCXXXIX. A Plain Horse Wins the Prize.
  • FAB. CCCXL. A Country-man and a Kid.
  • FAB. CCCXLI. A Weak Young Man and a Wolfe.
  • FAB. CCCXLII. A Lad Robbing an Orchard.
  • FAB. CCCXLII. A Nightingale and a Hawk.
  • FAB. CCCXLIV. A Lyon and a Hog.
  • FAB. CCCXLV. A Gnat and a Bee.
  • FAB. CCCXLVI. A Lyon, Ass and Hare.
  • FAB. CCCXLVII. Pigeons Reconcile the Hawks.
  • FAB. CCCXLVIII. A Woman that brought Fire into the House.
  • FAB. CCCXLIX. A Corrupt Officer.
  • FAB. CCCL. An Old Man that was willing to put off Death.
  • FAB. CCCLI. A Miser and his Bags.

THE FABLES OF POGGIUS.

  • FAB. CCCLII. Industry and Sloth.
  • FAB. CCCLIII. A Cock and a Fox.
  • FAB. CCCLIV. A Taylor and his Wife.
  • FAB. CCCLV. A Woman Drown'd.
  • FAB. CCCLVI. A Bishop and a Curate.
  • FAB. CCCLVII. A Husband, Wife, and Ghostly Father.
  • FAB. CCCLVIII. An Old Man and an▪ Ass.
  • FAB. CCCLIX. A Man Dreamt he found Gold.
  • FAB. CCCLX. A Country Fellow and a Hog.
  • FAB. CCCLXI. A Florentine and a Horse-Courser.
  • FAB. CCCLXII. A Christian and a Pagan.
  • FAB. CCCLXIII. An Ass taught Grammar.
  • FAB. CCCLXIV. A Priest and Epiphany.
  • FAB. CCCLXV. A Lavern Reckoning paid with a Song.
  • FAB. CCCLXVI. A Fryer, a Laique and a Wolf.
  • FAB. CCCLXVII. A Priest and a Sick Man.
  • FAB. CCCLXVIII. A Physician that Cur'd Mad-Men.
  • FAB. CCCLXIX. A Country Fellow Climbing a Tree.
  • FAB. CCCLXX. One that had Lost his Mony and Cloaths at Play.
  • FAB. CCCLXXI. A Blinkard Buying of Wheat.
  • FAB. CCCLXXII. A Country-man with his Asses.
  • FAB. CCCLXXIII. A Man that Carried his Plough to Ease his Oxen.

Miscellany Fables.

  • FAB. CCCLXXIV. A Fox and a Cat.
  • FAB. CCCLXXV. The Dancing Apes.
  • FAB. CCCLXXVI. An Ass and Two Travellers.
  • FAB. CCCLXXVII. Mercury and Fishermen.
  • FAB. CCCLXXVIII. An Eagle and a Beetle.
  • FAB. CCCLXXIX. An Owl and Little Birds.
  • FAB. CCCLXXX. A Gourd and a Pine.
  • FAB. CCCLXXXI▪ A Raven and Wolves.
  • FAB. CCCLXXXII. Arion and a Dolphin.
  • FAB. CCCLXXXIII. A Spider and the Gout.

A SUPPLEMENT OF FABLES, OUT OF Phaedrus; Avienus, Camerarius, Neveletus, Apththonius, Gabrias, Babrias, Abstemius, Alciatus, Boccalini, Baudoin, De la Fontaine, Aesope en Belle Humeur, Meslier, &c.

  • FAB. CCCLXXXIV. A Lamb, a Wolf and a Goat.
  • FAB. CCCLXXXV. Iupiter's Altar Robb'd.
  • FAB. CCCLXXXVI. The Crows and the Pigeons.
  • FAB. CCCLXXXVII. A Gard'ner and his Landlord
  • FAB. CCCLXXXVIII. Iupiter's Two Wallets.
  • FAB. CCCLXXXIX. A King and a Rich Subject.
  • FAB. CCCXC. A Merchant and a Seaman.
  • FAB. CCCXCI. Mice, Cat and a Bell.
  • FAB. CCCXCII. Usurers and Curriers.
  • FAB. CCCXCIII. Two Travellers of Differing Humours.
  • FAB. CCCXCIV. An Agreement between the Wolves and the Dogs.
  • FAB. CCCXCV. A Wolf turn'd Shepherd.
  • FAB. CCCXCVI. An Ass and a Lion.
  • FAB. CCCXCVII. An Ape and a Mountebank.
  • FAB. CCCXCVIII. Boys and Frogs.
  • FAB. CCCXCIX. A Council of Beasts.
  • FAB. CCCC. A Cock and a Fox-Case.
  • FAB. CCCCI. A Cobler turn'd Doctor.
  • FAB. CCCCII. A Cobler and a Financier.
  • FAB. CCCCIII. The Eagle, Cat and Sow.
  • FAB. CCCCIV. The Frogs and the Bulls.
  • FAB. CCCCV. The Frogs and the Sun.
  • FAB. CCCCVI. The Fox Condemn'd.
  • FAB. CCCCVII. A Man at a Fish-Dinner.
  • FAB. CCCCVIII. Two Laden-Asses.
  • FAB. CCCCIX. A Black-Bird afraid of a Kyte.
  • FAB. CCCCX. A Fox and Wolf.
  • FAB. CCCCXI. Two Travellers find an Oyster.
  • FAB. CCCCXII. A Raging Lion▪
  • FAB. CCCCXIII. The Kingdom of Apes.
  • FAB. CCCCXIV. An Als made a Iudge of Musick.
  • FAB. CCCCXV. An Ape Iudge betwixt a Fox and a Wolf.
  • FAB. CCCCXVI. An Ape and a Lion in his Kingdom.
  • FAB. CCCCXVII. Two Laden Asses.
  • FAB. CCCCXVIII. A Boar Challenges an Ass.
  • FAB. CCCCXIX. A Cuckow and Little Birds.
  • FAB. CCCCXX. Hungry Dogs, and a Raw-Hide.
  • FAB. CCCCXXI. An Ass and a Shadow.
  • FAB. CCCCXXII. A Country-Fellow and a River.
  • FAB. CCCCXXIII. A Bladder with Beans in't.
  • FAB. CCCCXXIV. A Fox and a Divining Cock.
  • FAB. CCCCXXV. The Moon Begs a New Gown.
  • FAB. CCCCXXVI. A Young Fellow about to Marry.
  • FAB. CCCCXXVII. A Woman trusted with a Secret.
  • FAB. CCCCXXVIII. A Woman and Thrushes.
  • FAB. CCCCXXIX. Two Soldiers go Halves.
  • FAB. CCCCXXX. A Lion and a Man.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXI. A Hare and a Sparrow.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXII. A Fox and a Cock.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXIII. Ioy and Sorrow are near A-kin.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXIV. The Owl and the Sun.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXV. Iupiter and a Farmer.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXVI. A Wolf turns Religious.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXVII. The Asses Skin.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXVIII. A Fool and a Hot Iron.
  • FAB. CCCCXXXIX. A Cock and Horses.
  • FAB. CCCCXL. A Gard'ner and a Mole.
  • FAB. CCCCXLI. A Man and a Weazle.
  • FAB. CCCCXLII. A Woman, Cat and Mice.
  • FAB. CCCCXLIII. A Man in Tears for the Loss of his Wife.
  • FAB. CCCCXLIV. A Rich Man that would be no Richer.
  • FAB. CCCCXLV. An Eagle sets up for a Beauty.
  • FAB. CCCCXLVI. An Image Expos'd to Sale.
  • FAB. CCCCXLVII. Demetrius and Menander.
  • FAB. CCCCXLVIII. A Consultation about Securing a Town.
  • FAB. CCCCXLIX. A Hedge Destroy'd for Bearing no Fruit.
  • FAB. CCCCL. A Bull and a Gnat.
  • FAB. CCCCLI. Rats that Eat Copper.
  • FAB. CCCCLII. A Woman Reviv'd with Beating.
  • FAB. CCCCLIII. Two Friends and Fortune.
  • FAB. CCCCLIV. A Boy that would not Learn his Book.
  • FAB. CCCCLV. Hercules and Pluto.
  • FAB. CCCCLVI. A Lion, Boar and Uultures.
  • FAB. CCCCLVII. A Man that would never Hear Ill News.
  • FAB. CCCCLVIII. A Miser and Rotten-Apples.
  • FAB. CCCCLIX. The Devil Refus'd to Marry.
  • FAB. CCCCLX. A Country man and Jupiter.
  • FAB. CCCCLXI. A Bee that went over to the Drones.
  • FAB. CCCCLXII. A Crow and a Raven.
  • FAB. CCCCLXIII. The Bitches Bed maker.
  • FAB. CCCCLXIV. A Trusty Dog and his Master.
  • FAB. CCCCLXV. A Fool and a Sieve.
  • FAB. CCCCLXVI. A Fig-Tree and a Thorn.
  • FAB. CCCCLXVII. A Wolf and a Fo•….
  • FAB. CCCCLXVIII. A Rich Man and a Poor.
  • FAB. CCCCLXIX. A Wolf and a Hog.
  • FAB. CCCCLXX. A Farmer and his Servant.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXI. A Satyr and Fire.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXII. A Generous Lion.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXIII. A Brother and a Sister.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXIV. The Bees and the Drones.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXV. A Fox and a Dragon.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXVI. The Shipwrack of Simonides.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXVII. Two Men and a Halter.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXVIII. A Mountebank and a Bear.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXIX. A Skittish Horse.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXX. No Laws against Flattery.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXI. Three Dreaming Travellers.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXII. Reason of State.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXIII. An Eagle and a Leveret.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXIV. A Dog and his Master.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXV. Two Doctors and a Sheep.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXVI. Few Friends.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXVII. An Ass Carrying an Image.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXVIII. A Dog and a Cat.
  • FAB. CCCCLXXXIX. Aristotle's Definition of a Tyrant.
  • FAB. CCCCXC. A Country-man and a Panther.
  • FAB. CCCCXCI. A Mastiff and an Ass.
  • FAB. CCCCXCII. A Laconique Try'd and Sentenc'd.
  • FAB. CCCCXCIII. Matchiavel Condemn'd.
  • FAB. CCCCXCIV. A Dispute betwixt a Doctor, a Uint'ner, and a Botcher.
  • FAB. CCCCXCV. There's no To Morrow.
  • FAB. CCCCXCVI. A Lady in Trouble for the Loss of a Set of Horses.
  • FAB. CCCCXCVII. The Hypocrite.
  • FAB. CCCCXCVIII. The Conscientious Thieves.
  • FAB. CCCCXCIX. The Trepanning Wolf.
  • FAB. CCCCC. A Miller and a Rat.

 


 

THE PREFACE.

WE have had the History of Aesop so many times over and over, and drest-up so many several Ways; that it would be- but Labour Lost to Multiply Unprofitable Conjectures upon a Tradition of so Great Uncertainty. Writers are divided about him, almost to all manner of purposes: And particularly concerning the Authority, even of the greater part of Those Compositions that pass the World in his Name: For, the Story is come down to us so Dark and Doubtful, that it is Impossible to Distinguish the Original from the Copy: And to say, which of the Fables are Aesops, and which not; which are Genuine, and which Spurious: Beside, that there are divers Inconsistencies upon the Point of Chronology, in the Account of his Life, (as Maximus Planudes, and Others have Deliver'd it) which the whole Earth can never Reconcile. Vavasor the Josuite, in a Tract of his, de Ludicra Dictione, takes Notice of some four or five Gross Mistakes of This Kind. [Planudes (says he) brings Aesop to Babylon, in the Reign of Lycerus; where there never was such a Prince heard of, from Nabonassar (the first King of Babylon) to Alexander the Great. He tells also of his going into Aegypt in the Days of King Nectenabo; which Nectenabo came not into the World till well nigh Two Hundred Years after him. And so he makes him Greet his Mistress upon his first Entrance into his Master's House, with a Bitter Sentence against Women out of Euripides; (as he pretends) when yet Aesop had been Dead, a matter of Fourscore Years, before T'other was Born. And once again, He brings him in, Talking of the Pyraean Port, in his Fable of the Ape and the Dolphin: A Port, that the very Name on't was never thought of, till about the Seventy Sixt Olympiad: And Aesop was Murder'd, in the Four and Fifti'th.] This is enough in All Conscience, to Excuse any Man from laying over-much Stress upon the Historical Credit of a Relation, that comes so Blindly, and so Variously Transmitted to us: Over and above, that it is not one jot to our Bus'ness (further then to Gratify an Idle Curiosity) whether the Fact be True or False; whether the Man was Streight, or Crooked; and his Name, Aesop, or (as some will have it) Lochman: In All which Cases, the Reader is left at Liberty to Believe his Pleasure. We are not here, upon the Name, the Person, or the Adventures [Page [unnumbered]] of This Great Man; but upon the Subject of his Apologues and Morals; And not of His alone, but of several other Eminent Men that have Written after his Copy; and abundantly Contributed in those Labours, to the Delight, Benefit, and Instruction of Those that were to come after them.

There are, 'tis True, a Certain Set of Morose and Untractable Spirits in the World, that look upon Precepts in Emblem, as they do upon Gays and Pictures, that are only fit for Women and Children, and make no more reck'ning of them, then of the Fooleries of so many Old Wives Tales. These are a sort of People that are Resolv'd to be pleas'd with nothing that is not Unsociably Soure, Ill Natur'd, and Troublesome; Men that make it the Mark as well as the Prerogative of a Philosopher, to be Magisterial, and Churlish; As if a Man could not be Wise and Honest, without being Inhumane; or, I might have said, without putting an Affront upon Christian Charity, Civil Society, Decency and Good Manners: But they are not aware All this while, that the Foundations of Knowledge and Vertue are laid in our Childhood; when Nothing goes Kindly down with us, that is not Season'd and Adapted to the Palate and Capacity of 'those Tender Years. 'Tis in the very Nature of us, first, to be Inquisitive, and Hankering after New and New Sights and Stories: And 2dly, No less Sollicitous to Learn and Understand the Truth and Meaning of what we See and Hear: So that betwixt the Indulging and Cultivating of This Disposition, or Inclination, on the One hand, and the Applying of a Profitable Moral to the Figure, or the Fable, on the Other, here's the Sum of All that can be done upon the Point of a Timely Discipline and Institution, toward the Forming of an Honourable, and a Vertuous Life. Most Certain it is, that without This Early Care and Attention, upon the Main, we are as good as Lost in our very Cradles; for the Principles that we Imbibe in our Youth, we carry commonly to our Graves; and it is the Education, in short, that makes the Man. To speak All, in a Few Words, Children are but Blank Paper, ready Indifferently for any Impression, Good or Bad, for they take All upon Credit; and it is much in the Power of the first Comer, to Write Saint, or Devil upon't, which of the Two He pleases. Wherefore let the Method of Communication be never so Natural and Agreeable, the Better, the Worse still, if the Matter be not Suited to the Prudence, the Piety, and the Tenderness that is Requisite in the Exercise of such a Function. Now This is a Nicety that Depends, in a Great Measure, upon the Care, Providence, Sobriety, Conduct and Good Example of Parents, Guardians, Tutors, &c. Nay it Descends to the very Choice of such Nurses, Servants, and Familiar Companions, as will apply themselves Diligently to the Discharge of This Office.

As it is beyond All Dispute, I suppose, that the Delight and Genius of Children, lies much toward the Hearing, Learning, and Telling of Little [Page [unnumbered]] Stories; So this Consideration holds forth to us a kind of Natural Direction to begin our Approches upon that Quarter, toward the Initiating of them into some sort of Sense▪ and Understanding of their Duty. And This may most properly be done in a way of History and Moral; and in such a manner, that the Truth and Reason of Things, may be Artificially and Effectually Insinuated, under the Cover, either of a Real Fact, or of a Supposed One: But then These very Lessons Themselves may be Gilt and Sweeten'd, as we Order Pills and Potions; so as to take off the Disgust of the Remedy; for it holds, both in Vertue, and in Health, that we love to be Instructed, as well as Plisick'd, with Pleasure. This is an Article that would both Bear and Require a Volume: But without Dwelling any longer upon it, I shall content my self with some short General Touches, and so Proceed.

It may be laid down in the First Place, for an Universal Rule, never to suffer Children to Learn any thing, (now Seeing, and Hearing, with Them, is Learning) but what they may be the Better for All their Lives after. And it is not sufficient neither, to keep Men clear of any Thought, Word or Deed, that's Foul, Scandalous, and Dishonest; but there are Twenty Insipid Twittle-Twattles, Frothy Jests, and Iingling Witticisms, that look, as if they had no Hurt in them; and yet the Wonting of us to the Use and Liking of These Levities, Leads, and Inures us to a Mis-understanding of Things, that's no less Dangerous then a Corruption of Manners. Beside, that there's no need of Entertaining them with These Fopperies, having so much Choice of Useful Matter at hand, and as Good Cheap. Briefly, in the Case of This Method of Instruction and Institution, let but the Fancy or the Figure be Clear and Pertinent, and the Doctrine in the Direction of it can never fail of being so too. But without This Guard and Caution upon the Conduct of the Affair, This Humour of Mythology may turn to a Poyson instead of a Nourishment: And under the Pretext of a Lecture of Good Government, Degenerate into an Encouragement to Vanity and Debauch. For while the Memory is Firm, and the Iudgment Weak, it is the Director's Part to Judge for the Pupil, as it is the Disciples, to Remember for Himself; And we are also to take This along with us, that when a Child has once Contracted an Ill Train or Habit, it will Cost as much time to Blot out what he is to Forget, as to Possess him of what he is to Retain in his Memory.

Let it not be Understood now, as if the Thing it self were Childish, because of the Application of it; or as if Boys and Men were not Indifferently of the same Make, and Accountable more or less for the same Faculties and Duties. So that the Force and Dignity of This way of Operation, holds good in all Cases alike; For there's Nothing makes a Deeper Impression upon the Minds of Men, or comes more Lively to their Understanding, then Those Instructive Notices that are Convey'd to them by Glances, Insinuations, and Surprize; [Page [unnumbered]] and under the Cover of some Allegory or Riddle. But, What can be said more to the Honour of This Symbolical Way of Morallizing upon Tales and Fables, then that the Wisdom of the Ancients has been still Wrapt up in Veils and Figures; and their Precepts, Councels, and salutary Monitions for the Ordering of our Lives and Manners, Handed down to us from all Antiquity under Innuendo's and Allusions? For what are the Aegyptian Hierogliphicks, and the whole History of the Pagan Gods; The Hints, and Fictions of the Wise Men of Old, but in Effect, a kind of Philosophical Mythology: Which is, in truth, no other, then a more Agreeable Vehicle found out for Conveying to us the Truth and Reason of Things, through the Medium of Images and Shadows. But what needs any thing more be said for the Reputation and Authority of This Practice and Invention, considering the Frequent and the Edifying Use of Apologues in Holy Writ: And that our Blessed Saviour Himself, has not only Recommended, but Inculcated, This way of Teaching by Parableses, both in his Doctrine and Example, as the Means that Divine Providence made use of for the Gaining of Idolaters and Infidels over to the Christian Faith? What was it that brought, even David himself to a Sight and Detestation of his Sin in the Matter of Uriah, and to a Sense of his Duty, but the Prophet Nathan's telling him a Story at a Distance (and by God's Own Direction too) of a Rich Man that had a World of Sheep himself, and yet forc'd away a Poor Man's Only Lamb from him, that he Lov'd as his Own Soul? How did David take Fire at This Iniquity in Another Man, till upon second Thoughts his Conscience brought it home to his Own Case, and forced him to pass Iudgment upon Himself? Now This is but according to the Natural Biass of Humane Frailty, for every Man to be Partial to his own Blind-side, and to Exclaim against the very Counterpart of his Own Daily Practice. As what's more Ordinary, for Example, then for the most Arbitrary of Tyrants, to set up for the Advocates and Patrons of Common Liberty; or for the most Profligate of Scoffers and Atheists, to Value themselves upon a Zeal for the Power, and Purity of the Gospel? In two Words, What's more Familiar then to see Men Fighting the Lord's Battels (as they call it) against Blasphemy and Prophaneness, with One hand; and at the same time offering Violence to his Holy Altars, Church and Ministers with the Other: Now These People are not to be dealt withal, but by a Train of Mystery and Circumlocution; a Downright Admonition looks liker the Reproach of an Enemy, then the Advice of a Friend; or at the Best, it is but the Good Office of a Man that has an Ill Opinion of us: And we do not Naturally Love to be Told of our Faults, by the Witnesses of our Failings. Some People are too Proud, too Surly, too Impudent, too Incorrigible, either to Bear, or to Mend upon the Liberty of Plain Dealing. Others are too Big again, too Powerful, too Vindictive, and Dangerous, [Page [unnumbered]] for either Reproof, or Councel, in Direct Terms. They Hate any Man that's but Conscious of their Wickedness, and their Misery is like the Stone in the Bladder; There are Many Things Good for't, but there's No Coming at it; and neither the Pulpit, the Stage, nor the Press, Dares so much asTouch upon't. How much are we Oblig'd then, to Those Wise, Good Men, that have furnish'd the World with so sure, and so Pleasant an Expedient, for the Removing of All These Difficulties! And to Aesop, in the First Place, as the Founder, and Original Author, or Inventer of This Art of Schooling Mankind into Better Manners; by Minding Men of their Errors without Twitting them for what's Amiss, and by That Means Flashing the Light of their Own Consciences in their Own Faces! We are brought Naturally enough, by the Iudgment we pass upon the Vices and Follies of our Neighbour, to the Sight and Sense of our Own; and Especially, when we are led to the Knowledge of the Truth of Matters by Significant Types, and Proper Resemblances; for we are much more Affected with the Images of things, then with the True Reason of them. Men that are Shot-free against All the Attacques of Honour, Conscience, Shame, Good Faith, Humanity, or Common Justice, have yet some Weak side or other, like Achilles's Heel, that was never dipt; and This Contrivance of Application, by Hints, and Glances, is the Only way under the Heavens to Hit it. [Who shall say to a King, What Dost thou?] comes up to the very Stress of This Topique. There's no Meddling with Princes, either by Text, or Argument. Morality is not the Province of a Cabinet-Councel: And Ghostly Fathers Signify no more then Spiritual Bug-bears, in the Case of an Unaccountable Priviledge. Tell the House of Israel of their Sins, and the House of Iacob of their Transgressions: was a Guide, Undoubtedly, like an Old Almanack, for the Year 'twas Writ in; but Change of Times and Humours, calls for New Measures and Manners; and what cannot be done by the Dint of Authority, or Perswasion, in the Chappel, or in the Closet, must be brought about by the Side-Wind of a Lecture from the Fields, and the Forests. As the Fable of the Raging Lyon Preaches Caution, and Moderation, to the Extravagances of Cruel, and Ambitious Rulers, by shewing them that Tyranny is the Scourge of Humane Nature, in Opposition to All the Blessings of a Well Order'd Government; and that they do but Plague other People, to their Own Infamy▪ and Ruine. The Old Lyon in Disgrace, Reads a Lesson to us of the Improvidence, and the Desperate Consequences of a Riotous, and a Careless Youth. The Fox in the Well, holds forth to us upon the Chapter of a Late Repentance. The Frogs Petitioning for a King, bids People have a care of Struggling with Heaven for they know not what. It is Certainly True, that the most Innocent Illustrations of This Quality may lie open to a Thousand Abuses and Mistakes, by a Distorted Mis-application of them to Political, [Page [unnumbered]] or Personal Meanings; but Those Capricious Fault-Finders, may as well pick a Quarrel with the Decalogue it self, upon the same Pretence; if they shall come once to Apply to This or That Particular Wicked Man, the General Rules that are Deliver'd for the Government of Mankind, under such and such Prohibitions; as if the Commandments that Require Obedience, and Forbid Murder, Uncleanness, Theft, Calumny, and the like, were to be Struck out of the Office, and Indicted, for a Libellous Innuendo upon All the Great Men that may come to be Concern'd in the Pains and Forfeitures therein Contain'd. In fine, 'tis the Conscience of the Guilty, in All These Cases, that makes the Satyr. Here is enough said, as to the Dignity, and Usefulness of This way of Informing the Understanding what we Ought to do, and of Disposing the Will to Act in a Conformity to That Perception of Things; having so Clear an Evidence of Divine Authority, as well as the Practice of the Best of Men, and of Times, together with the Current of Common Consent, Agreeing all in favour of it. I shall now Wind up what I have to say, as to the Fables Themselves, the Choice, the Intent, and the Order of them, in a very Few Words.

When I first put Pen to Paper upon This Design, I had in my Eye only the Common School-Book, as it stands in the Cambridge and Oxford Editions of it, under the Title of [Aesopi Phrygis Fabulae; unà cum Nonnullis Variorum Autorum Fabulis Adjectis:] Propounding to my self, at that Time, to follow the very Course and Series of that Collection; and in One Word, to Try what might be done, by making the Best of the Whole, and Adapting Proper and Useful Doctrines to the several parts of it, toward the turning of a Excellent Latin Manual of Morals and Good Councels, into a Tolerable English One. But upon Iumbling Matters and Thoughts together, and laying One thing by Another; the very State and Condition of the Case before me, together with the Nature and the Reason of the Thing, gave me to Understand, that This way of Proceeding would never Answer my End. Insomuch, that upon this Consideration, I Consulted other Versions of the same Fables, and made my Best of the Choice. Some that were Twice or Thrice over, and only the self-same Thing in other Words; These I struck out, and made One Specimen serve for the rest. To say Nothing of here and there a Trivial, or a Loose Conceit in the Medley, more than This; that such as they are, I was under some sort of Obligation to take them in for Company; and in short, Good, Bad and Indifferent, One with Another, to the Number in the Total, of 383. Fables. To these, I have likewise subjoyn'd a Considerable Addition of other Select Apologues, out of the most Celebrated Authors that are Extant upon that Subject, toward the Finishing of the Work. As Phaedrus, Camerarius, Avienus, Neveletus, Apththonius, Gabrias, or Babrias, Baudoin, La Fontaine, Aesope en Belle Humeur, Audin, &c.

[Page [unnumbered]] Another Man in my Place now, would perhaps take it for a Notable Stroke of Art, and Good Breeding, to Complement the Reader with Twenty Fooleries of Apology, and Excuse, for such an Undertaking: As if the Honestest, and the most Necessary Part of a Man's Life, and Bus'ness, were a thing to be Asham'd of. Now All that I have to say upon this Common Place, is in Three Words, that I meant well in what I have done; and let the Performance be what it will, I Comfort my self yet in the Conscience of a Good Intention. I shall not Charge any of My Failings upon the Importunity of my Friends, though I have not Wanted Earnest and Powerful Instances and Encouragements to proceed upon This Work; over and above the Impulse of a Natural Curiosity and Inclination that led me to't. But these were Temptations that I could Easily have Resisted, or put by, in favour of a Carcass that's in a manner, past Labour; if it had not been for Another Motive, that I shall now tell the Reader in Confidence, and so Conclude.

This Rhapsody of Fables is a Book Universally Read, and Taught in All our Schools; but almost at such a rate as we Teach Pyes and Parrots, that Pronounce the Words without so much as Guessing at the Meaning of them: Or to take it Another way, the Boys Break their Teeth upon the Shells, without ever coming near the Kernel. They Learn the Fables by Lessons, and the Moral is the least part of our Care in a Childs Institution: so that take Both together, and the One is stark Nonsense, without the Application of the Other; beside that the Doctrine it self, as we have it, even at the Best, falls Infinitely short of the Vigour and Spirit of the Fable. To supply This Defect now, we have had several English Paraphrases and Essays upon Aesop, and Divers of his Followers, both in Prose and Verse: the Latter have perchance Ventur'd a litte too far from the Precise Scope of the Author, upon the Privilèdge of a Poetical License: And for the Other of Ancient Date, the Morals are so Insipid and Flat, and the Style and Diction of the Fables, so Course and Uncouth, that they are rather Dangerous, than Profitable, as to the purpose they were Principally Intended for; and likely to do Forty times more Mischief by the One then Good by the Other. An Emblem without a Key to't, is no more then a Tale of a Tub; and that Tale sillily told too, is but One Folly Grafted upon Another. Children are to be Taught, in the first Place, what they Ought to do. 2dly, The Manner of Doing it: And in the third Place, they are to be Inur'd, by the Force of Instruction and Good Example, to the Love and Practice of Doing their Duty; whereas on the Contrary, One Step out of the way in the Institution, is enough to Poyson the Peace, and the Reputation of a whole Life. Whether I have, in this Attempt, Contributed or not, to the Emprovement of these Fables, either in the Wording, or in the Meaning of [Page [unnumbered]] them, the Book must Stand or Fall to it self: But this I shall Adventure to Pronounce upon the whole Matter, that the Text is English, and the Morals, in some sort, Accommodate to the Allegory; which could hardly be said of All the Translations, or Reflexions before-mention'd, which have serv'd, in truth, (or at least some of them) rather to teach us what we should Not do, then what we should. So that in the Publishing of these Papers, I have done my Best to Obviate a Common Inconvenience, or, to speak Plainly, the Mortal Error of pretending to Erect a Building upon a False Foundation: Leaving the whole World to take the same Freedom with Me, that I have done with Others: Provided that they do not Impute the Faults, and the Mis-Pointings of the Press, to the Author, and that they Consult the Errata for other Mistakes.

 


 

[Page [unnumbered]]

AN Alphabetical Table, Referring to the NUMBER of the Respective FABLES.

A
  FAB.
ANT and Fly. 34
Ant and Pigeon. 203
Ant and Grasshopper. 217
Ant formerly a Man. 188
Ape wanting a Tayl, and Fox. 51
Ape and Fox King. 116
Ape and two Brats. 248
Apes Dancing. 375
Ape and Dolphin. 169
Ape and Mountebank. 397
Ape Iudge, Fox and Wolfe. 415
Ape and Lyon in's Kingdom. 416
Apes Kingdom. 413
Apples and Horse-Turds. 134
Arion and a Dolphin. 382
Aristotles Tyrant. 189
Ass and Lyon Hunting. 7
Ass Braying and Lyon. 10
Ass and Whelp. 15
Ass and Mastiffe. 191
Ass and Ungrateful Master 24
Ass, Ape and Mole. 26
Ass and Wolfe. 36
Ass and Pamper'd Horse. 38
Ass Laden and Horse. 63
Ass, Lyon and Fox Hunting. 206
Ass to Iupiter. 208
Ass in a Lyons Skin. 224
Ass and Two Travellers. 376
Ass and Country-man (Alarum.) 262
Ass puts in for an Office. 306
Ass, Sick and Wolfe. 314
Asses Wish. 317
Ass Green and a Widow. 332
Ass, Lyon and Hare. 346
Ass Lyon and Cock. 150
Ass Wild and Tame. 190
Asses to Iupiter. 191
Ass and Frogs. 192
Ass Gall'd and Raven. 193
Ass, Lyon and Fox, [Treachery.] 194
Ass and Old Man. 358
Ass to be Taught Grammar. 263
Asses and Country-man. 372
Ass, Lyon and Wolves. 396
Two Asses Laden with Salt and Sponge. 408
Ass Iudge of Musick. 414
Asses Two. Laden. [Oats and Money.] 417
Ass Challeng'd by a Boar. 418
Ass and Shadow. 421
Asses Skin. 437
Ass carrying an Image. 487
Astrologer and Traveller. 94
[Page [unnumbered]] B.
  FAB.
Bat and Weazle. 39
Bat, Birds and Beasts. 40
Bat, Bramble and Cormorant. 144
Belly, and Members. 50
Bear and Two Friends. 227
Beasts and Fishes League. 274
Bear and Bees. 290
Three Things better for Beating. 316
Bever Hunted. 89
Bee-Master. 166
Bee went over to the Drones. 461
Bees and Drones. 474
Birds and Beetles. 289
Bitches Bed-maker. 463
Bitch ready to Puppy. 323
Bishop and Curate. 356
Blackbird afraid of a Kite. 409
Bladder with Beans. 423
Blinkard Buying of Wheat. 371
Washing a Black-a-more. 159
Boar and Horse. 56
Boy and False Alarums. 74
Boy and Fortune. 233
Boy and Thief. 241
Boy and Goldfinch. 295
Boy and his Mother. 98
Boy and Snake. 131
Boy and Cockles. 163
Boys and Frogs. 398
Boy would not learn his Book. 454
Boar and Fox. 319
Brother and Sister. 473
Bustard and Cranes. 212
Bull and Goat. 218
Bull and Mouse. 245
Bull and Ram. 331
Bull and Gnat. 450
C.
  FAB.
Cat and Cock. 2
Cat and Venus. 61
Cat and Mice [Dissembling.] 318
Cat Counterfeiting and Mice. 115
Case of Conscience at Play. 498
Camel at first Sight. 70
Camel praying for Horns. 78
Capons Fat and Lean. 264
Cardinal and an Old Friend. 276
Christian and Pagan. 362
Cock and Diamond. 1
Cock and a Fox Case. 400
Cock and Horses. 439
Cocks and Patridge. 84
Cock and Two Young Men. 58
Collier and Fuller. 64
Country-man and Snake Frozen 9
Country-man, Snake and Child. 30
Country-man and Fortune. 231
Country-man and an Oxe. 242
Country-man and a Boar. 244
Country-man and Hercules. 246
Country-man and Hawk. 257
Country-man and River. 259
Country-man and Mouse. 280
Country-man and Kid. 340
Country-fellow Climbing a Tree. 369
Country-man and Hog. 360
Country-man and Iupiter. 460
Country-man and Panther. 490
Covetous Man and an Envious. 238
Covetous Embassador. 275
Counsel of Birds for Chusing Kings. 309
Cockle and Iupiter. 322
Corrupt Officer. 344
Cocks Fighting. 123
Cock and Fox [Peace.] 353
Counsel of Beasts. 399
Cobler turn'd Doctor. 401
Cobler and Financier. 402
Country-fellow and a River Running. 422
Consultation about securing a Town. 448
Crow and Mustle. 12
Crow and Pitcher. 239
Crow and Raven [foreboding.] 178
Crow and Dog. 179
Crow and Raven. 462
Crab Old and Young. 221
Crows and Pigeons. 386
Cuckow and Hawk. 261
Cunning Woman. 93
Cuckow and Little Birds. 419
[Page [unnumbered]] D.
  FAB.
Daw and Borrow'd Feathers. 33
Daw and Pigeons. 181
Daw with a String at's Foot. 182
Demades the Orator. 253
One willing to put off Death. 350
Death and an Old Man. 113
Devil Refus'd to Marry. 459
Demetrius and Menander. 447
Dog and Shadow. 6
Dog and Thief. 21
Dog Old and his Master. 25
Dog, Sheep and Wolfe. 29
Dog and Butcher. 59
Dog in a Manger. 76
Dog with a Bell. 226
Dog and Lyon. 250
Dog run away from his Master. 288
Dog Invited to Supper. 106
Dog and a Wolfe. 119
Dog and Cock on a Iourney. 143
Dog Trusty and his Master. 464
Dog and his Master. 484
One Bit by a Dog. 88
Dog and Cat. 488
Dogs and a Raw Hide. 420
Dogs Town and Country. 284
Dr. and Patient [All's well.] 95
Dr. and Patient [sore Eyes.] 114
Drs. and a Sheep. 485
Dr. Vint'ner and Botcher. 494
Droll and a Bishop. 296
Droll and a Crooked Old Man. 277
E.
  FAB.
Eagle and Arrow. 48
Eagle and Fox. 72
Eagle and Daw. 75
Eagle and Owl. 214
Eagle and Tortoise. 220
Eagle and Beetle. 378
Eagle and Pye. 279
Eagle and Rabbets. 333
Eagle and Man. 107
Eagle, Cat and Snow. 403
Eagle sets up for a Beauty. 445
Eagle and Leveret. 483
Eele and Snake. 271
Enemies Two at Sea. 91
Estritch, Birds and Beasts. 41
F.
  FAB.
Father and his Sons [Unity.] 62
Father and Sons [Industry.] 108
Farmer and his Dogs. 69
Fawn and Stag. 124
Farmer and his Servant. 170
Fisherman with Little Fish. 216
Fishermans Good Luck. 110
Fishermen Disappointed. 112
One at a Fish-Dinner. 407
Fisherman and Pipe. 109
Fishing in Troubled Waters. 168
Fir and Bramble. 237
Fishes and Frying-Pan. 273
Fig-Tree and Thorn. 466
Fly upon a Wheel. 270
Flea and Man. 139
Flea and Hercules. 140
Florentine and Horse-Courser. 361
Flattery, No Law against it. 480
Fox and Lyon. 13
Fox and Stork. 31
Fox and Carv'd Head. 32
Fox and Sick Lyon. 54
Fox and Weazle. 55
Fox and Lyon [first fight.] 71
Fox and Hare to Iupiter. 79
Fox and Leopard. 252
Fox and Worm. 225
Fox and Cat. 374
Fox and Hedge-Hog. 254
Fox and Gossips. 263
Fox and Sick Cock. 315
Fox and Hare. 325
Fox Praising Hares Flesh. 338
Fox and Goat. 83
Fox that lost his Tayl. 101
Fox and Bramble. 102
Fox and Crocodile. 103
Fox and Huntsman. 104
Fox and Grapes. 129
Fox and Crab. 175
Fox Condemn'd. 406
Fox and Wolfe. 410
Fox and Cock [sore Eye] 432
Fox and Dragon. 475
[Page [unnumbered]] Fowler and Pigeon. 66
Fowler and Chaffinch. 291
Fowler and Blackbird▪ 96
Fowler and Partridge. 132
Fool and a Hot Iron. 438
Fool and a Sieve. 465
Fortune-Teller. 92
Fortune and Two Friends. 453
Frog and Mouse. 4
Frogs Chuse a King. 19
Frog and Oxe. 35
Frogs and Tortoises. 286
Frogs wanting Water. 142
Frogs Two Neighbors. 165
Frogs and Bulls. 404
Frogs and Sun. 405
Fryer, Laique and Wolfe. 366
Friends Few. 486
One had a mind to Try his Friends 337
G
  FAB.
Gard'ner and his Dog. 151
Gard'ner and his Landlord. 387
Gard'ner and Mole. 440
Gnat and Bee. 345
A Man Refuses a Glyster. 313
Gnat and Lyon. 201
One Dreamt he found Gold. 359
Goat and Vine. 149
Gourd and Pine. 380
Goose and Gosslin. 222
H
  FAB.
Hares and Frogs. 27
Hare and Sparrow. 431
Hare and Tortoise. 133
Hares, Foxes and Eagles. 187
Two Men and a Halter. 477
Hen and Golden Eggs. 247
Hermit and Soldier. 301
Hedge-Hog and Snake. 324
Hen and Swallow. 195
Hedge destroy'd. 449
Sick Hermit. 281
Hercules and Pluto. 455
Horse and Lyon. 37
Horse and Hog. 299
Horse Skittish. 479
Horse-man's Wig Blown off. 228
Hound and Mastiff. 172
Husband-man and Stork. 73
Husband-man and Ceres. 256
Husband-man turn'd Soldier and Merchant. 305
Husband, Wife, and Ghostly Father. 357
Husband and Wife twice Marry'd. 302
Hunts-man and Currier. 300
Husband Iealous. 312
Hypocrite. 497
I
  FAB.
Image Expos'd to Sale. 446
Impertinent and a Philosopher. 327
Impertinent Doctor and Patient. 205
Impostor to the Oracle. 86
Industry and Sloth. 352
Joy and Sorrow near a-kin. 433
Jupiter and an Ape. 213
Jupiter and a Bee. 125
Jupiter and a Serpent. 138
Jupiter and Frauds. 183
Jupiter and Modesty. 184
Jupiter's Wedding. 185
Jupiter and a Herds-man. 200
Jupiter's Altar Robb'd. 385
Jupiter and a Farmer. 435
Jupiter's Two Wallets. 388
K
  FAB.
Kite Sick and her Mother. 17
Kite, Hawk and Pigeons. 20
King and a Rich Subject. 389
Kingsfisher. 167
L
  FAB.
Lark and her Young. 52
Lark in a Net. 145
Lapwing Preferr'd. 297
Lad Robbing an Orchard. 342
Large Promises. 111
Lamb, Wolfe and Goat. 384
Laconique Try'd and Cast. 492
Lady in Tears for a Set of Horses. 496
[Page [unnumbered]] Luck Good and Bad. 230
Lyon and Bear. 5
Lyon Old. 14
Lyon and Mouse. 16
Lyon and Frog. 202
Lyon and Goat. 210
Lyon and Bulls. 236
Lyon and Man. 240
Lyon and Mouse. 303
Lyon and Hog. 344
Lyon and Bull. 120
Lyon in Love. 121
Lyon, Fox and Wolfe. 156
Lyon and Man in the Wood. 430
Lyon, Boar and Vulturs. 456
Lyon Generous. 472
Lyon Raging. 412
M
  FAB.
Man and Satyr. 243
Man Wicked and the Devil. 308
One that Cur'd Mad-men. 368
Man and Weazle. 441
Man and a Swallow. 127
Man and a Wooden God. 105
Man and the Picture of a Lyon. 100
Man and Two Wives. 141
Unhappy Match. 173
Young Fellow about to Marry. 425
Matchiavel Condemn'd. 493
Mercury and Fishermen. 377
Mercury and a Traveller. 97
Mercury and a Carpenter. 128
Mercury and a Statuary. 170
Mercury and Tiresias. 171
Merchant and a Sea-man. 390
Mice and Oak. 287
Mice, Cat and Bell. 391
Millar and Ratt. 500
Miser burying his Gold. 146
Miser and his Bags. 351
Miser and Rotten Apples. 458
Mountain in Labour. 23
Mountebank and Bear. 478
No to Morrow. 495
Mouse in a Chest. 255
Mouse City and Country. 11
Mouse and Kite. 321
Mole and her Dam. 136
Moon begs a New Gown. 425
Mule Boasting. 418
Musician 176
N
  FAB.
Nightingale and Hawk. 343
Nightingale and Bat. 462
One would hear no Ill News. 457
Nurse and Wolfe. 219
O
  FAB.
Oak and Reed. 215
Old Fellow and Young Wench. 278
Owl and Lirtle Birds. 379
Owl and the Sun. 434
Ox and Heifer. 249
Oxen and Timber. 294
Oxen and a piece of Timber. 265
One carry'd his Plough to Ease his  
Oxen. 373
P
  FAB.
Peacock to Iuno. 80
Peacock and Pye. 204
Peacock and Crane. 234
Peach, Apple, and Black-berry. 135
Pigeon and Pye. 260
Pigeon and Picture. 196
Pigeon and Crow. 197
Pigeons Reconcile the Hawks. 347
Pike sets up for Sovereignty. 334
Plain Horse wins the Prize. 339
One that Lost his Money at Play. 370
Priest and Pears. 298
Priest and Epiphany. 364
Priest and Sick-man. 367
Two Pots. 229
R
  FAB.
Raven and Wolves. 381
Raven and Swan. 160
Rats that Eat Copper. 451
Raven and Snake. 180
Reason of State. 482
River Fish and Sea Fish. 251
River and Fountain. 307
[Page [unnumbered]] Rich Man would be no Richer. 400
Rich Man and Poor. 468
Rich Man and Servant. 282
S
  FAB.
Satyr and Fire. 471
Sea-men Praying to Saints. 272
Sheep and Crow. 77
Sheep-biter Hang'd. 330
Sheep Quarrels with the Shepherd. 335
Shepherd turn'd Merchant. 99
Shepherd and Wolves Whelp. 155
Shepherd and Sheep. 199
Shepherd, Wolfe and Fox. 443
Shipwrack of Simonides. 476
Smith and his Dog. 117
Snake and File. 44
Snake to Iupiter. 285
Snake and Crab. 154
Soldiers and Two Horses. 292
Son Singing at's Mother's Funeral. 311
Sow and Dog. 152
Sow and Bitch. 153
Two Soldiers go Halves. 429
The Incorrigible Son. 329
Spider and Goat. 388
Spaniel and Sow 293
Stag Drinking. 43
Stag and Oxen. 53
Stag and Horse. 57
Stag with One Eye. 147
Stag and Lyon. 148
Sun and Wind. 223
Swallow and Other Birds. 18
Swallow and Spider. 258
Swan and Stork. 267
Swan and Goose. 158
Swallow and Crow. 161
T.
  FAB.
Taylor and his Wife. 354
A Tavern Bill paid with a Song. 365
Thrush taken with Birdlime. 49
Thrush and Swallow. 65
Thunny and Dolphin. 90
Thieves that Stole a Cock. 177
Tree and Wedge. 47
Old Tree Transplanted. 82
Trees Streight and Crooked. 266
Travellers and a Bag of Money. 164
Travellers by the Sea-side. 189
Two Travellers of Differing Humors. 393
Two Travellers find and Oyster. 411
A Bragging Traveller. 85
Travellers Dreaming. 481
Trumpeter taken Prisoner. 67
Tyger and Fox. 235
V.
  FAB.
Usurers and Curryers. 392
Vulturs Invitation. 211
W.
  FAB.
Wax and Brick. 304
Wasps in a Honey-Pot. 126
Wasps, Patridges and Husbandman. 137
Old Weazle and Mice. 81
Wench parting with her Sweet-heart. 269
A Creaking Wheel. 339
The Inconsolable Widow. 268
An Old Man gives over Whoring. 326
Widow had a mind to Marry. 283
Wife and Drunken Husband. 157
Wolfe and Lamb. 3
Wolfe and Crane. 8
Wolfe and Sow. 22
Wolfe, Kid and Goat. 28
Wolfe and Fox. 42
Wolves and Sheep League. 45
Wolves and Dogs agree. 394
Wolfe, Lamb and Goat. 60
Wolfe and Kid. 207
Wolfe and Procupine. 320
Wolfe and Sheep-skin. 328
Wolfe and Lyon. 130
Wolfe and Kid. 174
Wolfe and Sheep. 186
Wolfe turn'd Shepherd. 395
Wolfe turns Religious. 436
Wolfe and Fox. 467
Wolfe and Hog. 469
Wolfe and a Weak Young Man. 341
A Trepanning Wolfe. 499
[Page [unnumbered]] A Woman and her Maids. 209
An Old Woman and the Devil. 282
A Woman would Dye for her Husband. 310
A Woman brought Fire into the House. 348
A Woman and a Fat Hen. 87
Woman and Two Daughters. 198
A Woman Drown'd. 355
Woman Trusted with a Secret. 427
Woman and Thrushes. 428
Woman, Cat and Mice. 442
Woman Reviv'd with Beating. 452

 


 

[Page [unnumbered]]

ERRATA.

FAB. 29. l. Penult. for into r. in. p. 85. l. 17. dele When People, p. 98. l. 13. dele it seems, p. 104. l. 7. for me thee, r. sue me, p. 127. l. 5. r. in debt. p. 132. l. 13. for The r. This Freak, p. 136. 3. Lines from the Bottom, for Noise-Blustring, r. Noisy, Blustring, p. 151. l. 8. for In r. On, p. 159. l. 19. r. Tracing, l. 21. Things, p. 163. l. 19. Thing, p. 165. l. 21. for once r. one, p. 174. l. 4. for drop r. dropt, p. 178. l. 10. r. World. p. 196. l. 13. Poltron. p. 231. l. 13. for Leaner, r. Lean, p. 247. l. 8. for Fable, r. Table, p. 253. l. 4. for Engag'd, r. Enrag'd, p. 286. dele of the Two Fables above, p. 296. l. 10. for Last, r. Left, p. 336. l. 10. for ofter, r. after, p. 373. l. 3. for Advice, r. Advise, p. 373. 2 Lines from the Bottom, r. Advanc'd, p. 381. l. 10. for Height, r. Weight, p. 385. l. 16. after Why, r. how comes, &c. p. 389. 4 Lines from the Bottom, r. a Lasche Demission, p. 396. l. 10. from the Bottom, r. and Consume, &c. p. 470. l. 7. from the Bottom, for Ye, r. Yea, p. 473. l. 10. for Uncertainty, r. Necessary, and for of Christian, r. of a Christian, p. 479. l. 12. for Reaks, r. Freaks. Pref. p. 3. l. 9. for Plisick'd r. Phisick'd.

The Reader will Observe some Literal Mistakes also, wherein the Sense of the Matter will Direct him: And the Printing of This Book in several Houses hath Occasion'd some Disorder in the Pages, but none in the Fables, to which the Alphabetical Index refers.

 


 

[Page 1]

THE LIFE OF AESOP.

CAP. I. Of Aesop's Countrey, Condition, and Person.

AESOP (according to Planudes, Camerarius and Others) was by birth, of Ammorius a Towne in the Greater Phrygia; (though some will have him to be a Thracian, others a Samian) of a mean Condition, and in his person deformed, to the highest degree: Flat-Nos'd Hunch-Back'd, Blobber-Lipp'd; a Long Missshapen Head; His Body Crooked all over, Big-Belly'd, Baker-Legg'd, and his Complexion so swarthy, that he took his very Name from't; for Aesop is the same with Aethiop. And he was not only Unhappy in the most scandalous Figure of a Man that ever was heard of; but he was in a manner Tongue-Ty'd too, by such an Impediment in his speech, that People could very hardly understand what he said. This Imperfection is said, to have been the most sensible part of his Misfortune; for the Excellency of his Mind might otherwise have Attoned in some Measure, for the Uncouth [Page 2] Appearance of his Person (at least if That Part of his History may pass for Current.) There goes a Tradition, that he had the good hap to Relieve certain Priests that were Hungry, and out of their way, and to set them Right again, and that for that good Office, he was, upon their Prayers, brought to the Use of his Tongue: But Camerarius whom I shall Principally follow, has no Faith in the Miracle, And so he begins his History with the tracing of him to Samos, and from thence Prosecutes it through the most Remarkable Passages of his Life, to the Last Barbarous Violence upon him at Delphos. As to his Impediment in his speech, whether there were any such thing or Not, or how he came to be cur'd of it, the Reader is at Liberty what to Believe and what Not. And so likewise for Twenty Other Passages up and down this History; Some of them too Triviall, and others too Gross to be taken Notice of, Upon this Argument and Occasion: Let it suffice, that (according to the Common Tradition) he had been Alreadie Twice Bought and Sold; and so we shall Date the Story of his Adventures; from his Entrance into the Service of at least a Third Master.

As to the Age he liv'd in, it is Agreed upon among the Ancients, that it was when Croesus Govern'd Lydia; as also that Xanthus, a Samian, was his Master. Herodotus will have it to be one Iadmon, a Samian too; but still according to the Current of most Writers, Xanthus was the Man.

CAP. II. Aesop and his Fellow-slaves Upon their Iourny to Ephesus.

IT was Aesop's Fortune to be sent to Ephesus, in Company with other Slaves to be sold. His Master had a great many Burdens to Carry, and Aesop begg'd of his Companions not to over Charge him. They found him a Weakling, and bad him please himself. The Parcel that he Pitch'd upon was a Panyer of Bread; and twice as heavy as any of the rest. They called him a thousand Fools for his pains, and so took up their Luggage, and away they Trudg'd together. About Noon, they had their Dinner deliver'd out of Aesop's Basket, which made his Burden Lighter [Page 3] by one half in the Afternoon, than it had been in the Morning: And after the next Meal he had Nothing left him to Carry, but an Empty Basket. His Fellow-Slaves began Now to Understand, that Aesop was not so Arrant a Fool as they took him for; and that they Themselves had not half the Wit they Thought they had.

CAP. III. The Sale of Aesop to Xanthus.

UPON the Merchants Arrival at Ephesus, he made a quick Riddance of All his Slaves but Three. That is to say, a Musician, an Orator, and Aesop. He dress'd up the Two Former in Habits answerable to their Profession, and Carry'd them to Samos, as the Likelyest Place for a Chapman. He shew'd them there in the open Market, with Aesop for a Fool betwixt them; which some People took much offence at. While they were attending upon the Place, there came among other Samians, one Xanthus an Eminent Philosopher of that City, with a Train of his Disciples at his Heels. The Philosopher was mightily pleased with the Two Youths, and ask'd them one after another about their Profession, and what they could do. The one told him he could do any thing, the other that he could do ev'ry thing; and this set Aesop a laughing at em. The Philosophers Pupils would Needs know what it was that made Aesop so merry. Why says he, if the Question had been put by your Master, I should have told him the reason of it.

Xanthus in the mean time was beating the Price of the Two other Slaves, but the Terms were so high, that he was just upon turning about to go his way, Only his Pupils would needs have him put the same Questions first to the Ill favour'd Fellow, that he had done to the other Two; and so Xanthus, for the Humour sake, Interrogated Aesop what He could do. Nothing at all, says he. How comes That says the Philosopher? My Companions, says the Other, Undertakes every thing, and there's Nothing left for me to do. This gave them to Understand, that the Man knew well Enough what he say'd, and what he Laugh'd at. Well! says Xanthus, but if I should give Money for you Now, would you be Good and Honest? I'le be That, says Aesop whether you [Page 4] Buy me or No. Ay but tell me again says the Philosopher, Wo'nt you run away? Pray says Aesop, did you ever hear of a Bird in a Cage that told his Master he Intended to make his Escape? Xanthus was well enough pleased with the Turn and Quickness of his Wit; but says he, That Unlucky Shape of yours will set People a Hooting and Gaping at you whereever you go. A Philosopher says Aesop should Value a man for his Mind, Not for his Body. This presence of Thought gave Xanthus a High Opinion of the Wisdom of the Man; and so he bad the Merchant set him his Lowest Price of That Miserable Creature. Why says he, you had as good Cheapen a Dunghill; but if you'l bid me like a Chapman for either of the Other Two, you shall have this Phantome into the Bargaine. Very good says the Philosopher; and without any more ado what's your selling Price? The Merchant speaks the Word, The Philosopher pays the Money, and takes Aesop away with him.

CAP. IV. Xanthus Presents Aesop to his Wife.

XANTHUS had no sooner made his Purchase, and carry'd his Jewel home with him, but, having a kind of a Nice Froward Piece to his Wife, the Great Difficulty was how to put her in humour for the Entertainment of this Monster, without throwing the House out at the Window. My Dear, says he, You have been often complaining of Careless Servants; And I have bought you one Now that I am Confident will fit your Turn. He shall Go and Come and Waite and do Every thing as you would have him; Oh, your Servant Sweet heart says she, but what did he Cost you? Why Truly very Reasonable; but at present He's a Little Tann'd and out of case you must know, with his Journy, says the Husband, and so he Order'd him to be Call'd in. The Cunning Gipsy smoak'd the Matter presently. Some Monster says she, I'le be Hanged else. Wife, Wife, says Xanthus If you are a good Woman That that Pleases Me Must Please You too. While These Words were between his Lips, up comes Aesop towards them, she gave him a Fierce Look, and Immediately discharg'd her Choler upon her Husband. Is this a Man, or a Beast? says she, and what Clearer Proofe in the World Could You have [Page 5] given me Now, of an Insufferable Hatred and Contempt? Aesop said not one Word all This While; 'till Xanthus Rowzd him with a Reproof. Oh Villain! says he; to have a Tongue and Wit at Will upon All other Occasions, and not one Diverting Syllable Now at a Pinch, to Pacify your Mistress! Aesop, after a short Pause upon't, Bolted out an old Greek Saying, which is in English to this Effect, From Lying at the Mercy of Fire, Water, and a Wicked Woman, Good Lord Deliver us. If the Wife was heartily angry before, This Scomm made her Stark Mad, and the Reproche was so Cutting too, that Xanthus himself did not well know how to take it. But Aesop, brought himself off again from the Malice of any ill Intention, by a Passage out of Euripides to this Purpose. The Raging of a Tempestuous Sea; The Fury of a Devouring Fire, and the Pinching Want of Necessaries for Life; are Three Dreadful Things, and a Body might reckon up a Thousand more; but all this is Nothing to the Terrible Violences of an Impetuous Woman, and therefore says he, Make your selfe as Glorious on the other side, in the Rank of Good Women. Vavasor the Jesuite, in his De Ludicrâ Dictione, takes Notice of a Blunder here in the Chronology of the Story. For Aesop was Murder'd at least Fourscore Yeares before Euripides was Born. But to follow the Thrid of the Relation; Upon this Oblique Admonition, the Woman came to her self again, And took Aesop into her good Graces, who render'd his Master and Mistress All the Offices of a Faithful Servant.

CAP. V. Aesop's Answer to a Gard'ner.

SOME Two or Three Dayes after the Encounter above mentioned, Xanthus took Aesop a long with him to a Garden to buy some Herbs, and the Gard'ner seeing him in the Habit of a Philosopher, told him the Admiration he was in, to find how much faster Those Plants shot up that Grow of their own Accord, then Those that he set Himself, though he took never so much Care about them. Now you that are a Philosopher, Pray will you tell me the meaning of This? Xanthus had no better answer at hand, then to tell him, That Providence would have it so: Whereupon Aesop brake out into a Loud Laughter. Why how now Ye slave You, says Xanthus, what do you Laugh at? Aesop [Page 6] took him aside and told him, Sr I Laugh at your Master, that Taught You no better: for what signifies a Gen'ral Answer to a Particular Question? And 'tis no News Neither that Providence orders All Things: But if you'l turn him over to me, You shall see I'le give him another sort of Resolve. Xanthus told the Gard'ner, that it was below a Philosopher to Busy his head about such Trifles; but says he, If you have a Curiosity to be better Inform'd, you should do well to ask my Slave here, and see what he le say to you. Upon This, the Gard'ner put the Question to Aesop, Who gave him this Answer. The Earth is in the Nature of a Mother to what She brings forth of her Self out of her own Bowels; Whereas She is only a kind of a Step Dame, in The Production of Plants that are Cultivated and Assisted by The Help and Industry of Another: so that it's Natural for her, to Withdraw her Nourishment from the One, towards The Reliefe of the Other. The Gard'ner, upon this, was so well satisfied, That he would take no Mony for his Herbs, and desired Aesop to make Use of his Garden for the future, as if it were his own.

There are several Stories in Planudes, that I shall pass over in this Place (says Camerarius) as not worth the while: Particularly The Fables of the Lentills, the Bath, the Sows Feet, and several Little Tales and Jests that I take to be neither well Layd, nor well put together; Neither is it any matter, in Relations of this Nature, Whether they be True or False, but if they be Proper and Ingenious; and so contriv'd, that the Reader or the Hearer may be the better for them, That's as much as is required: Wherefore I shall now Commit to Writing Two Fables or Stories, One about the bringing his Mistress home again, when she had left her Husband; Which is drawn from the Modell of a Greek History set out by Pausanias in his Description of Beotia; The Other, upon the Subject of a Treat of Neates Tongues, which was taken from Bias, as we have it from Plutarch in his Convivium Septem Sapientum.

[Page 7]

CAP. VI. Aesop's Invention to bring his Mistress back again to her Husband, after she had Left him.

THE Wife of Xanthus was well-born and wealthy, but so Proud and Domineering withall, as if her Fortune and her Extraction had Entituled her to the Breeches. She was Horribly Bold, Medling, and Expensive; (as that sort of Women commonly are) Easily put off the Hooks, and Monstrous hard to be pleased again: Perpetually chattering at her Husband, and upon All occasions of controversy, Threatning him to be gone. It came to this at Last, That Xanthus's stock of Patience being quite spent, he took up a Resolution of going another way to Work with her, and of trying a Course of Severity, since there was nothing to be done with her by Kindness. But this Experiment, instead of mending The matter, made it worse; for upon harder Usage, The Woman grew Desperate, and went away from him in Earnest. She was as Bad 'tis true as Bad might well be, and yet Xanthus had a kind of Hankering for her still: Beside that there was matter of Interest in the Case: and a Pestilent Tongue she had, that the Poor Husband Dreaded above all things Under the Sun: but the man was willing however to make the Best of a Bad Game, and so his Wits and his Friends were set at Work, in the fairest Manner that Might be, to get her home again. But there was No good to be done in't it seems; and Xanthus was so visibly out of Humour upon't, that Aesop in Pure Pity bethought himself Immediately how to Comfort him. Come Master (says he) Pluck up a good heart; for I have a Project in my Noddle that shall bring my Mistress to you back again, with as good a Will as ever she went from you. What does me Aesop, but away Immediately to the Market among the Butchers, Poulterers, Fishmongers, Confectioners, &c. for the Best of Every thing that was in Season. Nay he takes private People in his way too, and Chopps into the very house of his Mistresses Relations, as by Mistake. This Way of Proceeding set the whole Towne a Gog to know the Meaning of all this Bustle, and Aesop innocently told every body That his Masters Wife was run away from him, and he had Marry'd another: His Friends up and down were all Invited to come and make Merry with him, and This was to be the Wedding Feast. The News flew like Lightning, and happy were they could carry the First Tydings of [Page 8] it to the Run-away-Lady: (for every body knew Aesop to be a Servant in That Family.) It Gathered in the Rolling, as all Other Stories do in the Telling: Especially where Womens Tongues and Passions have the Spreading of them. The Wife, that was in her Nature Violent, and Unsteady, order'd her Chariot to be made readie Immediately, and away she Posts back to her Husband: falls upon him with Outrages of Looks and Language; and after the Easing of her mind a Little; No Xanthus, says she, Do not you Flatter your selfe with the hopes of Enjoying another Woman while I am Alive. Xanthus look'd upon this as one of Aesop's Master pieces; and for that Bout All was well again betwixt Master and Mistress.

CAP. VII. An Entertainment of Neates Tongues.

SOME few dayes after the Ratification of This Peace, Xanthus Invited several Philosophers of his Acquaintance to Supper with him; and Charges Aesop to make the Best Provision he could think of, for their Entertainment. Aesop had a Wit waggish Enough, and This General Commission furnished him with Matter to work upon. So soon as ever the Guests were set down at the Table, Xanthus calls for Supper, and Expected no less then a very Splendid Treat. The First Service was Neates Tongues sliced, which the Philosophers took Occasion to Discourse and Quibble upon in a Grave Formall way, as The Tongue (for the purpose) is the Oracle of Wisdom, and the like. Xanthus, upon This, calls for a Second Course, and after That for a Third, and so for a Fourth, which were All Tongues, over and over again still, only severall wayes Dressed: Some Boyl'd, Others Fry'd, and some again serv'd up in Soupe, which put Xanthus into a Furious Passion. Thou Villain, says he, Is this according to my order, to have Nothing but Tongues upon Tongues? Sr says Aesop, without any hesitation, Since it is my Ill fortune to fall under this Accusation, I do Appeale to All These Learned Persons, whether I have done Well, or Ill, and pay'd that Respect to your Order which I ought to do.

Your order was, That I should make the Best Provision that I could think of for the Entertainment of These Excellent Persons, [Page 9] and if the Tongue be the Key that Leads Us into All Knowledge, what could be more proper and suitable then a Feast of Tongues for a Philosophicall Banquet?

When Xanthus found the Sence of the Table to be on Aesop's side; Well my Friends says he; Pray will You Eate with me to Morrow, And I'le try If I can mend your Chear; and Mr Major Domo, says he to Aesop, let it be the Care of your Gravity and Wisdome to Provide us a Supper to Morrow, of the very worst Things You can Think of.

CAP. VIII. A Second Treat of Tongues.

XANTHUS's Guests met again The Next day according to The Appointment; and Aesop had provided them the very same Services of Tongues and Tongues over and over, As they had the night before. Sirrah (says Xanthus to his Servant) what's the Meaning of This; That Tongues should be the Best of Meats One Day, and the Worst the Other? Why Sr says he, There is not any Wickedness under the Sun, That the Tongue has not a part in. As Murders, Treasons, Violence, Injustice, Frauds, and All Manner of Lewdness: for Councells must be first Agitated, The Matter in Question Debated, Resolv'd upon, and Communicated by Words, before the Malice comes to be executed in Fact. Tongue Whether wilt Thou! (says the Old Proverb) I go to Build (says the Tongue,) and I goe to pull downe.

This Petulant Liberty of Aesop, Gall'd his Master to the very Soul of him, and one of the Guests, to Help forward his Evil Humour; Cry'd out, This Fellow is enough to make a Body Mad. Sr (says Aesop) you have very Little Business to doe of your own I perceive, by the Leizure you have to Intermeddle in Other Peoples Matters; You would find some other Employment else, then to Irritate a Master against his Servant.

[Page 10]

CAP. IX. Aesop brings his Master a Guest That had no sort of Curiosity in him.

XANTHUS laid hold of the Present Occasion, and was willing enough to be furnished with a Staffe to beat a Dog. Well Sirrah, says he, since this Learned Gentleman is too Curious; go you your way's and find me out a Man that has no Curiosity at All, Or I'le Lace your Coate for ye. Aesop, the next day, Walked the whole Towne over on This Errand; and at Last, found out a Slovenly Lazy Fellow, Lolling at his Ease, as if he had Nothing to do, or to take care for; and so up to him he went in a Familiar Way, and Invited him to his Masters to Supper. The Clown made no Ceremony of promising, but fell Presently to asking what kind of Man his Master was? And what, says he, are we going just now? (for this Poor Devill looked upon a Meales Meat Gratis, as a Blessing Dropt into his Mouth out of the Skies) Come (says Aesop) we are going this very Moment; and Wonderfully Glad he was to find by the Booby's Discourse, That he had met with a Man so fit for his Purpose. Away they went together, and so strait into the Parlour, where the Blockhead Throws Himselfe downe Dirty and Beastly as he was, Upon a Rich Couch. After a very little While, in comes Xanthus to Supper, and asks Aesop who That Man was? Why This is the Man, says Aesop, that you sent me for; that is to say a Man that has no Curiosity in him at All. Oh that's very well, says Xanthus, and then told his Wife in her eare, That if she would but be a Loving and Obedient Wife to him, and do as he bad her, he would now save her Longing, for, says he, I have been a Great while Seeking for an Occasion to pick a Quarrell with Aesop, and I have found it at last. After this Whisper, Xanthus takes a Turn in the Parlour, and calls aloud to his Wife. Heark ye Sweet Heart, says he, go fetch some Water, and Wash the Feet of my Guest here. Away she goes, brings a Bason to the side of the Couch, where the Clown was lay'd at his Length, and bad him put forth his Feet for her to Wash them. Xanthus Little thought he would have done it. But the Clown, after a Little Stumble within himself, that 'twas fitter for the Maid to do't, then the Mistress; Well says he, If it be the Custome of the Family, 'tis [Page 11] not for me to be against it: and so he stretch'd forth his Feet to the Washing.

So soon as ever the Company had taken off the Edge of their Stomachs; Xanthus calls for a Bumper, and puts it into the hands of the Clown, making No doubt but he would have Allowed his Host the Honor of being his Taster. The Fellow, without any Scruple, Whips up the Drink, and gives Xanthus the Pott again Empty, who was now the Second Time Disappointed upon the Matter of Curiosity, or No Curiosity At All. He had a Mind still to be upon Poor Aesop's bones, and made another Tryal of the Humour of his Guest. There was a particular Dish that the Clown fed very Heartily upon: Xanthus fell into a Rage against the Cook for the Ill-Dressing of it, and Threatned to have him brought and Lash'd in the very Parlour. The Bumpkin took no Notice of it at All, but without Speaking one Word on the Cooks Behalf; It was Nothing to him he thought, what other People did with their Servants.

They were come Now to their Cakes and Pyes, and the Clown Guttled Upon them without mercy. Xanthus Resolves then upon Another Tryal; Calls for his Pastry-Cook and tells him, Sirrah, says he, you spoile every thing that goes through your hands. There's neither Spice, nor any other Seasoning here. The Cook told him, That if they were either Over or Under-Bak'd, it was his Fault; But for the Spice and Seasoning, it was his Mistresses, for it was All put in that she Deliver'd. Nay Wife, says Xanthus, if it sticks there, By All that's Sacred, I'le Treat you no better then if you were a Slave bought with my Mony. Wherefore Strip Immediately and Prepare for a Dog-Whip. Xanthus thought with himself; that If any thing in the World could move this Barbarous Brute, he would have put in a Word at Least to save a Woman of Honour from so Scandalous an Indignity, But says this Loggerhead to himself; There's an old saying; What have Wee to do to Quench other Peoples Fires? And Ile e'en keep my selfe Clear of Other Peoples Matters; Only he took Xanthus by the Hand indeed, and told him if he would but Stay a Little, he'd go fetch his own Wife too, and so they might take the Lash by Turns. In one word, Xanthus missed his Aim at last; and though he was troubled at the Miscarriage, he could not but Laugh yet at the Simplicity of the Man, and Confess, that Aesop was in the Right, in bringing a Person to him that had no Curiosity at all.

[Page 12]

CAP. X. Aesop's Answer to a Magistrate.

IT happened some few days after the Last Passage above, that Xanthus, having some Business at the Publick Hall, sent Aesop to see if there were any Great Throng of Men there; A Magistrate meets him Upon the Way, and Asks him whether he was going? Why truly, says Aesop, I am going I know not whither. The Magistrate took it that he Banterd him, and bad an Officer take him into Custody and Carry him to Prison. Well, says Aesop, to the Magistrate; Is it not true Now, that I did not know Whither I was going? Can you Imagine, that when I came out of the house this Morning, I had any thoughts of going to Prison? The Magistrate was well enough pleased at the fancy, and Discharg'd him Upon it, and so he went forward to the Hall; Where among a world of People, he saw one Man arrest another upon an Action of Debt. The Debtor Pleaded Poverty; but if he would Compound for halfe, it should go hard but he'd make a Shift to Pick it up, he said. Well with all my Heart, says the Creditor, Lay down the Mony upon the Nail, and the Business is done: for a man had better Content himself with Halfe, then Lose All, And I reckon that Mony as good as lost, that a Man must go to Law for; Aesop upon this, went back and told his Master, that he had been at the Hall, and saw but one Man there; This was a Riddle to Xanthus; Insomuch that he went himselfe to Learn the Truth of the Matter. When he came to the Place, he found the Court extremely Thronged, and turning short upon Aesop, in great Indignation, Sirrah, says he, are All these People come since you told me there was but one Man here? 'Tis very true, says Aesop, There was a Huge Crowd, and yet but one Man that I could see in That vast Multitude. This seems to be taken out of the Life of Diogenes.

[Page 13]

CAP. XI. Xanthus undertakes to Drink the Sea dry.

THERE happened not Long after This, to be a Merry Meeting of Philosophers; and Xanthus, one of the Company. Xanthus had alreadie gotten a Cup too much; and Aesop finding they were like to set out his hand; Sir, says he, 'tis the Humour of Bacchus, they say, first to make men Cheerfull, and when they are past That, to make 'em Drunk, and in the Conclusion, to make them Mad. Xanthus took Offence at Aesop; and told him, That was a Lecture for Children. (Laertius makes this to be the saying of Anacharsis) The Cupps went round, and Xanthus by this Time had taken his Load, who was mightily given to talk in his Drink; and whatever was uppermost, out it came, without either Fear or Wit. One of the Company observing the weak side of the Man, took the Opportunity of Pumping him with several Questions. Xanthus (says he) I have read somewhere, that it is Possible for a Man to Drink the Sea Dry; but I can hardly believe it. Why says Xanthus, Ile venture my House and Land upon't, that I do't my selfe. They Agreed upon the Wager, and presently off went their Rings to Seal the Conditions. But Early the next Morning, Xanthus missing his Ring, thought it might be slipt off his Finger, and asked Aesop about it. Why truly, says Aesop, I can say Nothing to the Loosing of your Ring; But I can tell you that you Lost your House and Land last night: and so Aesop told him the Story on't, which his Master it seems had utterly forgotten. Xanthus began now to Chew upon the Matter, and it went to the Heart of him to consider, That he could neither do the thing, nor yet get quit of his Bonds. In this trouble of Thoughts he Consults Aesop, (whose advice before he had rejected) what was to be done in the Case. I shall never forget, says Xanthus, how much I owe you for your Faithful Services; and so with fair Words Aesop was prevailed upon to Undertake the bringing of him off. 'Tis Impossible to doe the thing (says he) but if I can find a way to Dissolve the Obligation, and to gaine you Credit by it over and Above, That's the Point I suppose that will do your business. The Time appointed, says Aesop, is now at hand, Wherefore do you set a bold face upon it, and goe to the [Page 14] Sea side with all your Servants and your Trinkets about you, and put on a Countenance, that you are just Now about to make good your Undertaking. You'l have Thousands of Spectators there, and When they are got together, let the Form of the Agreement and the Conditions be read, Which runs to this Effect. That you are to Drink up the Sea by such a Certain Time, or to forfeit your House and Land, upon Such or Such a Consideration. When This is done, call for a Great Glass, and let it be filled with Sea-Water, in the Sight of the Whole Multitude: Hold it up then in your Hand, and say as Follows. You have heard Good People, what I have Undertaken to do, and upon what Penalty if I do not go Through with it. I confess the Agreement, and the Matter of Fact as you have heard it; and I am now about to drink up the Sea; not the Rivers that run into't. And therefore let All the Inlets be Stopt, that there be Nothing but pure Sea left me to drink, And I am now ready to perform my part of the Agreement, But for any drinking of the Rivers, There is nothing Of that in the Contract. The People found it so clear a Case, That they did not only agree to the Reason and Justice of Xanthus's Cause, but hissed his Adversary out of the Field; Who in the Conclusion made a Publique Acknowledgment, that Xanthus was the Wiser and Better Man of the Two; But desired the Contract might be made voyd, and offer'd to Submit Himselfe further to such Arbitrators as Xanthus Himselfe should direct. Xanthus was so well pleased with the Character his Adversary had given him, of a Wise Man, That All was Passed over, And a finall End made of the Dispute. Plutarch makes this to have be'n the Invention of Bias.

[Page 15]

CAP. XII. Aesop Baffles the Superstition of Augury.

IN the days of Aesop, The World was mightily addicted to Augury; that is to say, to the Gathering of Omens from the Cry and Flight of Birds. Upon this Account it was, that Xanthus one Day sent Aesop into the Yard, and bad him look well about him. If you see Two Crows (says he) you'l have good Luck after it, but if you should Chance to spye One Crow Single, 'tis a Bad Omen, and some Ill will betide you. Aesop stept out and came Immediately back again, and told his Master that he had seen Two Crows. Hereupon Xanthus went out himself, and finding but One, (for the Other was flown away) he fell Outragiously upon Aesop for making Sport with him, And order'd him to be soundly Lash'd for't, but just as they were stripping him for the Execution, In comes One to Invite Xanthus abroad to Supper. Well Master, says Aesop, and where's the Credit of your Augury Now? When, I that saw Two Crows, am to be beaten like a Dog, and You that saw but One, are going to make merry with your Friends? The Reason and Quickness of this Reflexion, Pacified the Master for the Present, and saved the Poor Fellow a sound Whipping.

CAP. XIII. Aesop finds hidden Treasure.

AS Xanthus was Walking once among certain Monuments, with Aesop at his Heels; and Plodding upon several Epitaphs, there was one Inscription in Greek Letters, that Xanthus with all the Skill he had, could not tell what to make of. Well, says Aesop, let me see a Little If I can Uncypher it. And so after laying Things and Things together a While, Master, says he, What will you give me, If I find you out a Pott of Hidden Treasure now? One Halfe of it, says Xanthus, and your Liberty. So Aesop fell to Digging, a Matter of four Yards from the Stone that had the Inscription; and there found a Pott of Gold which he took up and Delivered to his Master; and Claimed his Promise. Well, says [Page 16] Xanthus, I'le be as good as my Word; but you must first shew me how you came to know there was Treasure, by the Inscription: for I had rather be Master of That Secret, then of the very Gold it self. Aesop Innocently opened the whole Matter to him. Look you Sr, says he, Here are these Letters. α; β; δ; ω; ε; θ; χ; which are to be thus Interpreted, α stands for [Editor: Greek text] ; β for [Editor: Greek text] ; δ for [Editor: Greek text] ; ω for [Editor: Greek text] ; ε for [Editor: Greek text] ; θ for [Editor: Greek text] ; χ for [Editor: Greek text] ; In English, dig Four Paces from this Place, and you shall find Gold. Now, says Xanthus, if you are so good at finding out Gold, you and I must not part yet. Come Sir, says Aesop, (perceiving that his Master play'd Fast and Loose with him) To deal freely with you, This Treasure belongs to King Dionysius. How do you know that? says Xanthus. Why by the very Inscription, says Aesop: for in That Sence, α stands for [Editor: Greek text] ; β for [Editor: Greek text] ; δ for [Editor: Greek text] ; ω for [Editor: Greek text] ; ε for [Editor: Greek text] ; θ for [Editor: Greek text] ; χ for [Editor: Greek text] . In English, Give Dionysius the Gold you have found. Xanthus began to be affraid when he heard it was The Kings Mony, and Charged Aesop to make no Words on't, and he should have the One Halfe. 'Tis well, says Aesop; but This is not so much your own Bounty yet, as The Intention of Him that Bury'd it; for the very same Letters direct the Dividing of it. As for Example once again Now. α stands for [Editor: Greek text] ; β for [Editor: Greek text] ; δ for [Editor: Greek text] ; ω for [Editor: Greek text] ; ε for [Editor: Greek text] ; θ for [Editor: Greek text] ; χ for [Editor: Greek text] ; In English, Divide the Gold that you have found. Why then, says Xanthus, let us go home and share it. No sooner were they got Home, but Aesop was presently lay'd by the Heels, for fear of Blabbing, crying out as Loud as he could, This comes of trusting to the Faith of a Philosopher; The Reproch Nettled his Master: But however he caused his Shackles to be taken off upon't, and Admonished Aesop to keep his Licentious Tongue in a Little better Order for the future, if ever he hoped to have his Liberty. For That, says Aesop, Prophetically, I shall not Need to Beg it of you as a favour, for in a very few dayes I shall have my Freedom, whether you will or no.

[Page 17]

CAP. XIV. Aesop Expounds upon an Augury, and is made Free.

AESOP had thus far born All the Indignities of a Tedious Slavery, with the Constancy of a Wise Man, and without either Vanity or Abjection of Mind. He was not Ignorant however of his own Value; Neither did he Neglect any honest Way or Occasion of Advancing his Name and his Credit in the World; as in One Particular Instance among the Samians, on a Strange Thing that happened There upon a Very Solemn Day. The Ring, it seems, that had the Towne-Seale upon't was lay'd somewhere in Sight, Where an Eagle could come at it; She took it up in the Aire, and dropt it into the Bosome of a Slave. The Samians took this for a Fore-boding, that Threat'ned some dismal Calamity to the State, and in a general Consternation They presently called a Councell of their Wise Men; and Xanthus in the first Place, to give their Opinions upon This Mysterious Accident. They were All at a Loss what to Think on't; only Xanthus desired some few Days time for further Consideration. Upon This, he betook himselfe to his Study, and the More he Beat his Brains about it, the further he found himselfe from any hope of Expounding The Secret. This put him into a deep Melancholly; which made Aesop very Importune, and Impatient, to know the Cause of it; with Assurances, That he would serve his Master in The Affair, Whatever it was, to the Uttermost of his Power. Xanthus hereupon laid the Whole Matter before him, and told him in Conclusion, that he was not only lost in his Reputation, but in Danger to be Torn to Pieces by the Rabble. When Aesop found how the Case stood, Never Trouble your Head any further, says he, Do but follow my Advice, and I'le bring you off as well now as ever I did before. When you Appear to Morrow to give in your Answer, I would have you Speak to the People after this Manner.

I need not tell your Wisdoms, That so Many Heads so Many Minds, and so many severall Men, so many severall Conceptions of Things; Nay and further, That every severall Art, or Profession requires a Distinct Faculty or Disposition, that is more or less Peculiar to it self. It is the Custom of the World for People in All Cases where They are either Ignorant or Doubtfull, to Repair to Men that have the Reputation of [Page 18] Philosophers, for Councell and Satisfaction. But this, under favour, is a Great Mistake; for it is with Philosophers, as it is, I say, with other Arts and Professions that have their Functions a part the One from the Other. Wisdom, 'tis true, may be called properly enough the Knowledge of Things Divine and Humane, but will you therefore expect that a Philosopher should do the Office of a Shoomaker or a Barber, because the Trades are conversant about Humane Things? No No Gentlemen, a Man may be a Great Philosopher without any Skill at All in the Handling of the Awl, or the Razor. But if the Question were Concerning the Government of Life and Manners, the Nature of Things Celestial or Terrestrial; The Duties that we owe to God or Man; you could not do better then repair to Philosophers for satisfaction. But for reading upon Prodigies; or Commenting upon the Flights of Birds, or the Entrails of Beasts, These are Things quite Beside the Philosophers Business. If there be any thing you doubt of that falls under the Cognizance of Philosophy, I am ready to serve you in it; But your present Point being Augury, I shall take leave to Acquaint you that a Servant I have at home, is as likely to make a Right Iudgment that way as any Man I know. I should not Presume to name a Servant; Neither Perchance would you think fit to make use of one; If the Necessity of your present Distress, were not a very Competent and Reasonable Excuse.

Here's your Speech, says Aesop; and your Credit sav'd whether They'l hear me or Not. If they send for me, The Honour will be yours, in Case I Deliver my self to their Liking, and the Disgrace will be Mine then if I Miscarry. His Master was pleased beyond Measure with the Advice, but he did not as yet Understand Whether it Tended.

Xanthus Presented himselfe Early the next Morning before the Councell, Where he Dilated Upon The Matter according to his Instructions, and so referr'd Them to his Servant for the Clearing of the Difficulty. The People with one Voyce cry'd out Where is he? Why does he not Appear? Why has not his Master Brought him along with him? In short, Aesop was Immediately fetch'd into the Court, and at the very First Sight of him, They All burst out a Laughing by Consent. This Fellow, says one, may have Skill perhaps in Divining, but he has Nothing that's Humane about him. Another asked Where he was Born, and whether or no Blocks had the Faculty of Speech in his Country. Aesop, upon This, Address'd himselfe to the Councell.

You have here before ye, (says Aesop) an Ungracious Figure of a Man, which in truth is not a Subject for your Contempt, Nor is it a Reasonable Ground for your Despaire, upon the Matter in Question. One [Page 19] Wise Man values Another for his Understanding, not for his Beauty; Beside that the Deformity of my Person is no Incapacity at All as to your Business. Did you never tast Delicious drink out of an Ill Look'd Vessell? or did you never drink Wine that was Vapid, or Eager, out of a Vessell of Gold? 'Tis Sagacity and Strength of Reason that you have Occasion for, not the force of Robust Limbs, nor the Delicacies of Colour and Proportion. Wherefore I must Beseech ye not to Iudge of My Mind by my Body, nor to Condemn me Unheard. Upon this, they All cry'd out to him, If he had any thing to say for the Common Good, That he would speak it. With your favour, says he, It is for that End I presume, that ye have called me hither, and it is with a Great Zeal for your Service, that I stand now before ye: But when I consider the Weight of the Matter in hand, and the Office That I am now to Perform, it will as little stand with your Honors Perhaps, to take the Opinion of a Slave into your Councells and Debates, as it will with my Condition to offer it. Beside the Risque I run of my Masters Displeasure upon the Event. But All This may yet be Obviated, my Fears secured, my Modesty gratify'd, and your own Dignity preserved, only by making me a Freeman before hand, to Qualify me for the Function. They All said it was a Most Reasonable Thing, and presently Treated about the Price of his Liberty, and order'd the Quaestors to pay down the Mony. When Xanthus saw that the thing must be done, He could not Decently stand Higgling about the Price; But making a Virtue of Necessity, he chose rather to Present Aesop to the Common-Wealth, then to Sell him. The Samians took it very kindly, And Aesop was Presently Manumiz'd, and made a Citizen in Form, Proclaimed a Freeman; and after this Ceremony, he Discoursed upon the Subject of the Portent as follows.

I shall not need to tell so many Wise and Knowing Men, that the Eagle is a Royal Bird, and signifies a Great King; that the Dropping of the Ring into the Bosom of a Slave that has no Power over himself, portends the Loss of Your Liberties, if you do not look to your selves in Time; And that some Potent Prince has a Design upon ye. This put the Samians all a-fire to hear the Issue of the Prediction. In some short time after there came Ambassadors from Croesus the King of Lydia, to Demand a Tribute on the Behalfe of their Master, and Threatened the Samians with a Warr in Case of a Refusal. This Affair came to be Debated in the Councell, where the Majority was rather for Peace with Slavery, then for running the Risque of a Dispute; but they would not come to a Resolution yet, without first Consulting Aesop What They had best to do; Who gave Them his Thoughts upon't in Words to This Effect.

[Page 20] Every Man in this World has Two Wayes before him, That is to say, first, The Way of Liberty, that's Narrow and Rugged at the Entrance, but plainer and Smoother still the further you go. Secondly, The Way of Servitude or Slavery, that seems to be Easie at first, but you'l find it afterwards to be full of Intolerable Difficulties. The Samians, upon These Words, Declared themselves Unanimously for Liberty, and that since they were at present Free, They would never make Themselves Slaves by their own Consent: So the Ambassadors Departed, and there was a War Denounced.

When Croesus came to Understand the Resolution the Samians had taken, and how Inclinable they were to a Complyance, 'till Aesop, by the Power only of a few words, Diverted them from it, he Resolv'd to send for and Discourse with Aesop. So He made an Offer to the Samians, upon their sending Aesop to him, to put a Stop at present to the course of his Arms. When Aesop came to hear of their Proposition, he told them That he was not against their sending of him, Provided only that he might tell them One Story before he Left them.

In Old Time, (says he) when some Beasts talked better Sence then Many Men do now a days, there happened to be a Fierce War betwixt the Wolves and the Sheep, And the Sheep, by the help of the Dogs, had rather the Better on't. The Wolves, upon This, offer'd the Sheep a Peace, on Condition only that they might have their Dogs for Hostages, The Silly credulous Sheep agreed to't, and as soon as ever they had parted with the Dogs, The Wolves brake in upon them, and Destroy'd them at pleasure. See Fab. 45.

The Samians quickly smelt out the Moral of this Fable, and cry'd out, One and All, that they would not part with Aesop: But this did not hinder Aesop however from putting himself abord, and taking a Passage for Lydia with the Ambassadors.

[Page 21]

CAP. XV. Aesop. Presents himselfe before the King of Lydia.

IMmediately Upon Aesop's Arrival in Lydia, he Presented himselfe before the King, who looking upon him with Contempt, Hatred, and Indignation; Is This a Man says he, to hinder the King of Lydia from being Master of Samos? Aesop then with a Reverence after the Lydian Fashion, deliver▪d what he had to say.

I am not here (says he, Great King) in the Quality of a Man that's Given up by his Country, or under the Compulsion of any force; But it is of my own Accord that I am now come to lay my selfe at your Majesties feet, and with this only Request, that you will vouchsafe me the Honour of your Royal Eare, and Patience but for a few words.

There was a Boy hunting of Locusts, and he had the Fortune to take a Grasshopper. She found he was about to kill her, and Pleaded after this Manner for her Life. Alas (says she) I never did any Body an Injury, and never had it either in my Will or in my Power to do't. All my Business is my Song; and what will you be the Better for my Death? The Youth's Heart relented and he set the Simple Grasshopper at Liberty.

Your Majesty has now that Innocent Creature before you: There's Nothing that I can pretend to but my Voyce, which I have ever employ'd so far as in me Lay, to the Service of Mankind. The King was so Tenderly moved with the Modesty and Prudence of the Man, That he did not only give him his Life, but bad him ask any thing further that he had a Mind to, and it should be Granted him. Why then, says Aesop, (with that Veneration, Gratitude and Respect that the Case required) I do most humbly implore your Majesties favour for my Country-Men the Samians. The King Granted him his Request, and Confirmed it under his Seale; Beside that the Piety of making that Petition his Choice, was a further Recommendation of him to his Royal Kindness and Esteem.

Aesop, soon after This, returned to Samos with the News of the Peace, where he was Wellcomed with All the Instances of Joy and Thankfulness Imaginable; Insomuch that they Erected a Statue for him, with an Inscription upon it, in Honour of his Memory. From Samos he returned afterwards to Croesus, for whose Sake he Composed several of Those Apologues that Pass in the World to This Day under his Name. His Fancy lay extremely to Travelling; [Page 22] but above All other Places, he had the Greatest Mind to see Babylon: To which End he got Letters of Recommendation from Croesus to the King there: who, according to Herodotus, was a Friend, and an Ally of Croesus's, and his Name, Labynetus; not Lycerus, as Planudes has Handed it down to us upon a Great Mistake. But his Curiosity led him first to pass through Greece, for the sake of the Seven VVise Men, whose Reputation was at That Time Famous All over the World. He had the Good Hap in his Travels to find them at Corinth, together with Anacharsis, and several of their Followers and Disciples, Where they were All Treated by Periander at a Villa of his not far off the Towne. This Encounter was to the Common Satisfaction of the Whole Company; the Entertainment Philosophical, and Agreeable, and among other Discourses, they had some Controversy upon the Subject of Government; and which was the most Excellent Form: Aesop being still for Monarchy, and the Rest for a Common-wealth. He Travell'd thence, a while after into Asia, and so to Babylon, according to his first Intention.

CAP. XVI. Aesop Adopts Ennus. Ennus's Ingratitude and Falseness, and Aesop's Good Nature.

IT was the Fashion in those Days, for Princes to Exercise Tryalls of Skill in the Putting and Resolving of Riddles, and Intricate Questions; and He that was the Best at the Clearing or Untying of Knotty Difficulties carry'd the Prize. Aesop's Faculty lay notably that way, and render'd him so serviceable to the King, that it brought him both Reputation and Reward. It was his Unhappiness to have No Children, for the Comfort and Support of his Old Age; So that with the Kings Consent, he Adopted a young Man, who was Well Born, and Ingenious enough, but Poor; His Name was Ennus. Aesop took as much care of his Institution, as if he had been his own Child, and Train'd him up in those Principles of Vertue and Knowledge that might most probably render him Great and Happy. But there's no working upon a Flagitious and Perverse Nature, by Kindness and Discipline, and tis time lost to think of Mastering so Incurable an Evil: So that Ennus, after the Manner of other Wicked Men, heaping One Villany upon [Page 23] another, Counterfeits his Fathers Name and Hand to Certain Letters, wherein he Promises his Assistance to the Neighbour Princes against Labynetus. These Letters Ennus carry's to the King, and Charges his Father with Treason, though in Appearance, with All the trouble and unwillingness that was possible, Only a Sense of his Duty to his King and to his Country, swallow'd up All other Respects of Reverence and Modesty that a Son ows to a Father. The King took All These Calumnies for Instances of Ennus's Affections to him, without the Least Suspition of any Fraud in the Matter: So that without any further Enquiry, he ordered Aesop to be put to Death. The Persons to whom the Care of his Execution was Committed, being well Assured of his Innocence, and of the Kings Ungovernable Passions, took him out of the way, and Gave it out that he was Dead. Some few Dayes after this, there came Letters to Labynetus from Antasis the King of Aegypt, wherein Labynetus was Desired by Amasis to send him a certain Architect that could raise a Tower that should Hang in the Aire, and likewise Resolve All Questions. Labynetus was at a Great Loss what answer to return, And the Fierceness of his Displeasure against Aesop being by This time somewhat Abated, he began to Enquire after him with Great Passion, and would often Profess, That if the Parting with One halfe of his Kingdom could bring him to Life again, he would Give it. Hermippus and Others that had kept him out of the Way, told the King upon the Hearing of This, That Aesop was yet Alive; so They were commanded to bring him forth; which they did, in All the Beastlyness he had Contracted in the Prison. He did no sooner Appear, but he made his Innocence so manifest, that Labynetus in Extreme Displeasure and Indignation, commanded the False Accuser to be put to Death with most Exquisite Torments; But Aesop, after All this, Interceded for him, and Obtained his Pardon, upon a Charitable Presumption, that the Sence of so Great a Goodness and Obligation would yet work upon him. Herodotus tells this Story of Cambyses the Son of Cyrus, and Croesus, and with what Joy Cambyses received Croesus again, after he was supposed to be put to death by his own Order; but Then it Varies in This, that he Caused Those to be put to Death, that were to have seen the Execution done, for not Observing his Commands.

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CAP. XVII. Aesop's Letters of Morality to his Son Ennus.

UPON Aesop's coming again into Favour, he had the King of Aegypt's Letter given him to Consider of, and Advised Labynetus to send him for Answer, That Early the next Spring he should have the Satisfaction he Desired. Things being in this State, Aesop took Ennus Home to him again, and so order'd the Matter, that he wanted neither Councells nor Instructions, nor any other Helps or Lights that might Dispose him to the Leading of a Virtuous Life, as will Appear by the Following Precepts.

  • My Son (says he) Worship God with Care and Reverence, and with a Sincerity of Heart voyd of All Hypocrisie or Ostentation: Not as if that Divine Name and Power were only an Invention, to Frigh Women and Children, but know, That God is Omnipresent, True and Allmighty.
  • Have a Care even of your Most Private Actions and Thoughts, for God sees Thorough you, and your Conscience will bear Witness against you.
  • It is according to Prudence, as well as Nature, to pay that Honour to your Parents that you Expect your Children should pay to you.
  • Do All the Good you can to All men; but in the First Place to your Nearest Relations, and do no Hurt however, where you can do no Good.
  • Keep a Guard upon your Words as well as upon your Actions, that there be no Impurity in Either.
  • Follow the Dictates of your Reason, and you are Safe; and have a Care of Impotent Affections.
  • Apply your selfe to Learn More, so long as there's any Thing Left that you do not know, and Value Good Councell before Mony.
  • Our Minds must be Cultivated as well as our Plants; The Improvement of our Reason makes us like Angells, whereas the Neglect of it turns us into Beasts.
  • There's no Permanent and Inviolable Good, but Wisdom and Virtue, though the Study of it signifies Little without the Practice.
  • Do not think it impossible to be a Wise Man, without looking Sowre upon it. Wisdom makes Men Severe, but not Inhumane.
  • It is Virtue not to be Vicious.
  • Keep Faith with All Men. Have a Care of a Lye, as you would of Sacriledge. Great Bablers have No Regard either to Honesty or Truth.
  • [Page 25] Take Delight in, and frequent the Company of Good Men, for it will give you a Tincture of their Manners too.
  • Take heed of that Vulgar Error, of thinking that there is any Good in Evil. It is a Mistake when Men talk of Profitable Knavery, or of Starving Honesty; for Virtue and Iustice carry All that is Good and Profitable along with them.
  • Let Every Man mind his own Business, for Curiosity is Restless.
  • Speak Ill of No body, and you are no more to Hear Calumnies then to Report them: Beside that, they that Practice the One, Commonly Love the Other.
  • Propose Honest Things; Follow Wholesome Councells, and Leave the Event to God.
  • Let no man Despair in Adversity, nor presume in Prosperity, for All Things are Changeable.
  • Rise Early to your Business, Learn Good Things, and Oblige Good Men; These are three Things you shall never Repent of.
  • Have a Care of Luxury and Gluttony; but of Drunkenness Especicially; for Wine as well as Age makes a Man a Child.
  • Watch for the Opportunities of doing things, for there's Nothing Well done, but what's done in Season.
  • Love and Honour Kings, Princes and Magistrates, for they are the Bands of Society, in Punishing the Guilty, and Protecting the Innocent.

These, or such as these, were the Lessons that Aesop read daily to his Son; but so far was he from mending upon Them, that he grew Every Day worse and worse, shewing that it is not in the power of Art or Discipline to Rectify a Perverse Nature, or (as Euripides says) to Make a Man Wise that has no Soul. But however, according to Neveletus, he came soon after to be Touched in Conscience for his Barbarous Ingratitude, and Dyed in a Rageing Remorse for what he had done.

The Spring was now at Hand, and Aesop was preparing for the Task he had Undertaken About the Building of a Tower in the Air, and Resolving All Manner of Questions: But I shall say no more of That Romantick part of the History, then that he went into Aegypt, and Acquitted himselfe of his Commission to Amasis with Greate Reputation. From thence back again to Labynetus, Laden with Honours and Rewards; from whom he got leave to Return into Greece; but upon Condition of Repassing to Babylon by the First Opportunity.

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CAP. XVIII. Aesop's Voyage to Delphos; his Barbarous Usage There, and his Death.

WHEN Aesop had allmost taken the Whole Tower of Greece, he went to Delphos, either for the Oracle sake, or for the sake of the VVise Men that Frequented the Place. But when he came thither, he found Matters to be quite otherwise then he expected, and so far from deserving the Reputation they had in the World for Piety and Wisdom, that he found them Proud, and Avaritious, and Hereupon Deliver'd his Opinion of Them under this Fable.

I find (says he) the Curiosity that brought me Hither, to be much the Case of People at the Sea side, that see something come Hulling toward them a great way off at Sea, and take it at first to be some Mighty Matter, but upon Driving Nearer and Nearer the Shore, it proves at last to be only a heap of VVeeds and Rubbish. See Fab. 189.

The Magistrates of the Place took Infinite Offence at this Liberty and presently enter'd into a Conspiracy against him to take away his Life, for fear he should Give them the same Character elsewhere in his Travells, that he had done there upon the Place. It was not so Safe they thought, nor so Effectual a Revenge to make him away in private; but if they could so contrive it, as to bring him to a shamefull End, under a Form of Justice, it would better answer their Business and Design. To Which Purpose they caused a Golden Cup to be secretly convey'd into his Baggage, when he was packing up to Depart. He was no sooner out of the Towne upon his Journy, But Immediately Pursued and taken upon the way by Officers, and Charged with Sacrilege. Aesop deny'd the Matter, and Laughed at them All for a Company of Mad Men; But upon the Searching of his Boxes, they took the Cup, and shew'd it to the People, Hurrying him away to Prison in the Middle of his Defence. They brought him the Next Day into the Court, Where Notwithstanding the Proof of his Innocence, as clear as the Day, he was Condemned to Dye; and his Sentence was to be Thrown Head-long from a Rock, Down a Deep Precipice. After his Doom was past, he Prevailed upon Them, with much ado to be heard a few Words, and so told them the Story of the Frog and the Mouse, as it stands in the Fable.

[Page 27] This wrought nothing upon the Hearts of the Delphians, but as they were Bawling at the Executioner, to Dispatch and do his Office, Aesop on a Sudden gave them the Slip, and Fled to an Altar hard by there, in hopes that the Religion of the Place might have Protected him, but the Delphians told him, that the Altars of the Gods were not to be any Sanctuary to those that Robbed their Temples; Whereupon he took Occasion to tell them the Fable of the Eagle and the Beetle to this Following Effect, As it stands in the Book, Num. 378.

Now says Aesop (after the telling of this Fable) you are not to Flatter your Selves that the Prophaners of Holy Altars, and the Oppressors of the Innocent, shall ever Escape Divine Vengeance. This Enraged the Magistrates to such a Degree, that they commanded the Officers Immediately to take Aesop from the Altar, and Dispatch him away to his Execution. When Aesop found that Neither the Holyness of the Place, nor the Clearness of his Innocence was Sufficient to Protect him, and that he was to fall a Sacrifice to Subornation and Power, he gave them yet one Fable more as he was upon the Way to Execution.

There was an Old Fellow (says he) that had spent his Whole Life in the Countrey without ever seeing the Towne, he found himselfe Weak and Decaying, and Nothing would serve, but his Friends must needs shew him the Towne once before he Dyed. Their Asses were very well Acquainted with the Way, and so they caused them to be made Ready, and turned the Old Man and the Asses Loose, without a Guide to try their Fortune. They were overtaken Upon the Road by a Terrible Tempest, so that what with the Darkness, and the Violence of the Storm, the Asses were Beaten out of their Way, and Tumbled with the Old Man into a Pit, where he had only time to Deliver his Last Breath with This Exclamation. Miserable Wretch that I am to be Destroy'd, since Dye I must, by the Basest of Beasts; by Asses. And that's my Fate now, in suffering by the Hands of a Barbarous Sottish People, that Understand Nothing either of Humanity or Honour; and Act Contrary to the Tyes of Hospitality and Iustice. But the Gods will not suffer my Blood to lye Unrevenged, and I doubt not, but that in Good Time the Iudgment of Heaven will give you to Understand your Wickedness by your Punishment. He was speaking on, but They Pushed him Off Head long from the Rock, and he was Dashed to Pieces with the Fall.

The Delphians, soon after This, were visited with Famine and Pestilence, to such a Degree, that they Went to Consult the Oracle [Page 28] of Apollo to know what Wickedness it was had brought these Calamities upon Them. The Oracle gave them this Answer, That they were to Expiate for the Death of Aesop. In the Conscience of their Barbarity, they Erected a Pyramid to his Honor, and it is upon Tradition, that a Great Many of the Most Eminent Men among the Greeks of that Season, went afterwards to Delphos upon the News of the Tragical End of Aesop, to Learn the Truth of the History, and found upon Enquiry, That the Principal of the Conspirators had layd Violent hands upon Themselves.

 


 

[Page 1]

THE FABLES OF AESOP, &c.

FABLE I. A Cock and a Diamond.

AS a Cock was turning up a Dunghill, he spy'd a Diamond. Well (says he to himself) this sparkling Foolery now to a Lapidary in my place, would have been the Making of him; but as to any Use or Purpose of mine, a Barley-Corn had been worth Forty on't.

The MORAL.

He that's Industrious in an Honest Calling, shall never fail of a Blessing. 'Tis the part of a Wise Man to Prefer Things Necessary before Matters of Curiosity, Ornament, or Pleasure.

REFLEXION.

THE Moralists will have Wisdom and Virtue to be meant by the Diamond; the World and the Pleasures of it, by the Dunghill; and by the Cock, a Voluptuous Man, that Abandons himself to his Lusts, without any regard, either to the Study, the Practice, or the Excellency of Better Things.

Now, with favour of the Ancients, this Fable seems to me, rather to hold forth an Emblem of Industry and Moderation. The Cock lives by his honest Labor, and maintains his Family out of it; His Scraping upon the Dunghill, is but Working in his Calling: The precious Stone is only a gawdy Temptation that Fortune throws in his way to divert him from his Business and his Duty. He would have been glad, he says, of a Barley-Corn instead on't; and so casts it aside as a thing not worth the heeding. What is all this now, but the passing of a true Estimate upon the matter in question, in preferring that which Providence has made and pronounc'd to be the Staff of Life, before a glittering Gew-Gaw, that has no other Value, then what Vanity, Pride, and Luxury, have set upon't? The Price of the Market to a Ieweller in his Trade, is one thing, but the intrinfick Worth of a thing, to a Man of Sense, and Iudgment, is another. Nay, that very Lapidary himself, with a coming Stomach, and in the Cock's place, would have made the Cock's Choice. The Doctrin, in short, may be this; That we are to prefer things necessary, before things superfluous; the Comforts and the [Page 2] Blessings of Providence, before the dazling and the splendid Curiosities of Mode and Imagination: And finally, that we are not to govern our Lives by Fancy, but by Reason.

 


 

FAB. II. A Cat and a Cock.

IT was the hard Fortune once of a Cock, to fall into the Clutches of a Cat. Puss had a Months Mind to be upon the Bones of him, but was not willing to pick a Quarrel however, without some plausible Color for't. Sirrah (says she) what do you keep such a bawling, and screaming a Nights for, that no body can sleep near you? Alas, says the Cock, I never wake any body, but when 'tis time for People to rise, and go about their Business. Nay, says the Cat, and then there never was such an incestuous Rascal: Why, you make no more Conscience of Lying with your own Mother, and your Sisters—In truth, says the Cock again, that's only to provide Eggs for my Master and Mistress. Come, come, says Puss, without any more ado, 'tis time for me to go to Breakfast, and Cats don't live upon Dialogues; at which word she gave him a Pinch, and so made an end, both of the Cock, and of the Story.

 


 

FAB. III. A Wolf and a Lamb.

AS a Wolf was lapping at the Head of a Fountain, he spy'd a Lamb, paddling at the same time, a good way off down the Stream. The Wolf had no sooner the Prey in his Eye, but away he runs open-mouth to't. Villain (says he) how dare you lye muddling the Water that I'm a drinking? Indeed, says the poor Lamb, I did not think that my drinking there below, could have foul'd your Water so far above. Nay, says t'other, you'll never leave your chopping of Logick, till your Skin's turn'd over your Ears, as your Fathers was, a matter of six Months ago, for prating at this sawcy rate; you remember it full well, Sirrah. If you ll believe me, Sir, (quoth the innocent Lamb, with fear and trembling) I was not come into the World then. Why thou Impudence, cries the Wolf, hast thou neither Shame, nor Conscience? But it runs in the Blood of your whole Race, Sirrah, to hate our Family; and therefore since Fortune has brought us together so conveniently, you shall e'en pay some of your Fore-Fathers Scores before you and I part; and so without [Page 3] any more ado, he leapt at the Throat of the miserable helpless Lamb, and tore him immediately to pieces.

The MORAL of the Two Fables above.

'Tis an Easie Matter to find a Staff to Beat a Dog. Innocence is no Protection against the Arbitrary Cruelty of a Tyrannical Power: But Reason and Conscience are yet so Sacred, that the Greatest Villanies are still Contenanc'd under that Cloak and Color.

REFLEXION.

PRIDE and Cruelty never want a Pretence to do Mischief. The Plea of Not Guilty goes for Nothing against Power: For Accusing is Proving, where Malice and Force are Joyn'd in the Prosecution.

When Innocence is to be oppress'd by Might, Arguments are foolish things; nay, the very Merits, Virtues, and good Offices of the Person accus'd, are improv'd to his Condemnation: As the Industry and Watchfulness of the Cock here, in the calling of People out of their Beds to work when 'tis time to rise, is turn'd upon him as a Crime. Nay, such is the Confidence of a spightful Cruelty, that People shall be charg'd (rather than fail) with things utterly impossible, and wholly foreign to the Matter in question. The Lamb it self shall be made malicious. And what is this now, but the lively Image of a perverse Reason of State, set up in opposition to Truth and Justice; but under the August Name and Pretence, however of Both? As Loyalty, for the purpose, shall be call'd Rebellion, and the Exercise of the most Necessary Powers of Government, shall pass for Tyranny and Oppression. Decency of Religious Worship shall be made Superstition; Tenderness of Conscience shall be call'd Phanaticism, Singularity and Faction; and the very Articles of the Christian Faith shall be condemn'd for Heresie. Villanies have not the same Countenance, when there are Great Interests, Potent Mediations, Presents, Friends, Advocates, Plausible Colours, and Flourishes of Wit, and Rhetorique, Interpos'd betwixt the Sight and the Object. There are ways of Deceiving the Eyes, as well as of Blinding them; so that the Cause of the Innocent must be Remitted at last to that Great and Final Decision, where there is no longer any Place for Passion, Partiality, Corruption, or Error. But as to the Business of This World, when the Cocks and the Lambs lie at the Mercy of Cats and Wolves, they must never expect better Quarter; especially where the Hearts Blood of the One, is the Nourishment and Entertainment of the Other.

 


 

FAB. IV. A Frog and a Mouse.

THere fell out a Bloody Quarrel once betwixt the Frogs and the Mice, about the Sovereignty of the Fenns; and whilst Two of their Champions were Disputing it at Swords Point, Down comes a Kite Powdering upon them in the Interim, and Gobbles up both together, to Part the Fray.

[Page 4]

 


 

FAB. V. A Lion and a Bear.

THere was a Lion and a Bear had gotten a Fawn betwixt them, and there were they at it Tooth and Nail, which of the Two should carry't off. They Fought it out, till they were e'en glad to lie down, and take Breath. In which Instant, a Fox passing that way, and finding how the case stood with the Two Combatants, seiz'd upon the Fawn for his Own Use, and so very fairly scamper'd away with him. The Lion, and the Bear saw the Whole Action, but not being in condition to Rise and Hinder it, they pass'd this Reflexion upon the whole matter; Here have we been Worrying one another, who should have the Booty, 'till this Cursed Fox has Bobb'd us Both on't.

The MORAL of the Two Fables above.

'Tis the Fate of All Gotham-Quarrels, when Fools go together by the Ears, to have Knaves run away with the Stakes.

REFLEXION.

THIS is no more than what we see Dayly in Popular Factions, where Pragmatical Fools commonly begin the Squabble, and Crafty Knaves reap the Benefit of it. There is very rarely any Quarrel, either Publique, or Private, whether betwixt Persons, or Parties, but a Third Watches, and hopes to be the Better for't.

And all is but according to the Old Proverb, While Two Dogs are Fighting for a Bone, a Third runs away with it. Divide and Govern, is a Rule of State, that we see Confirm'd and Supported by Dayly Practice and Experience: So that 'tis none of the Slightest Arguments for the Necessity of a Common Peace, that the Litigants Tear one another to pieces for the Benefit of some Third Interest, that makes Advantage of their Disagreement. This is no more than what we find upon Experience through the whole History of the World in All Notable Changes, and Revolutions; that is to say, the Contendents have been still made a Prey to a Third Party. And this has not been only the Fare and the Event of Popular Quarrels, but the Punishment of them; for the Judgment still Treads upon the Heel of the Wickedness. People may talk of Liberty, Property, Conscience, Right of Title, &c. but the Main Business and Earnest of the World, is Mony, Dominion, and Power, and how to Compass Those Ends; and not a Rush matter at last, whether it be by Force, or by Cunning. Might and Right are Inseparable, in the Opinion of the World; and he that has the Longer Sword, shall never want, either Lawyers, or Divines to Defend his Claim. But then comes the Kite, or the Fox, in the Conclusion; that is to say, some Third Party, that either by Strength, or by Craft, Masters both Plaintiff and Defendent, and carries away the Booty.

[Page 5]

 


 

FAB. VI. A Dog and a Shadow.

AS a Dog was crossing a River, with a Morsel of Good Flesh in his Mouth, he saw (as he thought) Another Dog under the Water, upon the very same Adventure. He never consider'd that the One was only the Image of the Other; but out of a Greediness to get Both, he Chops at the Shadow, and Loses the Substance.

The MORAL.

All Covet, All Lose; which may serve for a Reproof to Those that Govern their Lives by Fancy and Appetite, without Consulting the Honor, and the Iustice of the Case.

REFLEXION.

THIS is the Case of Unreasonable, and Insatiable Desires; as in Love, Ambition, and the Like; where People are still reaching at More and More, till they lose All in the Conclusion.

There are more Meanings of Substance and Shadow; of Mistaking One for T'other; and Losing All by Chopping at More; than the Bare Sense and Letter of the Dog, the Flesh, and the Image here in the Fable. Under these Heads are comprehended all Inordinate Desires, Vain Hopes, and Miserable Disappointments. What shall we say of those that spend their Days in Gaping after Court-Favours and Preferments; Servile Flatteries; and Slavish Attendances? That Live, and Entertain themselves upon Blessings in Vision? (For Fair Words and Promises, are no more than Empty Appearances) What is all This, but Sacrificing a Man's Honour, Integrity, Liberty, Reason, Body, Soul, Fortune, and All, for Shadows? We place our Trust in Things that have no Being; Disorder our Minds, Discompose our Thoughts, Entangle our Estates, and Sell our selves, in One Word, for Bubbles. How wretched is the Man that does not know when he's Well, but passes away the Peace and Comfort of his Life, for the Gratifying of a Fantastical Appetite, or Humour! Nay, and he Misses his Aim, even in That too, while he Squanders away his Interest, and Forfeits his Discretion, in the Pursuit of One Vanity after Another. Ambition is a Ladder that reaches from Earth to Heaven; and the First Round is but so many Inches in a Man's way toward the Mounting of All the Rest. He's never well till he's at the Top, and when he can go no Higher, he must either Hang in the Air, or Fall; For in This Case, he has nothing above him to Aspire to, nor any Foot-Hold left him to come down by. Every Man has what's Sufficient, at Hand, and in Catching at more than he can carry away, he loses what he Had. Now there's Ingratitude, as well as Disappointment, in All these Rambling and Extravagant Motions: Beside, that Avarice is always Beggerly; for He that Wants, has as good as Nothing. The Desire of More and More, rises by a Natural Gradation to Most, and after that, to All; Till in the Conclusion we find our selves Sick and Weary of All that's possible to be had; sollicitous for something else, and then when we have spent our Days in the Quest of the Meanest of Things, and at the [Page 6] Feet too of the Worst of Men, we find at the bottom of the Account, that all the Enjoyments under the Sun, are not worth Struggling for. What can be Vainer now, than to Lavish out our Lives and Fortunes in the Search and Purchase of Trifles; and at the same time to lye Carking for the Unprofitable Goods of this World, and in a restless Anxiety of Thought for what's to come. The Folly, in fine, of these Vexatious and Frivolous Pursuits, shews it self in all the Transports of our Wild and Ungovern'd Affections.

Here is further set forth in this Emblem, All the Fabulous Torments of Hell, even Above-Ground. Men that are Tainted with this Appetite are ready to dye of Thirst, with Tantalus, and the Water running at their very Lips. They are Condemn'd, with the Sisters, to the Filling of Tubs with Holes in 'em; which is but a Lively Figure of so much Labor spent in Vain, upon the Gratifying of Unreasonable Desires. What's a Man's Contending with Insuperable Difficulties, but the Rolling of Sisiphus's Stone up the Hill, which is sure before-hand, to Return upon him again? What's an Eternal Circulation of the same Things, as well as the same Steps, without Advancing one Inch of Ground toward his Journey's End, but Ixion in the Wheel? And all this while, with Cares, and Horrors at his Heart, like the Vultur that's Day and Night Quarrying upon Prometheus's Liver.

But after all that's said upon this Subject, of our Mistake, and Punishment, the Great Nicety will lye in Rightly Distinguishing betwixt the Substance, and the Shadow; and in what degree of Preference the one stands to the other. Now this must be according to Epictetus's Distribution of Matters, into what we have in our own Power; and what not; and in Placing things Honest and Necessary, before other Subordinate Satisfactions. Aesop's Dog here was in the Possession of a very Good Breakfast, and he knew very well what he had in his Mouth; but still, either out of Levity, Curiosity, or Greediness, he must be Chopping at something else, that he neither Wanted, nor Understood, till he lost All for a Shadow; that is to say, for just nothing at All.

 


 

FAB. VII. A Lion, an Ass, &c. a Hunting.

A Lion, an Ass, and some other of their Fellow-Forresters, went a Hunting one day; and every one to go share and share-like in what they took. They pluck'd down a Stag, and cut him up into so many Parts; but as they were entering upon the Dividend, Hands off says the Lion: This Part is mine by the Privilege of my Quality: This, because I'll have it in spite of your Teeth: This again, because I took most Pains for't; and if you Dispute the Fourth, we must e'en Pluck a Crow about it. So the Confederates Mouths were all stopt, and they went away as mute as Fishes.

[Page 7]

The MORAL.

There's no Entring into Leagues or Partnerships, with those that are either too Powerful, or too Crafty for us. He that has the Staff in his Hand will be his Own Carver. Bought Wit is Best.

REFLECTION.

SAVING the Incongruity of making the Ass a Beast of Prey, we are to learn from hence the Danger of Unequal Alliances; where the Poor and the Weak lye at the Mercy of the Rich and the Powerful; and no Remedy but Patience and Resignation.

People should have a care how they Engage themselves in Partnerships with Men that are too Mighty for them, whether it be in Mony, Pleasure, or Bus'ness. Find out something, says a Court-Minion, and then upon the Discovery, he lays hand on't for himself. So Says, and so Does the Lion here to the Ass and his Companions. Now this is only a Stateway of Fishing with Cormorants. Men in Power, Plunge their Clyents into the Mud, with a Ring about their Necks; So that let them bring up what they will, nothing goes down with them that they shall be ever the Better for. And when they come in Conclusion to Cast up the Profit and Loss of the Purchase, or the Project; what betwixt Force, Interest, and Good Manners, the Adventurer scapes well if he can but get off at last with his Labor for his Pains.

Ambition, and the Insatiable Thirst of Mony, Greatness, and Glory, know no other Bounds of Justice or Conscience, than the Measures of a Corrupt Appetite. Services are paid with Smoak and Fair Words; and there goes a World of Unprofitable Ceremony to the Mortifying of an Honest Man. Promises and Protestations are only Passages of Course, and meer Expletives; that in the Construction of Civility, and Good Breeding, signifie no more than [Your Humble Servant Sir.] All, in short, that the Lion says and does, in this Instance, is but according to the Practice of Men in Power in a Thousand other Cases.

 


 

FAB. VIII. A Wolf and a Crane.

A Wolf had got a Bone in's Throat, and could think of no better Instrument to Ease him of it, than the Bill of a Crane; so he went and Treated with a Crane to help him out with it, upon Condition of a very considerable Reward for his pains. The Crane did him the Good Office, and then claim'd his Promise. Why how now Impudence! (says t'other) Do you put your Head into the Mouth of a Wolf, and then, when y'ave brought it out again safe and sound, do you talk of a Reward? Why Sirrah, you have your Head again, and is not that a Sufficient Recompence?

[Page 8]

The MORAL.

One Good Turn they say requires another: But yet He that has to do with Wild Beasts (as some Men are No Better) and comes off with a Whole Skin, let him Expect No Other Reward.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable will bear Divers Morals; as First, That it is but Due Gratitude to be Thankful to our Preservers. Secondly, The Crane's Good Fortune can hardly Excuse his Facility. And then the Crane did Ill again to Insist upon a Reward; for a Good Office pays it self; neither was he reasonably to Expect that so Perfidious a Creature should keep Touch with him. Thirdly, Though the Wolf was to blame for not making Good his Promise, there is yet in Equity a kind of a Reward, in not Chopping off his Head when he had it at Mercy.

The Case of the Crane here, is a Case of Conscience; for 'tis a Nice Business to Determine, how far Wicked Men in their Distresses May be Reliev'd; How far they Ought to be Reliev'd; and to what Degree of Loss, Labor, and Difficulty, a Sober, a Wise, and a Good Man may Interpose to their Redress. He may Give; he may Lend, he may Venture, so far as Generosity and Good Nature shall prompt him; provided always that he go no farther than the Conscience of the Cause, or of the Action will Warrant him. A Man is at Liberty, 'tis true, to do many Kind and Brave Offices, which he is not Bound to do: And if the Largeness of his Heart shall carry him beyond the Line of Necessary Prudence, we may reckon upon it only as a more Illustrious Weakness.

Here is a Fiction of One Crane that scap'd, that there might not want One Instance of an Encouragement to a Dangerous Act of Charity: But this One Instance is not yet sufficient to justifie the making a Common Practice of it, upon the same Terms. 'Tis possible for One Blot not to be Hit; or to be Over-seen perhaps. And so 'tis as possible for One Ill Man, either not to think of the Mischief he could do, or to slip the Occasion of it; but such a Deliverance however, is a Thing to Thank Providence for, without standing upon a Reward for the Service. The Bone in the Throat of the Wolf, may be Understood of any sort of Pinch, or Calamity, either in Body, Liberty, or Fortune. How many do we see Daily, Gaping and Struggling with Bones in their Throats, that when they have gotten them drawn out, have Attempted the Ruine of their Deliverers! The World, in short, is full of Practices and Examples to Answer the Intent of this Fable; and there are Thousands of Consciences that will be Touch'd with the Reading of it, whose Names are not written in their Foreheads.

 


 

FAB. IX. A Countryman and a Snake.

A Countryman happen'd in a Hard Winter to spy a Snake under a Hedg, that was half Frozen to Death. The Man was Good Natur'd, and Took it up, and kept it in his Bosom, till Warmth brought it to Life again; and so soon as ever it [Page 9] was in Condition to do Mischief, it bit the very Man that sav'd the Life on't. Ah thou Ungrateful Wretch! Says he, Is that Venomous Ill Nature of thine to be Satisfi'd with nothing less than the Ruine of thy Preserver?

The MORAL.

There are Some Men like Some Snakes; 'Tis Natural to them to be doing Mischief; and the Greater the Benefit on the One side, the More implacable is the Malice on the other.

REFLEXION.

HE that takes an Ungrateful Man into his Bosom, is well nigh sure to be Betray'd; and it is no longer Charity, but Folly, to think of Obliging the Common Enemies of Mankind. But 'tis no New Thing for good Natur'd Men to meet with Ungrateful Returns. Wherefore Friendships, Charities, and Kindnesses, should be well Weigh'd and Examin'd, as to the Circumstances of Time, Place, Manner, Person, and Proportion, before we Sign and Seal. A Man had much better take a Tyger into his Grounds, than a Snake into his Bosom. How many Examples have we seen with our own Eyes, of Men that have been pick'd up and Reliev'd out of Starving Necessities, without either Spirit, or Strength to do Mischief, who in requital have afterwards conspir'd against the Life, Honor, and Fortune of their Patrons and Redeemers. Did ever any of these Human Snakes lose their Venom for lying under some Temporary Incapacity of Using it? Will they be ever the less Dangerous and Malicious, when Warmth shall bring them to themselves again; because they were once Frozen and Benumm'd with Cold? The very Credulity Encourages an Abuse, where the Will to do Mischief only waits for the Power, and Opportunity of putting it in Execution. Facility makes the Innocent a Prey to the Crafty: Wherefore it is highly necessary for the One to know how far, and to Whom he Trusts; and for the Other to understand what he is to Trust to. The Snake, after his Recovery, is the very same Snake still, that he was at first. How many People have we read of in Story, that after a Pardon for One Rebellion, have been taken in Another with That very Pardon in their Pockets, and the Ink scarce Dry upon the Parchment? Now all this is no more than the Proverb in a Fable: Save a Thiefe from the Gallows, and he'll Cut your Throat.

 


 

FAB. X. A Lion and an Asse.

AN Asse was so Hardy once, as to fall a Mopping and Braying at a Lyon. The Lyon began at first to shew his Teeth, and to Stomack the Affront; but upon Second Thoughts; Well! (says he) Ieer on, and be an Asse still. Take notice only by the way, that 'tis the Baseness of your Character that has sav'd your Carcass.

[Page 10]

The MORAL.

It is below the Dignity of a Great Mind to Entertain Contests with People that have neither Quality nor Courage: Beside the Folly of Contending with a Miserable Wretch, where the very Competition is a Scandal.

REFLEXION.

SCOUNDRELS are apt to be Insolent toward their Superiors; but it does not yet become a man of Honor and Wisdom, to Contest with Mean Rascals; and to Answer Every Fool in his Folly. One Indignity is not to be Reveng'd by Another.

The very Contest sets the Master and the Man upon the Same Level; and the Lion was in the Right, not to Cast away his Displeasure upon an Asse, where there was only Reputation to be Lost, and None to be Gotten. The very Beasts of the Forrest will Rise up in Judgment against such men. Contempt in such a Case as This, is the only Honorable Revenge.

FAB XI. A City Mouse and a Country Mouse.

THere goes an Old Story of a Country Mouse that Invited a City-Sister of hers to a Country Collation, where she spar'd for Nothing that the Place afforded; as Mouldy Crusts, Cheese-Parings, Musty Oatmeal, Rusty Bacon, and the like. Now the City-Dame was so well bred, as Seemingly to take All in Good Part: But yet at last, Sister (says she, after the Civilest Fashion) why will you be Miserable when you may be Happy? Why will you lie Pining, and Pinching your self in such a Lonesome Starving Course of Life as This is; when tis but going to Town along with Me; to Enjoy all the Pleasures, and Plenty that Your Heart can Wish? This was a Temptation the Country Mouse was not able to Resist; so that away they Trudg'd together, and about Midnight got to their Journeys End. The City Mouse shew'd her Friend the Larder, the Pantry, the Kitchin, and Other Offices where she laid her Stores; and after This, carry'd her into the Parlour, where they found, yet upon the Table, the Reliques of a Mighty Entertainment of That very Night. The City-Mouse Carv'd her Companion of what she lik'd Best, and so to't they fell upon a Velvet Couch together: The Poor Bumkin that had never seen, nor heard of such Doings before, Bless'd her self at the Change of her Condition, when (as ill luck would have it) all on a Sudden, the Doors flew open, and in comes a Crew of Roaring Bullies, with their Wenches, their Dogs, and their Bottles, and put the Poor Mice to their Wits End, how to save their Skins. The Stranger Especially, that had never been at This [Page 11] Sport before; but she made a Shift however for the present, to slink into a Corner, where she lay Trembling and Panting 'till the Company went their Way. So soon as ever the House was Quiet again, Well: My Court Sister, says she, If This be the Way of Your Town-Gamboles, I'll e'en back to my Cottage, and my Mouldy Cheese again; for I had much rather lie Knabbing of Crusts, without either Fear or Danger, in my Own Little Hole, than be Mistress of the Whole World with Perpetual Cares and Alarums.

The MORAL.

The Difference betwixt a Court and a Country Life. The Delights, Innocence, and Security of the One, Compar'd with the Anxiety, the Lewdness, and the Hazards of the Other.

REFLEXION.

THE Design of This Fable is to set forth the Advantages of a Private Life, above Those of a Publick; which are certainly very Great, if the Blessings of Innocence, Security, Meditation, Good Air, Health, and sound Sleeps, without the Rages of Wine, and Lust, or the Contagion of Idle Examples, can make them so: For Every Thing there, is Natural and Gracious. There's the Diversion of All Healthful Exercises for the Body; The Entertainment of the Place, and of the Rivers, without any Base Interest to Corrupt, either the Virtue, or the Peace of our Lives. He that's a Slave in the Town is a kind of a Petty Prince in the Country. He loves his Neighbours, without Pride, and lives in Charity with the Whole World. All that he sees is his Own, as to the Delight of it, without Envying the Prosperity. His Doors are not Troubled with either Dunns, or Fools, and he has the Sages of All Times in his Cabinet for his Companions. He lives to Himself as well as to the World, without Brawles or Quarrels, of any sort whatsoever. He sees No Bloody Murders; He hears No Blasphemous Execrations; He lives free from the Plagues of Jealousie and Envy: And This is the Life in fine, that the Greatest, and the Wisest Men in the World, Have, or would have made Choice of, if Cares and Business had not Hinder'd them from so Great a Blessing.

'Tis against Common Justice to pass Sentence without hearing Both sides: And the Only way to come to a True Estimate upon the Odds betwixt a Publick and a Private Life, is to Try Both. Virtue is only Glorious in the Native Simplicity of it, and while it holds no Communication with Interest, Fancy, Sense, or Ornament: Wherefore Aesop has done Wisely to cast the Issue of the Question upon the Experiment, Far from Iupiter (says the Adage) far from the Thunder. What signifies the Splendor, and the Luxury of Courts, considering the Slavish Attendances, the Invidious Competitions, and the Mortal Disappointments that go along with it. The Frowns of Princes, and the Envy of those that Judge by Hearsay, or Appearance; without either Reason or Truth! To say nothing of the Innumerable Temptations, Vices, and Excesses, of a Life of Pomp, and Pleasure. Let a man but set the Pleasing of his Palate against the Surfeits of Gluttony and Excess, The Starving of his Mind against a Pamper'd Carcass; The Restless Importunities of Tale-bearers and Back Friends, against Fair Words and Professions only from [Page 12] the Teeth outward: Let him, I say, but set the One in Ballance against the Other, and he shall find himself Miserable, even in the very Glutt of his Delights. To say All in a Word; Let him but set the Comforts of a Life spent in Noise, Formality, and Tumult, against the Blessings of a Retreat with Competency and Freedom, and then Cast up his Account.

What Man then, that is not stark Mad, will Voluntarily Expose himself to the Imperious Brow-beatings and Scorns of Great Men! to have a Dagger struck to his Heart in an Embrace; To be torn to pieces by Calumny, nay to be a Knave in his own Defence! for the Honester the Worse, in a Vicious Age, and where 'tis a Crime not to be like the Company. Men of that Character are not to be Read, and Understood by their Words, but by their Interests; their Promises and Protestations are no longer Binding than while they are Profitable. But Baudoin has done so well upon this Fable, that there needs no more to be said to't.

 


 

FAB. XII. A Crow and a Muscle.

THere was one of Your Royston-Crows, that lay Battering upon a Muscle, and could not for his Blood break the Shell to come at the Fish. A Carrion-Crow, in this Interim, comes up, and tells him, that what he could not do by Force, he might do by Stratagem. Take this Muscle up into the Air, says the Crow, as High as you can carry it, and then let him fall upon that Rock there; His Own Weight, You shall see, shall break him. The Roystoner took his Advice, and it succeeded accordingly; but while the One was upon Wing, the Other stood Lurching upon the Ground, and flew away with the Fish.

The MORAL.

Charity begins at Home, they say; and most People are kind to their Neighbours for their Own sakes.

REFLEXION,

IT is no longer an Amity of Virtue, but of Design, when we seek our Own Interest, under Colour of obliging Others; and men of Frankness and Simplicity, are the most easily Impos'd upon, where they have Craft and Treachery to deal withal. The Imposture, in Truth, can hardly Miscarry, where there is a full Confidence on the One side, and a Plausible Address and Disposition on the Other; Wherefore 'tis good to be Wary, but so as not to be Inexorable, where there is but any place for Charity it self to hope for better things; Not but that a Supine, Credulous Facility exposes a man to be both a Prey, and a Laughing stock, at once. 'Tis not for us to judg of the good Faith of mens Intentions, but by the Light we receive from their Works. We may set up this for a Rule however, that where the Adviser is to be evidently the Better for the Council, and the Advised, in Manifest Danger to be the worse for't, there's no Medling. The Crow's Counsel was good enough in itself; but it was given with a fraudulent Intention.

[Page 13]

 


 

FAB. XIII. A Fox and a Raven.

A Certain Fox spy'd out a Raven upon a Tree with a Morsel in his mouth, that set his Chops a watering; but how to come at it was the Question. Ah thou Blessed Bird! (says he) the Delight of Gods, and of Men! and so he lays himself forth upon the Gracefulness of the Ravens Person, and the Beauty of his Plumes; His Admirable Gift of Augury, &c. And now, says the Fox, If thou hadst but a Voice answerable to the rest of thy Excellent Qualities, the Sun in the Firmament could not shew the World such Another Creature. This Nauseous Flattery sets the Raven immediately a Gaping as Wide as ever he could stretch, to give the Fox a taste of his Pipe; but upon the Opening of his Mouth, he drops his Breakfast, which the Fox presently Chopt up, and then bad him remember, that whatever he had said of his Beauty, he had spoken Nothing yet of his Brains.

The MORAL.

There's hardly any man Living that may not be wrought upon more or less by Flattery: For we do all of us Naturally Overween in our Own Favour: But when it comes to be Apply'd once to a Vain Fool, it makes him forty times an Arranter Sot than he was before.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable shews us the Danger and the Nature of Flattery. It calls Good Things by Ill Names, and Ill by Good; but it will never be out of Credit, so long as there are Knaves to Give it, and Fools to Take it. It is never more Pernicious than in the Courts of Great Princes, because a good deal of it looks like Duty; as in private Cases, it carries a face of Friendship. The way to Rise is to Please, and whatever is gotten by't, comes by Treachery. 'Tis a Design that endangers both Body, Soul, and Estate; and not One Man of a Million that's Proof against it. But Great and Good Men will rather look for their Character in the Writings and Precepts of the Philosophers, than in the Hyperboles of their Flatterers. For they know very well that Wise Books are the Only True Friends.

There's a Fawning, Crafty Knave, and a Vain, Easie Fool, well met, in this Fable of the Fox and the Raven; which is no more at last, than One sort of Rascal Cajoling Another; And then to shew us, both that Impudence will stick at Nothing, and that a Self-Conceited Fop will swallow Any thing, the Raven's Beauty forsooth, and his Voice are the Topiques, that Reynard has made choice of to Dilate upon. The two main Ends of Flattery, are Profit, or Safety, though there are many others too that are less Principal; but in some respect or other, Reducible to these Heads. The One is too Mercenary, and the Other too Servile, for a man of Worth. There are also several sorts and degrees of it under this Division; and divers ways of Address and Application. But Flattery is Flattery still, and the Moral extends to All.

[Page 14] 'Tis in it self an Unmanly, Slavish Vice; but it is much Worse yet for the Alliance it has to Hypocrisie: for while we make other people think Better of themselves than they Deserve, we make them think Better of Us too than We Deserve: For Self-love and Vanity on the One hand, Assists the Falseness and the Considence on the Other, while it serves to confirm weak Minds in the Opinion they had of Themselves before; and makes them Parties, effectually, in a Conspiracy, to their Own Ruin. The Measures, and the Artifices of it are Many, and in divers Cases so like Sincerity, that what betwixt Custom, and the Nature of the Thing, it looks, in truth, like a Virtue, and a Duty; that is to say, where it is so manag'd, as to be rather Instructive than pussing up. As for Example, for a body to say, [This or That was Wisely foreseen,] Or [You intend, I presume, to go This or That Way to Work:] and the like. Such an Insinuation as this is, carries the Force in it of a Tacite, and a prudent Advice; for it both serves to point out the Reason of the thing, and it preserves the Decency of that Respect which ought to go along with it. 'Tis a good Hint, the very suggesting of such or such a Precaution, though the consideration perhaps never came near the t' others Thought. But there is a certain Habitual Meanness of Soul, which has so far prevail'd in the World, that Common Civility is no less Tainted by Course and Custom, than Friendship and Conversation is by Corruption.

It is the Parasites Act to cast himself into all Shapes that may sort with the Figure of his Patron, in what Post, Function, or Administration soever; and to frame the Air and Countenance of his Words, Looks, and Actions accordingly, with a respect to his Power, Wisdom, Conduct, Bravery, Generosity, Justice, or what other Subject he thinks fit to treat upon. So that let him be never so Perfidious, Shallow, Rash, Timorous, Envious, Malicious, Proud, Covetous, &c. a Little Court Holy-Water Washes off all Stains. And what is this upon the Main now, but an Exchange of Air for Substance, and parting with All that either is, or ought to be Dear to us, for a Song. The Flatterer, first Counsels his Patron to his Loss; and then betrays him into the making himself Ridiculous; as what can be more so, than for a Raven to Value Himself upon his Croaking, or an Asse upon his Braying? The only Benefit, or Good of Flattery is this; that by Hearing what we are Not; we may be Instructed what we Ought to be.

 


 

FAB. XIV. An Old Lion.

A Lion that in the Days of his Youth and Strength, had been very Outrageous and Cruel, came in the end to be Reduced by Old Age, and Infirmity, to the last Degree of Misery, and Contempt: Insomuch that All the Beasts of the Forrest; some out of Insolence, others in Revenge, some in fine, upon One Pretence, some upon Another, fell upon him by Consent. He was a Miserable Creature to all Intents and Purposes; but Nothing went so near the Heart of him in his Distress, as to find himself Batter'd by the Heel of an Asse.

[Page 15]

The MORAL.

A Prince that does not secure Friends to Himself while he is in Power and Condition to oblige them, must never expect to find Friends, when he is Old and Impotent, and no longer Able to do them any Good. If he Governs Tyrannically in his Youth, he will be sure to be Treated Contemptuously in his Age; and the Baser his Enemies are, the more Insolent, and Intollerable will be the Affront.

REFLEXION.

This may serve for a Lesson to men in Power, that they Treasure up Friends in their Prosperity, against a time of Need; for He that does not Secure himself of a stock of Reputation in his Greatness, shall most Certainly fall Unpity'd in his Adversity: And the Baser his Enemies are, the more insupportable is the Insolence, and the forwarder will they be to Trample upon him.

The Case of this Miserable Old Lion may serve to put Great Men in mind, that the Wheele of Time, and of Fortune is still Rolling, and that they themselves are to lie down at last in the Grave with Common Dust: And without any thing to support them in their Age, but the Reputation, Virtue and Conscience of a well spent Youth. Nay Age it self, is well-nigh sufficient to Deface every Letter and Action in the History of a Meritorious Life. For Old Services are Bury'd under the Ruines of an Old Carcass: But there are None yet that fall so Unpity'd; so Just, so Necessary, and so Grateful a Sacrifice to the Rage and Scorn of the common People, as those that have rais'd themselves upon the Spoiles of the Publick: Especially when that Oppression is Aggravated with a Wanton Cruelty, and with Blood and Rapine, for the very love of Wickedness. It is a kind of Arrogance, in such a case, to be Honest, where 'tis both a Fashion, and a Credit to be Other.

The Lion is here upon his Death-Bed; Not a Friend left him, nor so much as an Enemy, with either Fangs or Claws, that does not stand Gaping and Waiting for a Collop of him. Here he lies, Faint, Poor, and Defenceless, under the Judgment of Divine Vengeance, and the Animadversion of Humane Justice, both at once; stung in his own Thoughts with the Guilty Remembrance of the Pride and Riot of his Youth, Abandon'd and Despis'd, by the Righteous Retaliation of Heaven it self: All his Sins, as well as all his Adversaries; his Frauds, and Cruelties; Broken Vows, Promises and Contracts, his Tyranny and Hypocrisie, and the Iniquity, in fine, of All his Councels, and Practices for the Ruine of the Guiltless flying in the face of him.

 


 

FAB. XV. An Asse and a Whelp.

A Gentleman had got a Favourite-Spaniel, that would be still Toying, and Leaping upon him, Licking his Cheeks, and playing a Thousand pretty Gambles, which the Master was well enough pleas'd withall. This Wanton Humour succeeded so well with the Puppy, that an Asse in the House would needs go the [Page 16] same Gamesom Way to Work, to Curry favour for Himself too; but he was quickly given to Understand, with a Good Cudgel, the Difference betwixt the One Play-Fellow and the Other.

The MORAL.

People that live by Example, should do well to look very Narrowly into the Force and Authority of the President, without Saying, or Doing Things at a Venture: for that may Become One Man, which would be Absolutely Intolerable in Another, under Differing Circumstances.

REFLEXION.

Under the Allegory of the Asse, is Insinuated the License of a Buffoon. There's Mischief and Scandal in the very Sport, and Humour of it. There are some men that seem to have Brutal Minds wrapt up in Humane Shapes, Their very Caresses are Rude and Importune, and with Aesops Asse here, their very Complements deserve a Correction, rather than an Encouragement, or a Reward.

All Creatures have somewhat in them peculiar to their Several Species; and that Practice is still the Best which is most Consonant to the Nature of them, by a Common Instinct. The Fawnings of an Asse are as Unnatural as the Brayings would be of a Dog, and a man would as soon Chuse him for his Bed fellow as for his Play fellow. He that follows Nature is never out of his Way; and that which is Best for every Man, is Fittest for him too. He does it with Ease and Success, whereas all Imitation is Puti'd, and Servile.

 


 

FAB. XVI. A Lion and a Mouse.

UPon the Roaring of a Beast in the Wood, a Mouse ran presently out to see what News: and what was it, but a Lion Hamper'd in a Net! This Accident brought to her mind, how that she her self, but some few Days before, had fall'n under the Paw of a Certain Generous Lion, that let her go again. Upon a Strict Enquiry into the Matter, she found This to be That very Lion; and so set her self presently to Work upon the Couplings of the Net; Gnaw'd the Threds to pieces, and in Gratitude Deliver'd her Preserver.

The MORAL.

Without Good Nature, and Gratitude, Men had as good live in a Wilderness as in a Society. There is no Subject so Inconsiderable, but his Prince, at some time or Other, may have Occasion for him, and it holds through the Whole Scale of the Creation, that the Great and the Little have Need one of Another.

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REFLEXION.

There is Nothing so Little, but Greatness may come to Stand in need on't, and therefore Prudence and Discretion ought to have a place in Clemency, as well as in Piety and Justice. 'Tis Doing as we would be done by; and the Obligation is yet Stronger, when there is Gratitude, as well as Honour and Good Nature in the Case. The Generosity of the Lion, and the Gratitude of the Mouse; The Power, the Dignity, and the Eminence of the One, and the Meanness of the Other; do all Concur to the making of this a very Instructive Fable. Who would have thought that Providence should ever have lay'd the Life of a Lion at the Mercy of a Mouse? But the Divine Wisdom that brings the Greatest Ends to pass by the most Despicable Means, Orders the Reward of Virtue, and the punishment of Vice, by Ways only known to it self, in token of an Approbation of the One, and a Dislike of the Other.

Here's a Recommendation of Clemency and Wisdom, Both in One; for the Lion, in sparing the Life of the Mouse, sav'd his Own; and has left us in this Fable, an Instance of a Grateful Beast, that will stand upon Record to the Confusion of many an Ungrateful Man; that is to say, against those that in their Prosperity forget the Friends, that to their Loss and Hazard, stood by and succour'd them in their Adversity. This is a Sin of so odious and Dangerous an Example, that it puts even Piety, and Gratitude it self out of Countenance. And then the Tenderness on the other side, is Matter of Interest, and ordinary Prudence, as well as of Virtue. If this Lion had kill'd the Mouse, what would the other Mice have said or Done afterward, when they should have found the same Lion in the Toil? [Have a care Good People; for this is He that killed our Sister, and we cannot save His Life, without Hazarding our Own. If the Huntsmen Kill Him, we are sure He'll never Kill Us; Beside that we shall have one Enemy the fewer for't, when he's gone.] Now the Reason of Aesops Mouse here, works quite Another way. This Lion, (says he) gave Me my Life, when he had it at Mercy, and it is now My Turn, and Duty, to do what I can to preserve His. No Flesh, in fine, can be so Great, as not to tremble under the Force and Consequences of this President.

 


 

FAB. XVII. A Sick Kite and her Mother.

PRay Mother (says a Sick Kite) Give over these Idle Lamentations, and let Me rather have your Prayers. Alas! my Child, (says the Dam) which of the Gods shall I go to, for a Wretch that has Robb'd All their Altars?

The MORAL.

Nothing but the Conscience of a Virtuous Life, can make Death Easie to us; Wherefore there's No Trusting to the Distraction of an Agonizing, and a Death-bed Repentance.

[Page 18]

REFLEXION.

THE Kite's Death-bed Devotion and Repentance works like the Charity and Piety of a great many Penitents we meet with in the World; that after the Robbing of Temples, the prophaning of Altars, and other Violences of Rapine and Oppression, Build an Hospital perhaps, or some Little Alms-House, out of the Ruines of the Church, and the spoils of Widows and Orphans; put up a Bill for the Prayers of the Congregation; Wipe their Mouths, and All's well again. But 'tis not for a Wicked Life to trust to the Hazzards of an Uncertain State, and Disposition at the point of Death. When Men come to that Last Extremity once, by Languor, Pain, or Sickness; and to lie Agonizing betwixt Heaven and Hell, under the stroke either of a Divine Judgment, or of Human Frailty, They are not commonly so sensible of their Wickedness, or so Effectually touch'd with the remorse of a true Repentance, as they are Distracted with the terrors of Death, and the Dark Visionary Apprehensions of what's to come. People in that Condition do but discharge themselves of Burdensom Reflexions, as they do of the Cargo of a Ship at Sea that has sprung a Leak: Every thing is done in a Hurry, and men only part with their Sins in the one Case, as they do with their Goods in the other; to Fish them up again, so soon as the storm is over. Grace must be very strong in these Conflicts, wholly to Vanquish the weaknesses of Distressed Nature. That certainly is none of the time to make Choice of for the Great Work of reconciling our selves to Heaven, when we are divided, and confounded betwixt an Anguish of Body, and of Mind: And the Man is worse than Mad that Ventures his Salvation upon that Desperate Issue. We have abundance of these Sick Kites in the World, that after a Sacrilegious Life, spent in the Robbing of the Church, would willingly be thought to Die in the Bosom of it.

 


 

FAB. XVIII. A Swallow and other Birds.

THere was a Country Fellow at work a Sowing his Grounds, and a Swallow (being a Bird famous for Providence and Foresight) call'd a company of Little Birds about her, and bad ▪em take Good Notice what that Fellow was a doing. You must know (says the Swallow) that all the Fowlers Nets and Snares are made of Hemp, or Flax; and that's the Seed that he is now a Sowing. Pick it up in time for fear of what may come on't. In short, they put it off, till it took Root; and then again, till it was sprung up into the Blade. Upon this, the Swallow told 'em once for All, that it was not yet too Late to prevent the Mischief, if they would but bestir themselves, and set Heartily about it; but finding that no Heed was given to what she said; She e'en bad adieu to her old Companions in the Woods, and so betook her self to a City Life, [Page 19] and to the Conversation of Men. This Flax and Hemp came in time to be Gather'd, and Wrought, and it was this Swallows Fortune to see Several of the very same Birds that she had forewarn'd, taken in Nets, made of the very Stuff she told them off. They came at last to be Sensible of the folly of slipping their Opportunity; but they were Lost beyond All Redemption first.

The MORAL.

Wise Men read Effects in their Causes, but Fools will not Believe them till 'tis too late to prevent the Mischief. Delay in these Cases is Mortal.

REFLEXION.

MANY and Many a time has this been our own Case, both publick and private, when we would not Believe the Danger of things 'till the Evil was come upon us: But Good Council is cast away, upon the Arrogant, the Self-conceited, or the stupid, who are either too Proud to take it, or too Heavy to Understand it.

The Sowing of Hemp-seed, and of Plot-seed is much at one. The Design, and the End are Destruction, Both Alike. The Swallow proposes the Preventing of ill Consequences in their Causes, and Obviating the Mischief Betimes: But that Counsel is either thrown off with a Raillery, or not minded at all: Governours would have enough to do, they Cry, to trouble their Heads with the Politiques of every Medling Officious Impertinent. Well! It takes Root; shews itself in the Blade, Advances, and Ripens: And still the Swallow is but the same Fool over again, for continuing the same Advice. The Hemp comes at last to be pluckt-up, Pill'd, Dress'd, and Spun; The Nets and Snares made and laid; and yet all this while the Birds could never find a time to Bethink themselves, till they came to be Hamper'd, and Ruined past Recovery.

What is all this but a perfect Emblem of the Method of Destroying Kingdoms and States. Cautions, or the common Ways of Anticipating, or Defeating Conspiracies, are below the Wisdom of men of Intrigue, and Cabal; till at last, a Faction comes to be too hard for the Government. Now whether this befals a Kingdom by Envy, Ignorance, Conspiracy, Treachery, or Presumption, it comes all to a case, so long as it does the Work. It is the Bane of Society, and in truth, even of particular Persons too, when betwixt Laziness and Neglect, men slip all the Opportunities, with the Birds here in the Fable, of a Safe, and of a Happy Life.

 


 

FAB. XIX. The Frogs Chuse a King.

IN the days of Old, when the Frogs were All at liberty in the Lakes, and grown quite Weary of living without Government, they Petition'd Iupiter for a King, to the End that there might be [Page 20] some Distinction of Good and Evil, by Certain Equitable Rules and Methods of Reward and Punishment. Iupiter, that knew the Vanity of their Hearts, threw them down a Log for their Governour; which, upon the first Dash, frighted the whole Mobile of them into the Mudd for the very fear on't. This Panick Terror kept them in Awe for a while, 'till in good time, one Frog, Bolder than the Rest, put up his Head, and look'd about him, to see how squares went with their New King. Upon This, he calls his Fellow-Subjects together; Opens the truth of the Case; and Nothing would serve them then, but Riding a-top of him, Insomuch that the Dread they were in before, is now turn'd into Insolence, and Tumult. This King they said was too Tame for them, and Iupiter must needs be Entreated to send 'em Another: He did so, but Authors are Divided upon it, whether 'twas a Stork, or a Serpent; though whether of the Two soever it was, he left them neither Liberty, nor Property, but made a Prey of his Subjects. Such was their Condition in fine, that they sent Mercury to Iupiter yet once again for Another King, whose Answer was This: They that will not be Contented when they are Well, must be Patient when Things are Amiss with them; and People had better Rest where they are, than go farther, and fare Worse.

The MORAL.

The Mobile are Uneasie without a Ruler: They are as Restless with one; and the oftn'er they shift, the Worse they Are; So that Government, or No Government; a King of God's Making, or of the Peoples, or none at all; the Multitude are never to be satisfied.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable, under the Emblem of the Frogs, sets forth the Murmuring, and the Unsteadiness of the Common People; that in a State of Liberty will have a King: They do not like him when they have him, and so Change again, and grow Sicker of the Next, than they were of the Former. Now the Bus'ness is only this: They are never satisfy'd with their present Condition; but their Governors are still either too Dull, or too Rigid. 'Tis a Madness for him that's Free, to put himself into a state of Bondage, and rather than bear a Less Misfortune to Hazzard a Greater.

This Allusion of the Frogs runs upon All Four (as they say) in the Resemblance of the Multitude, both for the Humour, the Murmur, the Importunity, and the subject-Matter of the Petition. Redress of Grievances is the Question, and the Devil of it is, that the Petitioners are never to be pleas'd. In one Fit they cannot be Without Government: In Another they cannot bear the Yoak on't. They find Absolute Freedom to be a Direct State of War; for where there's no Means of either preventing Strife, or Ending it, the Weaker are still a Prey to the Stronger. One King is too Soft, and Easie for them; Another too Fierce! And then a Third Change [Page 21] would do Better they think. Now 'tis Impossible to satisfie people that would have they know not what. They Beg and Wrangle, and Appeal, and their Answer is at last, that if they shift again, they shall be still Worse; By which, the Frogs are given to Understand the very truth of the Matter, as we find it in the World, both in the Nature, and Reason of the Thing, and in Policy, and Religion; which is, That Kings are from God, and that it is a Sin, a Folly, and a Madness, to struggle with his Appointments.

 


 

FAB. XX. The Kite, Hawk, and Pigeons.

THE Pigeons finding themselves Persecuted by the Kite, made Choice of the Hawk for their Guardian. The Hawk sets up for their Protector; but under Countenance of That Authority, makes more Havock in the Dove-House in Two Days, than the Kite could have done in Twice as many Months.

The MORAL.

'Tis a Dangerous Thing for People to call in a Powerful and an Ambitious man for their Protector; and upon the Clamour of here and there a Private person, to hazard the Whole Community.

REFLEXION.

IT is Highly Dangerous, and Imprudent, for a People in War to call in an Enemy-Prince to their Defence. There's no Trusting a Perfidious Man, nor any Enmity like the Pretended Protection of a Treacherous Friend.

There is no Living in this World without Inconveniences, and therefore People should have the Wit, or the Honesty, to take up with the Least, and to bear the Lot, which is not to be Avoided, with Honour, and Patience. How many Experiments have been made in the Memory of Man, both in Religion, and in State, to mend Matters, upon pretence that they were Uneasie, by making them Intolerable, And whence is This, but from a Mistaken Opinion of the Present, and as False a Judgment of the Future! And all for want of Rightly Understanding the Nature and the Condition of Things, and for want of Foresight into Events. But we are Mad upon Variety, and so Sick of the Present, (how much soever Without, or Against Reason) that we Abandon the Wisdom, and the Providence of Heaven, and Fly from the Grievances of God's Appointment, to Blind Chance for a Remedy. This Fable in One Word was never more Exactly Moralized than in our Broils of Famous Memory.

The Kite was the Evil Counsellour; The Free-Born People that Complain'd of them were the Pigeons; The Hawk was the Power or Authority that they Appeal'd to for Protection. And what did all this come to at Last? The very Guardians that took upon them to Rescue the Pigeons from the Kite, destroy'd the Whole Dove-House, devour'd the Birds, and shar'd the Spoil among Themselves.

[Page 22]

 


 

FAB. XXI. A Dog and a Thief.

AS a Gang of Thieves were at work to Rob a House, a Mastiff took the Alarum, and fell a Baying: One of the Company spoke him Fair, and would have Stopt his Mouth with a Crust: No, says the Dog, This will not do, for Several Reasons. First, I'll take no Bribes to Betray my Master. Secondly, I am not such a Fool neither, as to sell the Ease and Liberty of my Whole Life to come, for a piece of Bread in Hand: For when you have Rifled my Master; pray who shall Maintain Me?

The MORAL.

Fair Words, Presents, and Flatteries are the Methods of Treachery in Courts as well as in Cottages, only the Dogs are Truer to their Masters than the Men.

REFLEXION.

WHEN Ill Men take up a Fit of Kindness all on a sudden, and appear to be Better Natur'd than Usual, 'tis Good Discretion to suspect Fraud, and to lay their Words, and their Practices together: The Greater the Trust, the Greater is the Treachery, and the Baser is the Villany too. This Moral reaches to All sorts of Trustees whatsoever.

It were well if All Two-Footed Servants were but as Faithful to their Masters as This Four-Legg'd Animal. A Loaf of Bread was as much to Him as a Bag of Guineas to a Great-Officer; And why should not the One make as much Conscience of Betraying his Patron for Gold, as the Other of doing it for a Crust? Beside the Right Reasoning of the Dog uppon the Consequence of Things. If I take Your Bread, (says he) You'll Rob My Master. But in the Other case it is not so much a Deliberation of what will follow upon't, as a kind of Tacit Composition, that does as good as say [For so much Mony I'll shut my Eyes, and let You Rob my Master.] Here's an Emblem now, of the Foresight, Fidelity, and Duty of a Trusty Servant, on the One hand, and of the Flattery, Arts and Practices that are Employ'd by Evil Men to Corrupt him on the Other.

Under the figure of This Faithful Trusty Servant; is Couch'd a Lecture to All men of Business; let them be Councellors, Confidents, Favourites, Officers, Soldiers, Traders, or what you will. For there are Good and Bad of All Kinds and Professions. So that Aesop's Dog is a Reproach to False Men. Publick Persons have their ways of Temptation, and Address, as well as Private. And He that suffers a Government to be Abus'd by Carelesness, or Neglect, does the Same thing, with Him that Maliciously and Corruptly sets himself to Cozen it. This holds as well too in the Private Case of being either Principal or Accessory to the Robbing of a House; Only the Former, is a Treachery of a Deeper Dye. There are Loaves at the Gates of Courts and Palaces, as well as at the Door of a Cottage; and to Encourage the Abuse, there are a Thousand Quirks to avoid the Stroke of [Page 23] the Law, though None to Avoid the Guilt of the Sin. There needs no Contract Express; No Explicit Confederacy; for the Consent, and the Assistance is Imply'd in receiving the Present; Or according to the Word in Fashion, the [Acknowledgment:] which is only a Softer Name for a Bribe. Now this Acknowledgment is of the Nature of a Direct Bargain, where the Sum, or the Reward is agreed upon before the Thing be done; though there's room yet for a Distinction, even in These Cases, betwixt what's done Openly and Barefac'd, and a Thing that's done in Hugger mugger, under a Seal of Secrecy and Concealment. But the Conscience at last is the Best Judg of the Fraud. And without any more Words, the Dog in the Fable perform'd All the Parts of a Trusty Servant.

 


 

FAB. XXII. A Wolf and a Sow.

A Wolf came to a Sow that was just lying down, and very kindly offer'd to take care of her Litter. The Sow as Civily thank'd her for her Love, and desir'd she would be pleas'd to stand off a little, and do her the Good Office at a Distance.

The MORAL.

There are no Snares so Dangerous as those that are laid for us under the Name of Good Offices.

REFLEXION.

ALL Men are not to be Believ'd, or Trusted in All Cases; for People Generally Speaking are kind to their Neighbours for their Own Sakes. [Timeo Danaos, & Dona ferentes] A Wise Man will keep himself upon his Guard against the whole World, and more Especially against a Known Enemy, but most of All against that Enemy in the Shape of a Friend. As the Sow had more Wit than to Entertain a Wolf for her Nurse.

 


 

FAB. XXIII. A Mountain in Labour.

VVHen Mountains cry out, people may well be Excus'd the Apprehension of some Prodigious Birth. This was the Case here in the Fable. The Neighbourhood were All at their Wits end, to consider what would be the Issue of That Labour, and instead of the Dreadful Monster that they Expected, Out comes at last a Ridiculous Mouse.

[Page 24]

The MORAL.

Much ado about Nothing.

REFLEXION.

WHAT are All the Extravagant Attempts and Enterprizes of Vain Men in the World, but Morals, more or less of This Fable? What are Mighty Pretences, without Consideration, or Effect, but the Vapours of a Distemper, that like Sickly Dreams, have neither Issue nor Connexion? And the Disappointment is not All neither; for men make themselves Ridiculous, instead of Terrible, when this Tympany shall come to End in a Blast: and a Mountain to bring forth a Mouse.

 


 

FAB. XXIV. An Asse and an Ungrateful Master.

A Poor Asse, that what with Age, Labour, and Hard Burdens, was now worn out to the Stumps in the Service of an Unmerciful Master, had the Ill Hap one day to make a False Step, and to fall down under his Load. His Driver runs up to him Immediately, and Beats him almost to Death for't. This (says the Asse to himself) is according to the Course of the Ungrateful World. One Casual Slip is enough to Weigh down the Faithful and Affectionate Services of Long Life.

 


 

FAB. XXV. An Old Dog and his Master.

AN Old Dog, that in his Youth had led his Master many a Merry Chase, and done him all the Offices of a Trusty Servant, came at last, upon falling from his Speed and Vigour, to be Loaden at Every turn with Blows and Reproaches for it. Why Sir, (says the Dog) My Will is as Good as ever it was; but my Strength, and my Teeth are gone; and you might with as good a Grace, and Every jot as much Justice, Hang me up because I'm Old, as Beat me because I'm Impotent.

The MORAL of the two FABLES above.

The Reward of Affection and Fidelity must be the Work of another World: Not but that the Conscience of Well-Doing is a Comfort that may pass [Page 25] for a Recompence even in This; in Despite of Ingratitude and Injustice.

REFLEXION.

THESE Fables are a Reproof to the Ungrateful Cruelty of those that will neither Forgive One Slip, nor Reward a Thousand Services, but take more Notice of a Particular Unlucky Accident, than of a General Laudable Practice. But One Stumble is enough to Deface the Character of an Honourable Life. It is a Barbarous Inhumanity in Great Men to Old Servants, to make the Failings of Age to be a Crime, without allowing the Past Services of Their Strength and Youth, to have been a Virtue. And This is found in Governments, as well as in Courts, and Private Families; with Masters and Mistresses, as well as in States.

'Tis a miserable Thing, when Faithful Servants fall into the hands of Insensible, and Unthankful Masters; Such as Value Services only by the Profit they bring them, without any regard to the Zeal, Faith, and Affections, of the Heart, and pay them with Blows, and Reproaches in their Age, for the Use, Strength and Industry of their Youth. Nay Humane Frailty it self is Imputed to them for a Crime, and they are Treated Worse than Beasts for not being More than Men. Here's an Old Drudging Curr turn'd off to Shift for Himself, for want of the very Teeth and Heels that he had lost in his Masters Service. Nay, if he can but come off for Starving, it passes for an Act of Mercy. Under These Circumstances, the Bare Sense of a Calamity is call'd Grumbling, and if a man does but make a Face upon the Boot, he's presently a Male-Content. It may be a Question now, whether the Wickedness, or the Imprudence of this Iniquity be the more Pernicious; for over and above the Inhumanity, 'tis a Doctrine of Ill Consequence to the Master Himself, to shew the World how Impossible a Thing it is for a Servant to Oblige and Please him: Nay, it is some sort of Temptation also to Impiety and Injustice, when Virtue and Duty come to be made Dangerous.

And yet it is not One Master perhaps of Twenty, all this while, that either directs, or takes Notice of These Indignities. It goes a Great Way, 'tis true, Barely to Permit them. One while perchance the Master is not Aware of what is done, and then in Other Cases, it may fall out Effectually to be his Own Act, even against his Own Will: That is to say, when the Passions of Imperious, and Ill Natur'd Servants are Cover'd with the Name and Authority of their Patrons, in the Abuse of a Trust that was Plac'd in 'em for Honester, and for Nobler Ends. It is Congruous enough yet to Apply the Moral of This Fiction, rather to the Driver of the Asse, and to the Huntsman that Manag'd the Chase, than to the Master Himself: But the Asse and Dog were Beaten however, for being Old, and spent, in Despite of All the Bonds and Instincts of Honour, Piety, and Good Nature.

[Page 26]

 


 

FAB. XXVI. An Asse, an Ape, and a Mole.

AN Asse and an Ape were Conferring Grievances. The Asse complain'd mightily for want of Horns, and the Ape was as much troubled for want of a Tail. Hold your Tongues Both of ye, says the Mole, and be Thankful for what you have, for the Poor Moles are Stark Blind, and in a Worse Condition than either of ye.

 


 

FAB. XXVII. The Hares and the Frogs.

ONce upon a time the Hares found themselves mightily Unsatisfy'd with the Miserable Condition they Liv'd in, and call'd a Council to Advise upon't. Here we live, says one of 'em, at the Mercy of Men, Dogs, Eagles, and I know not how many Other Creatures and Vermine, that Prey upon us at Pleasure; Perpetually in Frights, Perpetually in Danger; And therefore I am absolutely of Opinion that we had Better Die once for All, than live at This rate in a Continual Dread that's Worse than Death it self. The Motion was Seconded and Debated, and a Resolution Immediately taken, One and All, to Drown Themselves. The Vote was no sooner pass'd, but away they Scudded with That Determination to the Next Lake. Upon this Hurry, there leapt a Whole Shoal of Frogs from the Bank into the Water, for fear of the Hares. Nay, then my Masters, says one of the Gravest of the Company, pray let's have a little Patience. Our Condition I find is not altogether so bad as we fancy'd it; for there are Those you see that are as much affraid of Us, as we are of Others.

The MORAL of the TWO Fables above.

There's No Contending with the Orders and Decrees of Providence. He that Made us knows what's Fittest for us; and Every man's Own Lot (well Understood and Manag'd) is Undoubtedly the Best.

REFLEXION.

'Tis the Intent of These Two Fables, to shew, that no People are so Miserable, but that at some Time or Other, in some Thing or Other, they have Reason to Account themselves Happy. And if they would but duly [Page 27] consider, how it is with many of their Neighbours, they would find it their Duty to be Thankful, that it is no Worse with Themselves. It is some Relief to the Miserable to shew them that there are Others yet more Miserable, and there is not any thing so Timerous, but something else is affraid of It. There are Those, 'tis True, that Die for the very Fear of Death, and Plunge themselves into Certain Misery, upon the Bare Apprehension of it: But this comes rather from their Spleen, than their Misfortune.

Since so it is, that Nature Provides for the Necessities of All Creatures, and for the Well-Being of Every One in it's kind: And since it is not in the Power of any Creature to make it self Other than what by Providence it was Design'd to be; what a Madness is it to Wish our selves Other than what we Are, and what we Must continue to Be: Since the Thing is Bounded, and the Whole Matter Pre-Determin'd. Every Atome of the Creation has its Place Assign'd: Every Creature has its Proper Figure, and there is No Disputing with Him that Made it so. Why have not I This? and why have not I That? are Questions for a Philosopher of Bedlam to ask; and we may as well Cavil at the Motions of the Heavens, the Vicissitude of Day and Night, and the Succession of the Seasons, as Expostulate with Providence upon any of the rest of Gods Works. The Asse would have Horns, and the Tinker would fain be in Bed with my Lady. The Ape would have a Tail; and why should not a Mountebank Complain that he is not a Minister of State or Iustice? But in short, the Poor, Wretched, Blind Mole puts in with her Doctrine to take up the Quarrel.

And what's the Case of the Hares now, but an Instance to Fortifie us against Panick Frights and Terrors, for Trivial Causes; where the Fears are a great deal more Terrible than the Dangers? In All These Cases, we fancy our selves much more Miserable than we Are, for want of taking a True Estimate of Things. We fly into Transports without Reason, and Judge of the Happiness, or Calamity, of Humane Life, by False Lights. A Strict Enquiry into the Truth of Matters will Help us in the One, and Comparison will set us Right in the Other. The Dogs and the Eagles Frighted the Hares; The Hares Frighted the Frogs, and the Frogs, Twenty to One, Frighted something else. This is according to the Course of the World, One Fears Another, and some body else is affraid of Him.

It may seem to be a kind of a Malicious Satisfaction, that One Man derives from the Misfortunes of Another. But the Philosophy of This Reflexion stands upon Another Ground; for Our Comfort does not Arise from Other peoples being Miserable, but from This Inference upon the Ballance, That we suffer only the Lot of Humane Nature: And as we are Happy or Miserable, compar'd with Others, So Other People are Miserable or Happy Compar'd with Us: By which Justice of Providence, we come to be Convinc'd of the Sin, and the Mistake of our Ingratitude. What would not a man give to be Eas'd of the Gout or the Stone? Or supposing an Incurable Poverty on the One Hand, and an Incurable Malady on the Other; Why should not the Poor Man think himself Happier in his Rags, than the Other in his Purple? But the Rich Man Envies the Poor mans Health, without considering his Want; and the Poor Man Envies the Others Treasure without considering his Diseases. What's an Ill Name in the World to a Good Conscience within Ones self? And how much less Miserable upon the Wheel, is One man that is Innocent, than Another under the Same Torture that's Guilty. The Only Way [Page 28] for Hares and Asses, is to be Thankful for what they Are, and what they Have, and not to Grumble at the Lot that they must bear in spite of their Teeth.

 


 

FAB. XXVIII. A Wolf, Kid, and Goat.

A Goat that was going out one Morning for a Mouthful of Fresh Grass, Charg'd her Kid upon her Blessing, not to Open the Door till she came back, to any Creature that had not a Beard. The Goat was no sooner out of sight, but up comes a Wolf to the Door, that had Over-heard the Charge; and in a Small Pipe calls to the Kid to let her Mother come in. The Kid smelt out the Roguery, and bad the Wolf shew his Beard, and the Door should be Open to him.

The MORAL.

There never was any Hypocrite so Disguis'd, but he had some Mark or Other yet to be known by.

REFLEXION.

HERE is Prudence, Caution, and Obedience, recommended to us in the Kids refusal to Open the Door; and here is likewise set forth in the Wolf, the Practice of a Fraudulent, and a Bloody Impostor. This Moral runs through the Whole Business of Humane Life, for so much as the Plot is carry'd on against the Simple and the Innocent, under False Colours, and Feigned Pretences. There are Wolves, in Policy, as well as in Mythology; and if the Kids Obedience had not been more than her Sagacity, she would have found, to her Cost, the Teeth of a Wolf, in the mouth of a Goat; and the malice of an Enemy cover'd under the Voice and Pretence of a Parent.

 


 

FAB. XXIX. A Dog, a Sheep, and a Wolf.

A Dog brought an Action of the Case against a Sheep, for some Certain Measures of Wheat, that he had lent him. The Plaintiff prov'd the Debt by Three Positive Witnesses, The Wolf, the Kite, and the Vultur, (Testes Probi & Legales) The Defendent was cast into Costs and Damages, and forc'd to sell the Wool off his Back to Satisfie the Creditor.

[Page 29]

The MORAL.

'Tis not a Straw matter whether the Main Cause be Right or Wrong, or the Charge True or False; Where the Bench, Iury and Witnesses are in a Conspiracy against the Pris'ner.

REFLEXION.

NO Innocence can be Safe, where Power and Malice are in Confederacy against it. There's No Fence against Subornation, and False Evidence. What Greater Judgment can befall a Nation, than for Sheep to be made Trespassers, and Wolves, Kites, and Vulturs to set up for Witnesses! This is a Large Field, if a body would Amplifie upon it: But the History of of the Age in Memory will be the Best Moral of This Fable. There's No Living however without Law: and there's No Help for't in many Cases, if the Saving Equity be Over-rul'd by the Killing Letter of it. 'Tis the Verdict that does the Business; but 'tis the Evidence, True, or False that Governs the Verdict. So that, (as it sometimes falls out) the Honour of the Publick may come to be Concern'd in the Defence and Support of an Undetected Perjury. The only Danger is the giving too much Credit to the Oaths of Kites and Vulturs. That is to say, of Witnesses so Profligate as to bring a Scandal even upon Truth it self, where it is so Asserted.

 


 

FAB. XXX. A Countryman and a Snake.

THere was a Snake that Bedded himself under the Threshold of a Country-House: A Child of the Family happen'd to set his Foot upon't; The Snake bit him, and he Di'd on't. The Father of the Child made a Blow at the Snake, but Miss'd his Aim, and only left a Mark behind him upon the Stone where he Struck. The Countryman Offer'd the Snake, some time after This, to be Friends again. No, says the Snake, so long as you have This Flaw upon the Stone in Your Eye, and the Death of the Child in your Thought, there's No Trusting of ye.

The MORAL

In Matter of Friendship and Trust, we can never be too Tender; but yet there's a Great Difference betwixt Charity and Facility. We may Hope Well in many Cases, but let it be without Venturing Neck, and All upon't, for New-Converts are Slippery.

REFLEXION.

'Tis Ill Trusting a Reconcil'd Enemy; but 'tis Worse yet, to Proceed at One Step, from Clemency and Tenderness, to Confidence and Trust: [Page 30] Especially where there are so many Memorials in Sight, for Hatred and Revenge to work upon. 'Tis Generous however to Forgive an Enemy; though Extremely Hazardous to Grace him in the doing of an Ill Thing, with the Countenance of a Deference to his Merit. Nay, a Bare Easiness of Pardoning has but too often the Force of a Temptation to Offend again. 'Tis a Nice Business to Indulge on the Left Hand, without Punishing on the Right, for there must be No Sacrificing of a Faithful Friend to the Generosity of Obliging a Mortal Enemy. But the Case is then most Deplorate when Reward goes over to the Wrong side, and when Interest shall be made the Test and the Measure of Virtue. Upon the whole Matter, the Countryman was too Easie, in Proposing a Reconciliation; (the Circumstances duly Consider'd) And the Snake was much in the Right on the Other hand, in not entertaining it from a man that had so many Remembrancers at Hand still, to Provoke him to a Revenge. 'Tis a great Errour to take Facility, for Good Nature: Tenderness, without Discretion, is no better than a mere Pardonable Folly.

 


 

FAB. XXXI. A Fox and a Stork.

THere was a Great Friendship once betwixt a Fox and a Stork, and the Former would needs Invite the Other to a Treat. They had Several Soups serv'd up in Broad Dishes and Plates, and so the Fox fell to Lapping, Himself, and bad his Guest Heartily Welcom to what was before him. The Stork found he was Put upon, but set so Good a Face however upon his Entertainment; that his Friend by All means must take a Supper with Him That night in Revenge. The Fox made Several Excuses upon the Matter of Trouble and Expence, but the Stork in fine, would not be said Nay; So that at last, he promis'd him to come. The Collation was serv'd up in Glasses, with Long Narrow Necks, and the Best of Every thing that was to be had. Come (says the Stork to his Friend) Pray be as Free as if you were at home, and so fell to 't very Savourly Himself. The Fox quickly found This to be a Trick, though he could not but Allow of the Contrivance as well as the Justice of the Revenge. For such a Glass of Sweet-Meats to the One, was just as much to the Purpose, as a Plate of Porridge to the Other.

The MORAL.

'Tis allowable in all the Liberties of Conversation to give a Man a Rowland for his Oliver, and to pay him in his Own Coin, as we say; provided always that we keep within the Compass of Honour, and Good Manners.

[Page 31]

REFLEXION.

AESOP has here given us the Fiction of a Case, wherein it may not be Amiss to repay an Abuse in its own Kind. The Mockery of the Fox was a Reproach, as it Hit the Stork on the Weak side; but That which was Rudeness, and Ill Nature in the Aggressor, was only a Monitory Justice, and a Discreet Sharpness in the Other. But This is the Fate Commonly of Drolls and Buffoons, that while they think to make Sport with Others, they serve only in the conclusion for a Laughing Stock Themselves.

There's Nothing looks Sillier than a Crafty Knave Out-witted, and Beaten at his Own Play. The Foxes Frolick went too far, in regard it was both upon an Invitation, and under his Own Roof. Now the Return of the Stork was only a Quid pro Quo, and a Warrantable Revenge, even according to the Rules of Good Manners, and Good Fellowship; for the Fox's leading the Humour gave the Other not only a Provocation, but a kind of a Right to Requite him in his Own Way: Beside that it was the Cleverer Mockery of the Two. This may serve to Reprove Those Liberties in Conversation that pass the Bounds of Good Nature, Honour, Honesty, and Respect. When they Exceed These Limits, they Degenerate into Scurrility, Scandal, and Reproach: for in All Cases, an Eye must be had to the Due Circumstances of Measure, Time, Place, Occasion, and Person. The Laws of Humanity, and Hospitality must be kept Sacred upon any Terms: for the Wounding of a Friend for the sake of a Jest, is an Intemperance, and an Immorality, not to be Endur'd. There was somewhat of This in the Fox's leading the Frolique.

 


 

FAB. XXXII. A Fox and a Carv'd Head.

AS a Fox was Rummidging among a Great many Carv'd Figures, there was One very Extraordinary Piece among the Rest. He took it up, and when he had Consider'd it a while, Well, (says he) What Pity 'tis, that so Exquisite an Outside of a Head should not have one Grain of Sense in't.

The MORAL.

'Tis not the Barber or the Taylor that makes the Man; and 'tis No New Thing to see a Fine Wrought Head without so much as One Grain of Salt in't.

REFLEXION.

MANY a Fool has a Fair Out-side, and Many a Man of Fortune, and Title has not so much as Common Sense. We have a Whole World of Heads to Answer the Drift of This Emblem: But there is No Judging however by the Senses, of Matters that the Senses can take No Cognizance [Page 32] of; as Virtue, Wisdom, and the Like. The Excellency, in fine, of of the Soul is above the Beauty of the Body: Not but that the Graces of the One, and the Endowments of the Other, may Encounter sometimes, (how rarely soever) in One and the Same Person. But Beauty and Judgment are so far yet from being Inseparable, that they seem Effectually to Require, More or Less, a Diversity of Temperament: Beside that More Care is taken to Cultivate the Advantages of the Body than those of the Mind. To Wrap up all in a Word, the World it self is but a Great Shop of Carv'd Heads; and the Fox's Conceit will hold as well in the Life, as in the Fiction.

 


 

FAB. XXXIII. A Daw and Borrow'd Feathers.

A Daw that had a mind to be Sparkish, Trick'd himself up with all the Gay-Feathers he could Muster together: And upon the Credit of these Stoll'n, or Borrow'd Ornaments, he Valu'd himself above All the Birds in the Air Beside. The Pride of This Vanity got him the Envy of all his Companions, who, upon a Discovery of the Truth of the Case, fell to Pluming of him by Consent; and when Every Bird had taken his Own Feather; the Silly Daw had Nothing left him to Cover his Nakedness.

The MORAL.

We steal from one Another all manner of Ways, and to all manner of Purposes; Wit, as well as Feathers; but where Pride and Beggery Meet, people are sure to be made Ridiculous in the Conclusion.

REFLEXION.

EVERY thing is Best, and Every Man Happiest, in the State and Condition wherein Nature has Plac'd them; But if Daws will be setting up for Peacocks, or Asses for Lions, they must Expect, and Content themselves to be Laugh'd at for their Pains. The Allusion of the Daw here, and his Borrow'd Feathers, Extends to All sorts of Impostors, Vain Pretenders, and Romancers, in Feats of Arms, State, Love, or the Like. It Points also at the Empty Affectation of Wit and Understanding; in which case, it fares as it does with men that set up for Quality, Birth, and Bravery, upon the Credit of a Gay Out-side; for Authors may be Cozen'd upon the Tick, as well as Taylors: Nay, we have seen some, even of our First Rate Writers, that have been Better at Disguising other Peoples Works, than Furnishing any thing of their Own; That is to say; upon the taking of them to pieces, the Stuff and Trimming is found to be Wholly Stol'n, and New-Fourbish'd; and Nothing, in short, that they can Assume to Themselves but the Needle and Thread that Tackt the Composition together. Now when these Plagiaries come to be Stript of their Borrow'd, or Pilser'd Ornaments, rhere's the Daw in the Fable truly Moraliz'd.

[Page 33]

 


 

FAB. XXXIV. An Ant and a Fly.

THere happen'd a Warm Dispute betwixt an Ant and a Fly. Why, Where's the Honour, or the Pleasure in the World, says the Fly, that I have not My Part in? Are not All Temples and Palaces Open to me? Am not I the Taster to Gods and Princes, in All their Sacrifices and Entertainments? Am I not serv'd in Gold and Silver? And is not my Meat and Drink still of the Best? And all This, without either Mony or Pains. I Trample upon Crowns, and Kiss what Ladies Lips I please. And what have You now to Pretend to all this While? Why, says the Ant, You Value Your self upon the Access You have to the Altars of the Gods, the Cabinets of Princes, and to All Publick Feasts and Collations: And what's all This but the Access of an Intruder, not of a Guest. For People are so far from Liking Your Company, that they Kill ye as fast as they can Catch ye. You're a Plague to 'em Wherever You Come. Your very Breath has Maggots in 't, and for the Kisse you Brag of, what is it but the Perfume of the Last Dunghil you Touch'd upon, once Remov'd? For My Part, I live upon what's my Own, and Work Honestly in the Summer to Maintain my self in the Winter; Whereas the whole Course of Your Scandalous Life, is only Cheating or Sharping, one Half of the Year, and Starving, the Other.

The MORAL.

Here's An Emblem of Industry, and Luxury, set forth at large: with the Sober Advantages, and the Scandalous Excesses of the One and of the Other.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable Marks out to us the Difference betwixt the Empty Vanity of Ostentation, and the Substantial Ornaments of Virtue. It shews that the Happiness of Life does not lie so much in the Enjoying of small Advantages, as in living free from Great Inconveniences, and that an Honest Mediocrity is Best. The Fly stands up for the Pride, the Luxury, and the Ambition of Courts, in the preference of Palaces, to Caves, and Private Retreats. The Ant contents her self with the Virtue of Sobriety, Retirement, and Moderation: She lives upon her Own, Honestly Gotten and Possess'd, without either Envy or Violence; Whereas the Fly is an Intruder, and a Common Smell-Feast, that Spunges upon Other peoples Trenchers.

[Page 34] A Man can hardly fancy to himself a Truer Image of a Plain, Honest, Country Simplicity, then the Ants part of the Dialogue in This Fable. She takes pains for What she Eats; Wrongs No body; and so Creates No Enemies; She wants Nothing, and she Boasts of Nothing; Lives Contented with her Own, and Enjoys all with a Good Conscience. This Emblem recommends to us the Blessings of a Virtuous Privacy, according to the just Measures of Right Nature, and in Few Words, comprizes the Sum of a Happy State.

The Fly, on the Contrary, leads a Lazy, Voluptuous, Scandalous, Sharking Life; Hateful wherever she comes, and in Perpetual Fears and Dangers. She flutters, 'tis true, from place to place, from Feast to Feast, Brags of her Interest at Court, and of Ladies Favours: And what's This Miserable Insect at last, but the very Picture of one of our Ordinary Trencher-Squires, that spend their time in Hopping from One Great man's Table to Anothers, only to Pick up Scraps, and Intelligence, and to Spoil Good Company! I cannot see one of These Officious, Humble Companions, Skipping up and down from Levée to Levée, and making himself Necessary, wherever he thinks fit to be Troublesome: I cannot hear a Finical Fop Romancing, how the King took him aside at such a time; What the Queen said to him at Another; How many Ladies fell out who should have him to her self; What Discourse pass'd; Where he is to Eat to morrow; What Company; What Dishes; What Wine; Who Loves Who; and what Intrigues are afoot in Church and State, &c. Without More Words I cannot Hear the Chat, or see the Vanity of these Pragmatical Empty Busie-Bodies without thinking of the Fly in the Fable. And This Application was the True End of Writing it.

 


 

FAB. XXXV. A Frog and an Oxe.

AS a Huge Over-grown Oxe was Grazing in a Meadow, an Old Envious Frog that stood Gaping at him hard by, call'd out to her Little Ones, to take Notice of the Bulk of That Monstrous Beast; and see, says she, if I don't make my self now the Bigger of the Two. So she Strain'd Once, and Twice, and went still swelling on and on, till in the Conclusion she Forc'd her self, and Burst.

The MORAL.

Betwixt Pride, Envy, and Ambition, men fancy Themselves to be Bigger than they are, and Other People to be Less: And This Tumour Swells it self at last 'till it makes All Fly.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fancy is a Lash upon Those that set up to Live above their Quality and Fortune, and pretend to spend Penny for Penny with men of [Page 35] Twenty times their Estate, and therefore must needs Burst in the Conclusion! But Pride and Ambition Pushes men forward, not only to Extravagances, but Impossibilities, though to the Certain Undoing of the Weaker and the Meaner: When they come to Vie Power and Expence with Those that are too High, and too many for them.

Men that would be Bigger than God has made them, must e'en Expect to fall to Nothing. This Affectation strikes upon All the Weaknesses that Pride, Envy, or Ambition can fancy to it self, provided always that we do not take Emulation for Envy. In One Word, when men's Hearts and Thoughts are puff'd up into a Desire of Things Unnatural, the Tumour is Incurable. But they are Weak Minds commonly, that are Tainted with This Evil. They take False Measures, both of Themselves, and of Others, without considering the Limits, Bulk, Fortune, Ability, Strength, &c. or in truth, the very Nature of the Things, Matters, or Person in Question. They set up Competitors for Learning, Power, Estate, Policy; They Censure their Betters, Despise their Equals, and Admire Themselves: But their Greatness all this while, is only in Imagination, and they make All fly with the Frog at last, by Straining to be Bigger than they Are, and Bigger than 'tis possible for them to Be.

 


 

FAB. XXXVI. An Asse and a Wolf.

AN Asse had got a Thorn in's Foot, and for want of a Better Surgeon, who but a Wolf at last, to draw it out with his Teeth! The Asse was no sooner Eas'd, but he gave his Operator such a Lick under the Ear with his Sound Foot for his Pains, that he Stunn'd him, and so went his way.

 


 

FAB. XXXVII. A Horse and a Lion.

THere was an Old Hungry Lion would fain have been Dealing with a piece of Good Horse-Flesh that he had in his Eye; but the Nag he thought would be too Fleet for him, unless he could Supply the want of Heels, by Artifice and Address. He puts himself into the Garb, and Habit of a Professor of Physick, and according to the Humour of the World, sets up for a Doctor of the College. Under this Pretext, he lets fall a Word or two by way of Discourse, upon the Subject of his Trade; but the Horse Smelt him out, and presently a Crotchet came in his Head how he might Countermine him. I got a Thorn in my Foot T'other [Page 36] day, says the Horse, as I was Crossing a Thicket, and I'm e'en quite Lame on't. Oh, says the New Physician, Do but hold up your Leg a little, and I'll Cure ye immediately. The Lion presently puts himself in posture for the Office; but the Patient was too Nimble for his Doctor, and so soon as ever he had him Fair for his Purpose, gave him so Terrible a Rebuke upon the Forehead with his Heel, that he laid him at his Length, and so got off with a whole Skin, before the Other could Execcute his Design.

The MORAL of the Two Fables above.

Harm Watch, Harm Catch, is but according to the Common Rule of Equity and Retaliation, and a very Warrantable Way of Deceiving the Deceiver.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S No Trusting to the Fair Words of Those that have both an Interest, and an Inclination to Destroy us; Especially when the Design is carrv'd on under the Masque of a Friendly Office. It is but reasonable to Oppose Art to Art, and where we suspect False-Play, to Encounter One Trick with Another: Provided always that it be Manag'd without breach of Faith, and within the Compass of Honour, Honesty, and Good Manners. The Wolfe had the same Design upon the Asse, that the Lion had upon the Horse; and the Matter being brought to a Trial of Skill between them, the Countermine was only an Act of Self-Preservation.

FAB▪ XXXVIII. A Horse and an Asse.

IN the Days of Old, when Horses spoke Greek and Latin, and Asses made Syllogisms, there happen'd an Encounter upon the Road betwixt a Proud Pamper'd Iade in the Full Course of his Carriere, and a Poor Creeping Ass, under a Heavy Burden, that had Chopt into the same Track with him. Why, how now Sirrah, says he, D'ye not see by these Arms, and Trappings, to what Master I belong? And D'ye not Understand that when I have That Master of mine upon my Back, the Whole Weight of the State rests upon My Shoulders? Out of the way thou slavish Insolent Animal, or I'll Tread thee to Dirt. The Wretched Asse immediately Slunck aside, with this Envious Reflexion betwixt his Teeth. [What would I give to Change Conditions with That Happy Creature there.] This Fancy would not out of the Head of him, 'till it was his Hap some Few Days after to see This very Horse doing Drudgery in a Common Dung-Cart. Why [Page 37] how now Friend (says the Ass) How comes This about? Only the Chance of the War, says the Other: I was a Soldiers Horse, you must know; and my Master carry'd me into a Battel, where I was Shot, Hack'd, and Maim'd; and you have here before Your Eyes the Catastrophe of My Fortune.

The MORAL.

The Folly, and the Fate, of Pride and Arrogance. The Mistake of Placing Happiness in any thing that may be taken away, and the Blessing of Freedom in a Mean Estate.

REFLEXION.

WE are to Gather from hence, that people would never Envy the Pomp and Splendour of Greatness, if they did but consider, either the Cares and Dangers that go along with it, or the Blessings of Peace, and Security in a Middle Condition. No man can be truly Happy, who is not every Hour of his Life prepar'd for the worst that can befall him. Now This is a State of Tranquility never to be Attain'd, but by keeping perpetually in our Thoughts the Certainty of Death, and the Lubricity of Fortune; and by Delivering our selves from the Anxiety of Hopes and Fears.

It falls Naturally within the Prospect of This Fiction to Treat of the Wickedness of a Presumptuous Arrogance, the Fate that Attends it; The Rise of it; and the Means of either Preventing, or Suppressing it; The Folly of it; The Wretched and Ridiculous Estate of a Proud man, and the Weakness of That Envy that is Grounded upon the mistaken Happiness of Humane Life.

If a body may be Allow'd to Graft a Christian Moral upon a Pagan Fable, what was it but Pride and Arrogance that first threw Lucifer out of Heaven, and afterward, Adam out of Paradise? [Ye shall be as Gods] was the Temptation; an Impotent, and a Presumptuous Affectation of Vain-Glory was the Sin; and a Malediction Temporal and Eternal was the Punishment. Now if the Charms of an Unruly Ambition could so far prevail upon the Angels Themselves in their Purity; and upon Mankind in a State of Innocence, how Strict a Guard ought we then to keep upon our selves, that are the Children of disobedience, and bring the seeds of This Deadly Vanity into the World with us in our very Veins?

It is highly Remarkable, that as Pride, and Envy are the Two Passions, that above All Others give the Greatest Trouble to the Sons of Men, so are they likewise the First Emotions of the Mind that we take Notice of in our Approaches to the Exercise of our Reason. They begin with us in the Arms of our Nurses, and at the very Breasts of our Mothers; for what's the meaning of All the Little Wrangles and Contentions else, which Child shall be most made off; or which Baby shall have the Gayer Coat? So that These Affections are in truth, Connatural to us, and as We our selves grow up and Gather Strength, so do They; and pass Insensibly from our Inclinations into our Manners. Now the Corruption must needs be Strong, where Humane Frailty strikes in so Early with it, and the Progress no less Mortal, where it is suffer'd to go on without Control: For what are all the Extravagances of the Leudest Life, but the [Page 38] more Consummated Follies and Disorders, of either a Mis-taught, or a Neglected Youth? Nay, what are All the Publick Outrages of a Destroying Tyranny and Oppression, but Childish Appetites let alone 'till they are grown Ungovernable? Beside, that it is Infinitely Easier to prevent Ill Habits, than to Master them; As the Choaking of the Fountain is the surest Way to Cut off the Course of the River. It should be Consider'd too that we have the seeds of Virtue in us, as well as of Vice; and when ever we take a Wrong Biass, 'tis not out of a Moral Incapacity to do Better, but for want of a Careful Manage and Discipline, to set us Right at First.

Wherefore Children should be Moulded while their Tempers are yet Pliant and Ductile. As Pride, for the Purpose, that Arises from a False Opinion of Things, should be Obviated by Enforming their Understandings. And so for Envy; the very Disposition to it is to be Sweeten'd, as Flowing from a Certain Froward Tincture of Ill Nature. (I speak This of the Malevolent, Canker'd Passion of Envy, which, in Effect, is Little or Nothing akin to the Silly Envy of the Ass here in the Fable.) In One word, Children should be season'd betimes, and Lesson'd into such a Contempt, and Detestation of This Vice, as neither to practice it Themselves, nor to Approve it in Others. This is, in Little, the Foundation of a Virtuous Life, and there goes no more than Judging, and Acting Aright, to the Character of a Good Philosopher, a Good Christian, and a Good Man: For to Know, and to Do, is the Compendium of our Duty,

It is not for Every Twatling Gossip yet, or some Empty Pedant, presently to Undertake This Province; for it requires a Critical Nicety both of Wit, and of Judgment, to find out the Genius, or the Propensions of a Child, and to Distinguish betwixt the Impulses of Envy, and Those of Emulation: Betwixt the First Motions of a Churlish, and Impetuous Insolence, and Those of a Serene Greatness, and Dignity of Mind. It is not, I say, for Every Common Eye, or Hand, to Divide so Accurately betwixt the Good, and the Evil, the Gracious, and the Perverse, as to Hit the precise Medium of Encouraging the One, without Discouraging the Other. And This Faculty of Discerning is not enough neither, without a Watchful Assiduity of Application. The Just Season of Doing Things must be Nick'd, and All Accidents Observ'd and Improv'd; for Weak Minds are to be as Narrowly Attended, as Sickly Bodies: To say Nothing of the Infinite Curiosity of the Operation, in the Forming of our Lives and Manners: And that not One man of Ten Thousand is Competently Qualify'd for the Office. Upon the Whole Matter there must be an Awe maintain'd on the One Hand, and at the same time, a Love and Reverence Preserv'd on the Other. And all this must be Order'd too with so Gentile a Softness of Address, that we may not Hazzard, either the Stifling, or the Quenching of Generous Inclinations, by bearing too Hard upon them, or the Licentiating of any thing that is Course and Vulgar, out of a foolish Facility or a Mistaken Pity. It is with our Passions, as it is with Fire and Water, they are Good Servants, but Bad Masters, and Subminister to the Best, and Worst of Purposes, at once. This is enough said, as to the Wickedness, and the Fate of Pride; The Source and Danger of it, together with the only sure and Effectual Means of Remedy.

The Moral leads me in the Next place, to Consider the Folly of both the Horse and the Ass; The One, in Placing his Happiness upon any thing that could be Taken away; and the Other, in Envying that Mistaken Happiness, under the Abuse of the same Splendid Illusion and Imposture. [Page 39] What Signifies a Gay Furniture, and a Pamper'd Carcass; or any other Outward Appearance, without an Intrinsick Value of Worth and Virtue? VVhat signifies Beauty, Strength, Youth, Fortune, Embroder'd Furniture, Gawdy Bosses, or any of Those Temporary, and Uncertain Satisfactions, that may be taken from us with the very next Breath we draw? What Assurance can any man have of a Possession that Every Turn of State, Every Puff of Air, Change of Humour, and the least of a Million of Common Casualties may Deprive him of? How many Huffing Sparks have we seen in the World, that in the same day have been both the Idols, and the Sport and Scorn of the same Slaves and Fools? Nay, how many Emperours and Princes, that in the Ruff of All their Glory have been taken down from the Head of a Conquering Army, to the Wheel of the Victors Chariot? VVhere's that Advantage under the Sun that any but a Mad man would be Proud of? Or where's That Pride it self that any Mortal in his Right Wits, would not find Reason to be Ashamed of? Take it singly, and what is there More in't, than an Unnatural, and an Unmanly Tympany, that Rises in a Bubble, and spends it self in a Blast? Take it in Complication, and we find a Thousand Weaknesses, Iniquities, and Vexatious Cutting Miseries wrapt up in't. VVhat can be more Imprudent than to Affect Reputation by the Methods of Infamy? To Aspire to Greatness by the ways of becoming Odious and Contemptible? And to Propose the Erecting of a Mighty Fabrick, upon a Bottom that will Certainly sink under the Weight?

The Disappointments of Those that Build their Hopes in this World upon a False Basis, fall under These Three General Heads. The Advantages we Value our selves upon, may either be Taken from Us; or We from Them: Or, which is much at One, we may be brought by a Thousand Accidents to lose the Use and Rellish of them. As first for the Purpose; they may be taken from Us, by Cheats, Robberies, Subornations, False Oaths, Forgeries, Corrupt Judges; To say nothing of Fires, Earthquakes, Tempests, Inundations, Insurrections, and Other Violences without Number. Secondly, We may be taken from Them, by as many Ways as there are out of This World. A Fly or a Hair shall do the Office of a Rope. And then for the Third Branch, an Indisposition, a Feaver, an Acute Pain, an Impetuous Passion, an Anxious Thought, Impotency and Old Age, shall do the Work of Taking away both the Gust, and the Comfort of them. Nay, the very Loss of One Pleasure is enough to Damp, if not to Destroy the Rellish of Another.

But now to carry the Allusion One Step further yet; It may be literally Asserted, that All Proud Men, over and above the Stroke of a Divine Judgment, are Miserable, even in Themselves, and that no Circumstances in This World can ever make them Other. Their Appetites are Insatiable, and their Hearts consequently never at Rest; Whether it be Wealth, Power, Honour, Popular Esteem, or whatever else they pretend to. They Envy, and they are Envy'd. 'Tis Impossible for them to be at rest, without Enjoying what it is Impossible for them to Attain. They live Gaping after More, and in a perpetual Fear of Losing what they have already. The Higher they are Rais'd, the Giddier they are; the more Slippery is their Standing, and the Deeper the Fall. They are never Well, so long as Any thing is above them: And their Ambition carries them on to the Supplanting of their very Masters and Makers: When yet by a most Ridiculous Contradiction, they lie Effectually, (in [Page 40] the very same Instant) at the mercy of the men they most Despise. [The Silver, being Ten Thousand Talents, is given to Thee (says Ahasuerus to Haman,) The People also, to do with them, as it seemeth good unto Thee. Esther, Cap. 3. V. 11.] Who would have Imagin'd now, that the Stiff Crossness of a Poor Captive, should ever have had the Power to make Haman's Seat so Uneasie to him? Or that the want of a Cap, or a Cringe, should so Mortally Discompose him, as we find afterwards it did! If Large Possessions, Pompous Titles, Honourable Charges, and Profitable Commissions; If a Plentiful Issue, Court Favours, or the Flowing Bounty of a Gracious Prince, could have made This Proud man Happy, there would have been Nothing wanting to his Establishment. But All This did not do his Work, it seems; neither, as big as he was, did there in Truth, need any Great Matter to Unsettle him. But he was as sure to sink under the Infirmity of his Own Mind, as if he had been Doom'd to Sink in the Fate of a Common Ruine.

When Haman saw Mordecai in the Kings Gate, (says the Text) that he stood not up, nor Moved for him, he was full of Indignation against Mordecai. Nevertheless, Haman Refrained himself, and when he came Home, he sent and call'd for his Friends, and Teresh, his Wife; and told them of the Glory of his Riches, and the Multitude of his Children, And All the Things wherein the King had Promoted him, and how he had Advanced him above the Princes and Servants of the King. Tea, Esther the Queen (says he) did let no man come with the King unto the Banquet that she had prepar'd, but my self; and to morrow am I Invited unto her also with the King [Yet All This Availeth Me Nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Iew sitting at the Kings Gate, Esther, Cap. 5. V. 9. 10, 11, 12, 13.]

This Instance of Haman's Case may serve, in a Good Measure, for a Moral to the Arrogance of the Horse here in the Fable; only Haman's Pride was the more Invidious and Malicious of the Two. To Wind up the Story; Mordecai was an Eye sore to Haman, and a Gallows of Fifty Cubits High was prepar'd for him by the Order of Haman, Cap, 5. V. 14. But the King, upon Examination of the Matter, Order'd Haman Himself to be Hanged. [So they Hanged Haman upon the Gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai, Cap. 7. V. 10.] Haman's Pride, in fine, was a Torment to him, and he was not only Punish'd By it, and For it, but by a Righteous Judgment of Retaliation, he suffer'd Death Himself upon the very Gibbet that he had provided for Another.

How Wretched a Creature was Haman now, even in the Caresses of his Royal Master, and in the very Rapture of all his Glories! And how Vain again were All the Marks and Ensigns of his Character and Power; that were not able to support him against one Slighting Look of a Sorry Slave! He had the World at Will, we see; but All was as good as Nothing to him, so long as he saw Mordecai the Jew sitting in the Kings Gate. Where's the Sober Man now, that would not rather chuse to be Mordecai in the Gate, upon These Terms, than to be Haman in the Palace? The One had the Blessing of a Conscience that Fears Nothing but God; the Other was Haunted with a Fantastical Weakness of Mind, that makes a man Dread Every thing, and stand in awe of his Own Shadow! A Word, a Thought, an Imagination, a Countenance is enough to Break his Sleep, and to Shake the very Foundations of the Babel that he has Built. He fansies Every Bolt that's Levell'd at his [Page 41] Vices, to be Pointed at his Person, and finds himself Wounded in the Morality of the most Innocent Reproofs. He's a Slave to All Passions, All Accidents, and All sorts of Men. A Jest, a Banter, a Lampoon; Nay a Glance, an Insinuation, or a Bare Casuality, with the Help of a Guilty Conscience, and a Suspicious Gloss of Application, is enough to Murder him; for he Conceits himself to be Struck at, when he is not so much as Thought of: as I dare appeale to the Consciences of a Thousand Top Gallant Sparks, that will fancy their Own Case to be the Key to This Moral. He makes himself Odious to his Superiours, by his Haughtiness; to his Equals, by a Restless Course of Factious Competitions; and then he never fails of a Virulent Hatred and Envy, from those that are Below him; So that he's Beset with Enemies on All hands, the Meanest of which is not without Many and Many a Way to the Wreaking of a Malice, and to the Gratifying of a Revenge. As to the Wretchedness of his Condition, 'tis all a case to Him, whether he be Teiz'd out of his Life by a Judgment of Flies and Lice, or Stung to Death by Fiery Serpents. And he is not only Tormented by Others, but the very Tormenter of Himself too. Nay, rather than want a Colourable Ground of Trouble, he Creates it. His Pride is a Continual Drought upon him, and a Thirst never to be Quench'd. His Conscience, his Fancy, his Fears, Jealousies, and Mistakes; Every thing helps on toward his Undoing. And now to the Infinite Variety of Plagues that Wait upon Pride, there is likewise as Great a Diversity of Imperious Humours for This Misery to Work upon. As for Example, There is a Pride of Stomach, a Pride of Popularity, a Pride of Brow, Equipage, and Parade. There's a Pride of Tongue without either Brains, or Heart to Support it. There is an Abject, (in fine) and there is a Surly Pride; But to Conclude, there is All This, and a Thousand times more of the same Kind and Colour, that lies Naturally Couch'd under This Allegory. And not One Instance at last, that is not verify'd by Many and Many an Example.

Now as to the Envy of the Ass it was a Double Folly; for he Mistakes both the Horses Condition, and his Own. 'Tis Madness to Envy any Creature that may in a Moment become Miserable; Or for any Advantage that may in a Moment be taken from him. The Ass Envies the Horse to day; and in some Few Days more, the Horse comes to Envy Him: Wherefore let no man Despair, so long as it is in the Power, either of Death, or of Chance, to Remove the Burden. Nothing but Moderation and Greatness of Mind can make, either a Prosperous, or an Adverse Fortune Easie to us. The Only Way to be Happy is to submit to our Lot; for No man can be properly said to be Miserable that is not wanting to Himself. It is Certainly True, that many a Jolly Cobler has a Merrier Heart in his Stall, than a Prince in his Palace.

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FAB. XXXIX. A Bat and a Weazle.

A Weazle had seiz'd upon a Bat, and the Bat begg'd for Life. No, No, says the Weazle, I give No Quarter to Birds. Ay (says the Bat) but I'm a Mouse you see; look on my Body else: and so she got off for That Bout. The same Bat had the Fortune to be Taken a While after by Another Weazle; and there the Poor Bat was forc'd to beg for Mercy once again. No, says the Weazle, No Mercy to a Mouse. Well (says 'Tother,) but you may see by my Wings that I'm a Bird; and so that Bat scap'd in Both Capacities, by Playing the Trimmer.

 


 

FAB. XL. A Bat, Birds, and Beasts.

UPon a Desperate and a Doubtful Battel betwixt the Birds and the Beasts, the Bat stood Neuter, 'till she found that the Beasts had the Better on't, and then went over to the Stronger side. But it came to pass afterward (as the Chance of War is Various) that the Birds Rally'd their Broken Troups, and carry'd the Day; and away she went Then to 'Tother Party, where she was Try'd by a Councel of War as a Deserter; Stript, Banish'd, and finally Condemn'd never to see Daylight again.

 


 

FAB. XLI. An Estriche, Birds, and Beasts.

THe Estriche is a Creature that passes in Common Reputation, for Half-Bird, Half-Beast. This Amphibious Wretch happen'd to be Taken Twice the same Day, in a Battel betwixt the Birds and the Beasts, and as an Enemy to Both Parties. The Birds would have him to be a Beast, and the Beasts Concluded him to be a Bird; but upon shewing his Feet to Prove that he was No Bird, and upon shewing his Wings, and his Beak, to prove that he [Page 43] was No Beast, they were Satisfy'd upon the Whole Matter, that though he seem'd to be Both, he was yet in Truth neither the One, nor the Other.

The MORAL of the Three FABLES above.

Trimming in some Cases, is Foul, and Dishonest; in Others, Laudable; and in some again, not only Honest, but Necessary. The Nicety lies in the skill of Distinguishing upon Cases, Times, and Degrees.

REFLEXION.

WE are here taught in some Cases to Yield to Times and Occasions; but with a Saving still, to Honour, and to Conscience. A Wise and an Honest Man will always Mean the same Thing; but he's a Fool that always says the same Thing. Aesop however Condemns the Double Practices of Trimmers, and All False, Shuffling, and Ambidextrous Dealings. He gives also to Understand, that Those that pretend at the same time to serve Two Masters, are True to Neither.

The Three Fables next above have a Great Affinity One with Another, and yet not without some Remarkable Diversities neither. From the Emblem of the Bat and Weazle, we are to Gather, that there are Certain Ways, Cases, and Occasions, wherein, Disguises, and Artificial Evasions are in some Measure Allowable, provided only that there be No Scandalous, or Malicious Departure from the Truth. This Shuffling of the Bat in the Paw of the Weazle, was but making the Best of what he had to say, and to shew for Himself, toward the saving of his Life. There was No Breach of Faith, or of Trust in't; No Abandoning of a Duty, No Thought of Treachery; Nor in Effect, any thing more in't, than a Fair Christian Way of putting out False Colours.

The Bat that stood Neuter, may serve for the Character of a Timeserving Trimmer: He Betrays his Party, first, in withdrawing his Assistance. Secondly, In going over to the Stronger Side, and Declaring Himself an Open Enemy when his Fellows had the Worst on't. His Judgment, in fine, was Just, and if All Double Dealers and Deserters were serv'd as This Bat was, it would be an Example of Terrour to Renegades and of Encouragement to Honest Men.

The Estriches Case seems to be Different from the Other Two. He Fought, (though 'tis not said on which side) and he was Taken in the Battel. He had the Shape, but not the Heart of a Trimmer, and it was rather Nature then Fraud, that brought him off. Now there are Many things in an Affair of This Quality that may be Warrantable, even upon the Nicest Scruples of Honour, in him that suffers the Violence, which perchance would not be so in the Aggressor.

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FAB. XLII. A Wolfe and a Fox.

A Wolfe that had a mind to take his Ease, Stor'd himself Privately with Provisions, and so kept Close a while. Why, how now friend says a Fox to him, we han't seen You abroad at the Chace this many a day! Why truly says the Wolfe, I have gotten an Indisposition that keeps me much at Home, and I hope I shall have Your Prayers for my Recovery. The Fox had a Fetch in't, and when he saw it would not Fadge; Away goes he presently to a Shepherd, and tells him where he might surprize a Wolfe if he had a mind to't. The Shepherd follow'd his Directions, and Destroy'd him. The Fox immediately, as his Next Heir, repairs to his Cell, and takes possession of his Stores; but he had Little Joy of the Purchase, for in a very short time, the same Shepherd did as much for the Fox, as he had done before for the Wolfe.

The MORAL.

'Tis with Sharpers as 'tis with Pikes, they Prey upon their Own kind: And 'tis a Pleasant Scene enough, when Thieves fall out among themselves, to see the Cutting of One Diamond with Another.

REFLEXION.

'Tis Impossible for an Envious Man to be Happy. He makes the World his Enemies, and the Mischiefe that he does to Others, returns in a Judgment upon his Own Head. There's No Trusting of a Crafty Designing Knave. I do not speak of the Trust of Privacy and Confidence only; but a Wise Man would not so much as Venture himself in such Company, nor let him come within distance of so much as knowing how to put a Trick upon him. This Fable shews us the Danger of such Conversation. And it shews us likewise the Just Fate that Attends the Treachery, even of One Traytor to Another: The Wolfe had a Design upon the Fox; The Fox had a Counter-Design upon the Wolfe: (which was no more then a Couple of Crafty Knaves well Match'd) And the Shepherd did Justice upon them Both.

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FAB. XLIII. A Stag Drinking.

As a Stag was Drinking upon the Bank of a Clear Stream, he saw his Image in the Water, and Enter'd into This Contemplation upon't. Well! says he, If These Pityful Shanks of mine were but Answerable to this Branching Head, I can but think how I should Defy All my Enemies. The Words were hardly out of his Mouth, but he Discover'd a Pack of Dogs coming full-Cry towards him. Away he Scours cross the Fields, Casts off the Dogs, and Gains a Wood; but Pressing thorough a Thicket, the Bushes held him by the Horns, till the Hounds came in, and Pluck'd him Down. The Last Thing he said was This. What an Unhappy Fool was I, to Take my Friends for my Enemies, and my Enemies for my Friends! I Trusted to my Head, that has Betray'd me, and I found fault with my Leggs, that would otherwise have brought me off.

The MORAL.

He that does not thoroughly know himself, may be Well Allowed to make a False Iudgment upon other Matters that most Nearly concern him.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to shew us how perversly we Judge of Many Things, and take the Worse for the Better; and the Better for the Worse; upon a very great Mistake, both in what we Despise, and in what we Admire. But we are rather for That which is Fair, and Plausible in Appearance, then for That which is Plain and Profitable in Effect; Even to the Degree of Preferring Things Temporal to Eternal.

He that would Know Himself, must look into Himself. 'Tis only the Resemblance, or the Shadow that he sees in the Glass, Not the Man. 'Tis One Thing to fancy Greatness of Mind; Another Thing to Practise it; for a Body may Promise, nay and resolve upon Many Things in Contemplation, that he can never make good upon Tryal. How did the Stag despise the Dogs here, at the sight of his Armed Head in the Fountain; but his Heart went quite to another Tune, when the Hounds were at the Heels of him. We are likewise taught here, how subject Vain Men are to Glory in That which commonly Tends to their Loss, their Misfortune, their Shame, and their very Destruction; and yet at the same time to take their Best Friends for their Enemies. But there's a Huge Difference betwixt a False Conception of Things, and the True Nature and Reason of them. The Stag Prided himself in his Horns, that afterward Shackled, and were the Ruine of him; but made slight of his Pityful Shanks, that if it had not been for his Branching Head, would have brought him off.

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FAB. XLIV. A Snake and a File.

THere was a Snake got into a Smith's Shop, and fell to Licking of a File, She Saw the File Bloudy, and still the Bloudyer it was, the more Eagerly she Lick'd it; upon a Foolish Fancy, that it was the File that Bled, and that She her self had the Better on't. In the Conclusion, when she could Lick no Longer, she fell to Biting; but finding at last that she could do no more Good upon't with her Teeth, then with her Tongue, she Fairly left it.

The MORAL.

'Tis a Madness to stand Biting and Snapping at any thing to no manner of purpose, more then the Gratifying of an Impotent Rage, in the fancy of Hurting Another, when in truth, we only Wound our selves.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable sets out the Malignity of some Spiteful People, that take so much Pleasure in the Design of Hurting others, as not to Feel, and Understand that they only Hurt themselves. This is the Case of Those that will be Trying Masteries with their Superiors, and Biting of That which is too Hard for their Teeth. There's no Contending with an Adversary that's either Insensible, or Invincible: And the Rule holds, in Matters, not only of Actual Force and Violence, but of Fortune and Good Name; for 'tis no better then Downright Madness, to strike where we have No Power to Hurt, and to Contend where we are sure to be Worsted. The Doctrine is this, That Every Man should Consider his Own Strength, and Act accordingly.

 


 

FAB. XLV. A League betwixt the Wolves and the Sheep.

THere was a Time when the Sheep were so Hardy as to Wage War with the Wolves; and so long as they had the Dogs for their Allies, they were, upon all Encounters, at least a Match for their Enemies. Upon This Consideration, the Wolves sent their Embassadors to the Sheep, to Treat about a Peace, and in the Mean Time there were Hostages given on Both Sides; the Dogs on the part of the Sheep, and the Wolves Whelps on the Other Part, 'till Matters might be brought to an Issue. While they were upon [Page 47] Treaty, the Whelps fell a Howling; The Wolves cryed out Treason; and pretending an Infraction in the Abuse of their Hostages, fell upon the Sheep immediately without their Dogs, and made them pay for the Improvidence of leaving themselves without a Guard.

The MORAL.

'Tis senseless to the Highest Degree to think of Establishing an Alliance among those that Nature her self has Divided, by an Inconciliable Disagreement. Beside, that a Foolish Peace is much more Destructive than a Bloody War.

REFLEXION.

To take This Fable in a Political Sense; a Peace that puts People out of Condition of Defence, in case of a War, must expect a War; and such a State as leaves them at the Mercy of an Enemy, is Worse then War it self. There's no Trusting to the Articles and Formalities of an Out-side Peace, upon the pretended Reconciliation of an Implacable Enemy. Christian Religion bids us Forgive: But Christian Prudence bids us have a Care too, whom we Trust. 'Tis just in the World as it is in the Apologue. Truces, and Cessations, are both Made, and Broken, for Present Convenience; and where the Allies find they may be the Better for't, we may lay down this for an undoubted Truth, that there can never want a Colour for a Rupture, where there's a Good Will to't. 'Tis No New Thing ing in the World for the Dogs that are to keep the Wolves from Worrying the Sheep, to be deliver'd up to the Enemy for Hostages, for fear the Sheep should Worry the Wolves. This was our very Case within the Memory of Man, when Matters were brought to the same Issue in the Kingdom by't, that they are here in the Fable: Witness the several and several Treaties and Proposals that were set a foot under the Countenance of a Good Will to Peace: Where only such Conditions were insisted upon by the Designing Party, as would be almost Equally Destructive to all Honest Men, whether they were Granted or Refused. The One Way the Wolves were to have the Sheep left at Mercy; and the Other Way, the Scandal was turn'd upon the Refusers, as the Enemies of an Accommodation; Nay and the very Dogs were turn'd into Wolves too; while Lawyers, and Divines, made the Law and the Gospel Felons of themselves, and suborn'd the Scriptures against the very Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles,

 


 

FAB. XLVI. An Axe and a Forrest.

A Carpenter that had got the Iron-Work of an Axe allready, went to the Next Forrest to beg only so much Wood as would make a Handle to't. The Matter seem'd so [Page 48] small that the Request was Easily Granted; but when the Timber-Trees came to find that the Whole Wood was to be Cut down by the Help of This Handle; There's No Remedy, they cry'd, but Patience, when People are undone by their own Folly.

 


 

FAB. XLVII. A Tree and a Wedge.

A Workman was Cutting down a Tree to make Wedges of it. Well! says the Tree, I cannot but be extremely Troubled at the Thought of what I'm now a doing; And I do not so much Complain neither, of the Axe that does the Execution, as of the Man that Guides it; but it is My Misery that I am to be Destroy d by the Fruit of my own Body.

 


 

FAB. XLVIII. The Eagle and Arrow.

AN Eagle that was Watching upon a Rock once for a Hare, had the Ill Hap to be Struck with an Arrow. This Arrow, it seems, was Feather'd from her own Wing, Which very Consideration went nearer her Heart, she said, than Death it self.

 


 

FAB. XLIX. A Thrush taken with Birdlime.

IT was the Fortune of a Poor Thrush, among other Birds, to be taken with a Bush of Lime-Twigs, and the Miserable Creature Reflecting upon it, that the Chief Ingredient in the Birdlime came out of her own Guts: I am not half so much Troubled, says the Thrush, at the Thought of Dying, as at the Fatality of Contributing to my Own Ruine.

The MORAL of the Four FABLES above.

Nothing goes nearer a Man in his Misfortunes, then to find himself Undone by his Own Folly, or but any way Accessory to his own Ruine.

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REFLEXION.

THE Fables of the Ax-Handle, and the Wedge, serve to Precaution us not to put our selves Needlesly upon an After Game, but to Weigh before hand what we Say, and Do. We should have a Care how we Arm our Enemies against our Selves; for there's Nothing goes Nearer a Man than to be Undone by his Own Improvidence; and Nothing afterward more Ridiculous, then to Blame Fortune for our own Faults: Though we are so Fram'd by Nature, in respect of our Souls and Bodies, that One Part of a Man is still Wounded by the Other. Nothing so much Troubled the Eagle and the Thrush, as the Thought of assisting to their own Destruction.

There's No living in This World without an Exchange of Civil Offices, and the Need we have One of Another, goes a Great Way toward the Making of us Love One Another. How is this Amity, and Communication to be entertain'd now, but by the Commerce of Giving and Receiving? Reason, and Experience, are Sufficient to convince us of the Necessity of such a Correspondence; And this Fiction of the Axe and the Forrest, and so of the Tree and the Wedge, shews us the Danger of it too, if it be not Manag'd with a Provident Respect to All the Niceties of Circumstance, and Contingency in the Case. People have got a Custom, 'tis true, of Computing upon the Present Need, and Value of Things, without ever heeding the Consequences of them: As if all our Askings, and our Grantings were to be Governed by the Standard of the Market. 'Tis so pityful a Bus'ness, says One, and it was so small a Thing, says Another; And yet this Pityful Bus'ness, and this Small Thing proves at last to be as much as a Man's Life, Honor, and Estate is Worth. Alas! What's a Handle for an Axe, out of a whole Forrest! What's the Writing of a Man's Name, or the saying Ay, or No to a Question? And yet the very Safety and Honour of our Prince and Country, and the Summ of our Well-being lies many a time at Stake upon the Issue of doing either the One or the Other. Nay and let the People we have to do withal be never so Just and Honest, it is yet a Temerity, and a Folly Inexcusable, to Deliver up our selves Needlesly into Anothers Power: For He that does any thing Rashly, must be taken in Equity of Construction to do it willingly: For he was Free to Deliberate or Not: 'Tis Good Advice to Consider, First, what the Thing is that is Desired. 2. The Character of the Person that Asks. 3. What use may be made on't to the Detriment of him that Grants the Request, and so to Resolve how far in Duty, Humanity, Prudence, Justice, and Respect, we are to Comply with it. Wheresoever there is a Moral Right on the One Hand, No Secondary Interest can Discharge it on the Other. A Pris'ner upon Parole must surrender himself upon Demand, though he Die for't. A Man may Contribute to his own Ruin Several Ways; but in Cases not to be Foreseen, and so not to be Prevented, it may be his Misfortune, and the Man not to blame. We are not to omit Precaution however, for fear an Ill Use should be made of Those Things that we do, even with a Good Intention; but we are still to Distinguish betwixt what may Possibly, and what will Probably be done, according to the Best Measures we can take of the End of Asking; for there would be No Place left for the Functions of Humane Society, if the Possibility of Abusing a Kindness, should wholly Divert us from the Exercise of Charity and Good Nature. There may be Great Mischief Wrought yet, without any thing of [Page 50] a Previous Malice, and it may be Hazardous to Yield, even where the Proposal is wholly Innocent. There may be other Propositions again, that were Originally Design'd for Snares, to the Short-sighted and Credulous, Now 'tis the Art of Life, Critically to Discern the One Case from the Other.

There needs Little more to be said to the Emblems of the Eagle and the Thrush, than to observe, that both by Chance, and by Nature, we are made Accessary to our Own Ruines: and That's enough to Trouble a Body, though not to Condemn him.

 


 

FAB. L. The Belly and Members.

THE Commoners of Rome were gon off once into a Direct Faction against the Senate. They'd pay no Taxes, nor be forc'd to bear Arms, they said, and 'twas against the Liberty of the Subject to pretend to Compel them to't. The Sedition, in short, ran so High, that there was no Hope of Reclaiming them, till Menenius Agrippa brought them to their Wits again by This Apologue:

The Hands and the Feet were in a Desperate Mutiny once against the Belly. They knew No Reason, they said, why the One should lye Lazying, and Pampering it self with the Fruit of the Others Labour; and if the Body would not Work for Company, they'd be no longer at the Charge of Maintaining it. Upon This Mutiny, they kept the Body so long without Nourishment, that All the Parts Suffer'd for't: Insomuch that the Hands and Feet came in the Conclusion to find their Mistake, and would have been willing Then to have Done their Office; but it was now too Late, for the Body was so Pin'd with Over-Fasting, that it was wholly out of Condition to receive the Benefit of a Relief: which gave them to Understand, that Body and Members are to Live and Die together.

The MORAL.

The Publick is but One Body, and the Prince the Head on't; so that what Member soever withdraws his Service from the Head, is no Better than a Negative Traitor to his Country.

REFLEXION.

THIS Allegoty is a Political Reading upon the State and Condition of Civil Communities, where the Members have their Several Offices, and Every Part Contributes respectively to the Preservation and Service [Page 51] of the Whole. 'Tis true, their Operations are More or Less Noble, but the Mechanical Faculties can no more be Spar'd than the Intellectual, and those that Serve in Council under an Appearance of Rest, are yet as Busie, and as Necessary, in their Functions, as those that are Actually and Visibly in Motion. Here's a Caution in fine, to the Members, to have a care how they withdraw themselves from their Duties, till it shall be too late for their Superiors to make use of them.

There is so Near an Analogy betwixt the State of a Body Natural, and and Politique, that the Necessity of Government and Obedience cannot be better Represented. The Motions of a Popular Faction are so Violent, and Unreasonable, that neither Philosophy, Prudence, Experience, nay, nor the Holy Writ it self, has the Power (ordinarily speaking) to Work upon them. If People would allow themselves Time for Thought, and Consideration, they would find that the Conservation of the Body depends upon the Proper Use and Service of the Several Parts; and that the Interest of Every Distinct Member of it, is wrapt up in the Support, and Maintenance of the whole, which obliges them all to Labour in their Respective Offices and Functions for the Common Good. There are Degrees of Dignity (no doubt on't) in Both Cases, and One Part is to be Subservient to Another, in the Order of Civil Policy, as well as in the Frame of a Man's Body: so that they are mightily out of the way, that take Eating and Drinking, and Un Eating, and Un-Drinking, in a course of Vicissitude, with other Offices of Nature that are common to Beasts with Men, to be the Great Bus'ness of Mankind, without any further Regard to the Faculties, and Duties of our Reasonable Being: For Every Member has its Proper, and Respective Function Assigned it, and not a Finger suffers but the Whole Feels on't.

 


 

FAB. LI. An Ape and a Fox.

AN Ape that found Many Inconveniences by going Bare-Arse, went to a Fox that had a Well-spread, Bushy Tayle, and beggd of him only a little piece on't to Cover his Nakedness: For (says he) you have enough for Both, and what needs more than you have Occasion for? Well, Iohn (says the Fox) be it More, or be it Less, you get not one single Hair on't; for I would have ye know, Sirrah, that the Tayle of a Fox was never made for the Buttocks of an Ape.

The MORAL.

Providence has Assign'd Every Creature its Station, Lot, Make and Figure; and 'tis not for Us to stand Correcting the Works of an In comprehensible Wisdom, and an Almighty Power.

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REFLEXION.

THIS is to Reprove the Impertinent, Useless, and Unreasonable Demands of Those that first Ask what Another cannot Part with, unless he be a Stark Fool, or a Mad Man. And 2. That which if they could obtain would be of No Use, or Benefit to them at all. The Old Moral carries it to Those also that will Part with Nothing to the Poor, even out of their Superfluities: But it seems to be Abominably Wrested, for neither did the One want, nor had the other Any Thing to spare.

There are Cerrain Rules to be observed, as well in Asking, as Denying. Things against Nature are unreasonable on Both Sides. Things Impossible are Ridiculous in the very Proposal; and Things which the One cannot Spare, and the Other will be never the Better for, fall naturally within the Compass of Exceptions. That is to say, Those Things that we know not what to do withal if we Had them; and Those Things again, which Another Cannot Part with but to his own Loss and Shame. These Points are the very Conditions of This Fable. Here's a General Caution against Extravagant Desires, and yet let the Refusal be never so Just, it is Possible however, that a Man may Oppose a most Unconscionable Request for an Unjustifiable Reason; As in the Case for the purpose, of an Ill-Natur'd Denyal, out of a Dislike of the Man, rather than of the Thing it self.

The Application of This Fable to Avarice, that will part with Nothing, seems to be Wrested; for it strikes more properly upon the Folly of People's not being satisfied with the Appointments of Nature. An Ape, with a Tayl, would be as scandalous, as a Fox without One. Why should not Any One Creature Envy the Whole, as well as any One Part of Another? And why should not an Ape be as much Troubled that he has no Wings, as that he has no Tayle? This Grumbling Humour has Envy in it, Avarice and Ingratitude, and sets up it self in fine against All the Works of the Creation.

 


 

FAB. LII. A Lark and her Young Ones.

THere was a Brood of Young Larks in the Corn, and the Dam, when she went abroad to Forrage for them, laid a Strict Charge upon her Little Ones, to pick up what News they could get against she came back again. They told her at her Return, that the Owner of the Field had been there, and Order'd his Neigbours to come and Reap the Corn. Well, says the Old One, ther's no Danger yet then. They told her the next Day that he had been there again, and Desir'd his Friends to Do't. Well, well, says she, there's no Hurt in That neither, and so she went out a Progging for Provisions again as before. But upon the Third Day, when they told their Mother, that the Master and his Son appointed to come the Next Morning about it Themselves: Nay then, [Page 53] says she, 'tis time to look about us: As for the Neighbours and the Friends, I fear 'em not: but the Master I'msure will be as good as his Word; for 'tis his own Bus'ness.

 


 

FAB. LIII. The Stag and the Oxen

A Stag that was hard set by the Huntsmen, betook himself to a Stall for Sanctuary, and prevail'd with the Oxen to Conceal him the best they could, so they cover'd him with Straw, and by and by in comes the Keeper to Dress the Cattel, and to Feed them; and when he had done his Work he went his Way without any Discovery. The Stag reckon'd himself by This Time to be out of All Danger; but One of the Oxen that had more Brains than his Fellows, advis'd him not to be too Confident neither; for the Servant, says he, is a Puzzling Fool that heeds Nothing; but when my Master comes, he'll have an Eye Here and There and Every where, and will most certainly find ye out. Upon the very Speaking of the Word, in comes the Master, and He spies out Twenty Faults, I warrant ye; This was not Well, and That was not Well; till at last, as he was Prying and Groping up and down, he felt the Horns of the Stag under the Straw, and so made Prize of him.

The MORAL to the Two Fables above.

He that would be sure to have his Bus'ness Well Done, must either Do it Himself, or see the Doing of it; Beside that many a Good Servant is Spoil'd by a Careless Master.

REFLEXION.

INTEREST Does more in the World then Faith and Honesty; for Men are more sensible in their own Case then in Anothers; which is all but according to the Old Saying, Command your Man, and Do't Your Self. Neither, in Truth, is it Reasonable, that Another should be more Careful of Me, than I am of my self. Every Man's Bus'ness is Best Done when he looks after it with his Own Eyes: And in short, when Every Man looks to One, the Care is taken for All.

We are likewise given to understand, in the Misfortune, and Mistake of the Stag, how Rare a Felicity it is for a Man in Distress, to find out such a Patron as has the Will and the Resolution, the Skill, and the Power, to Relieve him; and that it is not Every Man's Talent neither, to make the Best of a Bad Game. The Morality of this Caution is as good a Lesson to [Page 54] Governments, as to Private Families. For a Prince's Leaving his Bus'ness Wholly to his Ministers without a Strict Eye over them in their Respective Offices and Functions, is as Dangerous an Errour in Politiques, as a Masters Committing All to his Servant is in Oeconomicks. It is Effectually a Translation of the Authority, when a Superior trusts himself Implicitly to the Faith, Care, Honesty and Discretion of an Inferior. To say nothing of the Temptation to Bribery and False Dealing, when so much may be Gotten by't with so Little Hazzard, either of Discovery, or Punishment. Beside the Desperate Inconvenience of Setting up a Wrong Interest, by drawing Applications out of the Proper Channel; and Committing the Authority and Duty of the Master to the Honesty and Discretion of the Servant. Men will be True to Themselves how Faithless soever to One Another.

 


 

FAB. LIV. A Fox and a Sick Lyon.

A Certain Lyon that had got a Politique Fit of Sickness, made it his Observation, that of All the Beasts in the Forrest, the Fox never came at him: And so he wrote him Word how Ill he was, and how Mighty Glad he should be of his Company, upon the Score of Ancient Friendship and Acquaintance. The Fox return'd the Complement with a Thousand Prayers for his Recovery; but as for Waiting upon him, he desir'd to be Excus'd; For (says he) I find the Traces of abundance of Feet Going In to Your Majesties Palace, and not One that comes Back again.

The MORAL.

The Kindnesses of Ill Natur'd and Designing People, should be thoroughly Consider'd, and Examin'd, before we give Credit to them.

REFLEXION.

There's but a Hair's Breadth here, betwixt an Office of Great Piety, Humanity and Virtue; and an Action of Extreme Folly, Improvidence, and Hazzard. But the Fox saw thorough the Complement, and that it was, in Truth, but an Invitation of him to his Own Funeral. We meet with many of These Dangerous Civilities in the World, wherein 'tis a Hard Matter for a Man to Save, both his Skin, and his Credit.

'Tis a Difficult Point to Hit the True Medium, betwixt Trusting too Much, and too Little, for fear of Incurring a Danger on the One Hand, or giving a Scandal on the Other. Complements are only Words of Course, and though One External Civility may be Current Payment for Another, yet a Man would be loth to Venture his All upon a Figure of Speech, where the Meaning is so Nicely Divided betwixt Jest and Earnest. 'Tis a Base Thing to suspect a Friend, or an Honest Man; Nay 'tis a Base Thing to suspect any Man, that but Looks like One; so [Page 55] as to Wound him; That is, either in a Word, or in a Thought. But then 'tis Death perhaps to be Impos'd upon by an Hypocrite under That Masque. So that the Character of a Wise Man, lyes at Stake upon Matter of Judgment, One Way, and of a Good Natur'd Man, the Other Way. The Middle Course is to Hide our Distrust where we are Doubtful, and to be Free, and Open, where we may be Secure. There's No Living without Trusting some body or Other, in some Cases, or at some Time or Other: But then if People be not Cautious, Whom, When, and Wherein, the Mistake may be Mortal; for there must be somewhat of a Trust to make way for a Treachery; since No man can be Betray'd, that does not either Believe, or seem to Believe: So that the Fox did well to Weigh All Circumstances before he came to a Resolution. The Lion's Design was well enough Cover'd under the Disguise of a Counterfeit Sickness, and a Dissembled Tenderness and Respect, for the Drawing of the Fox into the Toyle. For there was the Civility of an Invitation, on the One hand, and some Colour of a Right to a Visit, though but out of Compassion and Good Manners, on the Other: But the Foxes Sagacity, and the Prints of the Feet Spoil'd All. This Fable in One Word more, bids us be Careful how we Trust in Any Case without looking Well about us: for 'tis Half the Bus'ness of One part of the World to put Tricks upon T'other. The Heart of Man is like a Bog, it looks Fair to the Eye; but when we come to lay any Weight upon't, the Ground is False under us. Nothing could be more Obliging and Respectful then the Lyon's Letter was, in Terms and Appearance; but there was Death yet in the True Intent and Meaning on't.

 


 

FAB. LV. A Fox and a Weazel.

A Slam, Thin-Gutted Fox made a Hard Shift to Wriggle his Body into a Hen-Roost, and when he had stuff'd his Guts well, he squeez'd hard to get out again; but the Hole was too Little for him. There was a Weazle a pretty way off, that stood Learing at him all This While. Brother Reynard; (says he) Your Belly was Empty when you went In, and you must e'en stay till Your Belly be Empty again, before you come Out.

The MORAL

Temperance keeps the Whole Man in Order, and in a Good Disposition, either for Thought or Action, but the Indulging of the Appetite brings a Clog, both upon the Body and Mind.

REFLEXION.

IN a Middle State, both of Body, and of Fortune a man is better Dispos'd for the Offices of Humane Society, and the Functions of Reasonable Nature; and the Heart is also Freer from Cares and Troubles. There are [Page 56] Unwieldy Minds as well as Unwieldy Bodies, and the Fumes of the One Obstruct the Operations of the Other. The Head of a Philosopher will never do well upon the Shoulders of an Epicure. The Body and the Soul are Inseparable Companions, and it is against the Nature of This Reasonable Union, for the One to be a Clog to the Other. The Foxe's here, is the Case of Many a Publick Minister, that comes Empty In, but when he has Cram'd his Gutts well, he's fain to squeeze hard before he can get off again; and glad to Compound with his very Skin for his Carcases.

 


 

FAB. LVI. A Boare and a Horse.

A Boar happen'd to be Wallowing in the Water where a Horse was going to Drink, and there grew a Quarrel upon't. The Horse went presently to a Man, to Assist him in his Revenge. They agreed upon the Conditions, and the Man immediately Arm'd himself, and Mounted the Horse, who carry'd him to the Boare, and had the satisfaction of seeing his Enemy Kill'd before his Face. The Horse Thank'd the Cavalier for his Kindness, but as he was just about to take leave, the Man say'd he should have further Occasion for him, and so Order'd him to be Ty'd up in the Stable. The Horse came by This Time, to Understand, that his Liberty was gone, and No Help for't, and that he had pay'd Dear for his Revenge.

 


 

FAB. LVII. A Stag and a Horse.

UPon a Dispute betwixt a Stag and a Horse about a piece of Pasture, the Stag got the Better on't, and beat the Other out of the Field. The Horse, upon This Affront, Advis'd with a Man what Course to Take; who told him, that if he would Submit to be Bridled, and Sadled, and take a Man upon his Back with a Lance in his Hand, he would Undertake to give him the Satisfaction of a Revenge. The Horse came to his Terms, and for the Gratifying of a Present Passion, made himself a Slave all the days of his Life. Stesichorus made use of This Fable, to Divert the Himerenses from Chusing Phalaris the Tyrant for their General. This Horse's Case, says he, will be Yours, if you go on with your Proposals. 'Tis true, You'l have your Revenge, but you'l lose your Liberties; Upon which Words the Motion fell.

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The MORAL of the two FABLES above.

Let every man take a True Measure of Himself, what he is Able to do, and what Not; before he comes to any Peremptory Resolution how to Proceed. He is a Madman, that to Avoid a Present, and a Less Evil, runs Blindfolded into a Greater; and for the Gratifying of a Froward Humour, makes himself a Slave All the days of his Life.

REFLEXION.

THESE Fables lay Open to us the Folly of Those People that make themselves Slaves to their Revenge; for no man should be so Angry with Another, as to Hurt Himself for't. We should likewise Consider, that there's More Hazzard in the succour of a New Powerful Friend, then in the Hostility of an Old Dangerous Enemy; and that the Greatest Empires upon the face of the Earth have had their Rise from the Pretence of Taking up Quarrels, or Keeping the Peace.

These Fables tell us, that it is a Rule of Good Discretion in all Matters of Quarrel, and Controversie, for Him that is Worsted to have a Great Care Whom he calls to his Aid: Especially when there's more of Passion then Necessity in the Case. The Horse might have Quench'd his Thirst with Troubled Water; or he might have stay'd the Clearing of it; Or Chang'd his Wat'ring Place; Or when he was forc'd out of One Pasture he might have taken-up in Another, which would have Preserv'd his Liberty upon the Main, though not as to This Particular: But his Stomach was too Great, it seems, to Digest the Affront, without having his Enemy at his Feet: so that he gives up his Freedom to Gain his Revenge. He has Fair Words however, Rich Trappings, and Large Promises; but Works only for his Master; and if at any time he does but Slacken his Pace, or abate, either in his Zeale, or in his Mettle, the Spurr is presently in the Flank of him: Or if he be Unruly, the Bit's upon the Check to keep him to his Duty. The Stag was too Hard for the Horse; and the Horse flyes for Succour to One that's to Hard for Him, and Rides the One to Death, and Outright Kills the Other? It were Well, if Possible, to keep All Potent Enemies to the Behaviour in such a Case as This, Especially if they Appear under the Shape of Friends: But if People will Venture Life, Liberty and All, for the Clawing of an Itch, and lay Violent Hands upon Themselves, there's no Fence for't.

That which Men are to Horses, in the Scale of Creatures, Men in Power and Authority, are in some Proportion to the Poor and Weak: That is to say in the Analogy of Servitude, and Drudgery; and in the carrying of some sort of Burdens that are a Shame to the Bearer. They Toyle and Moyle for the Interest of their Masters, that in requital, break the very Hearts of them for their Pleasure; and the Freer they are of their Flesh, the more Scandalous is the Bondage. When they have done All that Horses can do, they are Lash'd, Spurr'd, Revil'd, and Ill Treated, for not being able to do More: They are Hurry'd on without either Respite or Reason; And after they have carry'd their Riders safe over All Leaps, and thorough All Dangers, and by All Ways and Means Contributed to the Ease, Credit, and Security of their Masters, what comes of them in the End. but to be Strain'd, Founder'd or Broken Winded; Old [Page 58] Age Overtakes them, and they are e'en Glad to take up in a Mill at last with Grains and Thistles, and there spend the Remainder of a Wretched Life in a Circulation of Misery and Labour. If any Man of War, or State shall find This Case to be his Own, and Himself Touch'd in the Moral of This Fable, let him keep his Own Councel, and learn to be Wiser hereafter. And we may learn This Lesson of the Horse too, not to Sacrifice our Honour, Liberty, and Conscience, to a Freak.

 


 

FAB. LVIII. Two Young Men and a Cook.

TWo Young Fellows Slipt into a Cooks Shop, and while the Master was Busie at his Work, One of them Stole a piece of Flesh, and Convey'd it to the Other. The Master Miss'd it immediately, and Challeng'd them with the Theft. He that Took it, Swore He had None on't. And He that Had it, Swore as Desperately that He did not Take it. The Cook Reflecting upon the Conceit: Well, My Masters, (says he) These Frauds and Fallacies may pass upon men; but there's an Eye Above that sees thorough them.

The MORAL.

There's No Putting of Tricks upon an All-Seeing Power; as if He that Made our Hearts, and knows Every Nook, and Corner of them, could not see thorough the Childish Fallacy of a Double-Meaning.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable concerns those that think to Deceive God with Fallacies of Words, Equivocations, Mental Reservations, and Double Meanings; but though Frauds and Perjuries may pass upon Men for a Season, they are as Open as the Light yet to Him that Searches the Heart. A Man had Better be a Downright Atheist, then in such a Case as This, an Equivocating Hypocrite: For He that Denies a Providence, or Doubts whether there be any God at all, is much more Pardonable, then Another that Acknowledges, and Confesses an All-Seeing, and an Almighty Power; and yet at the Same Time, most Blasphemously Affronts it. 'Tis a Great Unhappiness that Children should be so much Addicted (as we see they are) to This Way and Humour of Shuffling: But it is a Greater Shame and Mischief, for Parents, Governours, and Tutors, to Encourage, and Allow them in't, and so (Effectually) to Train them up to One of the most Dangerous Corruptions they are Capable of, in Countenancing the very Ground-Work of a False and Treacherous Life. There must be No Paradoxing or Playing Tricks with Things Sacred. Truth is the Great Lesson of Reasonable Nature, both in Philosophy, and in Religion. Now there is a [Page 59] Truth of Opinion; a Truth of Fact, and a Truth in Simplicity and Sincerity of Thought, Word, and Deed. The Last of the Three is the Truth that is here in question. The Knack of Fast and Loose passes with a world of Foolish People for a Turn of Wit; but they are not aware all this while, of the Desperate Consequences of an Ill Habit, and that the Practice of Falsifying with Men, will lead us on Insensibly to a Double-Dealing even with God Himself.

 


 

FAB. LIX. A Dog and a Butcher.

AS a Butcher was Busy about his Meat, a Dog runs away with a Sheeps Heart. The Butcher saw him upon the Gallop with a piece of Flesh in's Mouth, and call'd out after him, Heark ye Friend (says he) you may e'en make the Best of your Purchase, so long as Y'ave made Me the Wiser for't.

The MORAL.

It may serve as a Comfort to us in All Our Calamities and Afflictions, that He that Loses any thing and gets Wisdom by't, is a Gainer by the Loss.

REFLEXION.

NO man is to Account any thing a Loss, if he gets Wisdom by the bargain: Beside, that Bought Wit is Best. It is in some Proportion, in the Business of this World, as it is in that of the Next: In the Cases (I mean, of Losses, Miscarriages and Disappointments: We are in Both Respects the Better for them (Provided they be not Mortal, that is) for they are Monitory and Instructive. Affliction makes a man both Honest and Wise; for the smart brings him to a sense of his Errour, and the Experiment to the Knowledge of it. We have I know not how many Adages to back the Reason of This Moral, Hang a Dog upon a Crab-Tree (we say) and He'll never love Verjuyce. And then we have it again in That Common saying, The Burnt Child Dreads the Fire. 'Tis Wandring Many times, whether it be in Opinion, or in Travelling, that sets a man Right in his Judgment, and brings him into the way. The Dogs running away with the Flesh, Does as good as bid the Cook look Better to't Another time.

A Dog and a Sheep. See Fable and Moral 29.

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FAB. LX. A Wolfe, a Lamb, and a Goat.

AS a Lamb was following a Goat, Up comes a Wolfe, wheedling, to get him aside, and make a Breakfast of him: Why what a Fool art thou, says the Wolfe; that may'st have thy Belly full of Sweet Milk at Home, to leave thy Mother for a Nasty Stinking Goat! Well, says the Lamb, but my Mother has Plac'd me here for my Security; and you'd fain get me into a Corner, to Worry me. Pray'e, which of the Two am I to Trust to Now?

The MORAL.

Where there's the Order of a Parent on the One side, and the Advice of an Ill Man, and a Profess'd Enemy, on the Other, in Opposition to That Command; Disobedience would be Undoubtedly the Ready Way to Destruction.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable Preaches both Obedience and Caution; the One as a Matter of Duty, the Other as a Point of Prudence. The Wolfe sings directly the same Note here with the Common Seducers and Incendiaries, that we Meet with in the World. And to the same End too; for they are both Agreed upon't, that so soon as ever they shall have withdrawn the Lambs, or the People, from their Religion and Allegiance, and gotten them out of the Pale, and Protection of their Parents and Governours, they'l make a Prey of 'em Themselves. What's the Wheedling of the Lamb out of the Station where Authority had Plac'd him, to go home again for a Belly full of Sweet Milk; but a State Trick of Inveigling the Multitude into a Fools-Paradise, without Understanding One word of the Matter in Question! But some Lambs are Wiser and Honester then some Men: And This very Lamb's Answer might have become the Mouth of a Good Christian and a Good Subject. For a Conclusion; The Wolves Preaching to the Sheep, and the Foxes Preaching to the Geese, hold forth the same Moral.

 


 

FAB. LXI. A Cat and Uenus.

A Young Fellow that was Passionately in Love with a Cat, made it his Humble Suit to Venus to turn Puss into a Woman. The Transformation was Wrought in the Twinkling of an Eye, and Out she comes, a Very Bucksome Lass. The Doting Sot [Page 61] took her home to his Bed; and bad Fair for a Litter of Kittens by her That Night: But as the Loving Couple lay Snugging together, a Toy took Venus in the Head, to try if the Cat had Chang'd her Manners with her Shape; and so for Experiment, turn'd a Mouse loose into the Chamber. The Cat, upon This Temptation, Started out of the Bed, and without any regard to the Marriage-Joys, made a Leap at the Mouse, which Venus took for so High an Affront, that she turn'd the Madam into a Puss again.

The MORAL.

The Extravagant Transports of Love, and the Wonderful Force of Nature, are unaccountable; The One carries us Out of our Selves, and the Other brings us Back again.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to lay before us the Charms and Extravagances of a Blind Love. It Covers all Imperfections, and Considers neither Quality, nor Merit. How many Noble Whores has it made, and how many Imperial Slaves! And let the Defects be never so Gross, it either Palliates, or Excuses them. The Womans Leaping at the Mouse, tells us also how Impossible it is to make Nature Change her Biass, and that if we shut her out at the Door, she'll come in at the Window.

Here's the Image of a Wild and Fantastical Love, under the Cover of as Extravagant a Fable, and it is all but Fancy at last too; for men do not See, or Tast, or Find the Thing they Love, but they Create it. They Fashion an Idol, in what Figure or Shape they please; Set it up, Worship it, Dote upon it; Pursue it; and in fine, run Mad for't. How many Passions have we seen in the World, Ridiculous enough to Answer All the Follies of this Imagination! It was much for Venus to turn a Cat into a Woman, and for that Cully again to take That Cat for a Woman: What is it Less now, for a Fop to Form an Idea of the Woman he Dyes for, Every jot as Unlike That Woman, as the Cat is to the Mistress? Let This Suffice for the Impostures, and Illusions of That Passion.

We are further given to Understand that No Counterfeit is so Steady, and so Equally Drawn, but Nature by Starts will shew her self thorough it; for Puss, even when she's a Madam, will be a Mouser still. 'Tis the Same Thing with a Hypocrite, which is only a Devil dress'd up with a Ray about him, and Transform'd into an Angel of Light. Take him in the very Raptures of his Devotion, and do but throw a parcel of Church-Lands in his way, he shall Leap at the Sacrilege from the very Throne of his Glory, as Puss did at the Mouse; and Pick your Pocket, as a French Poet says of a Iesuit, in the Middle of his Paternoster.

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FAB. LXII. A Father and his Sons.

IT was the Hap of a very Honest Man to be the Father of a Contentious Brood of Children. He call'd for a Rod, and bad 'em Take it, and Try One after. Another with All their Force, if they could Break it. They Try'd, and could not. Well (says he) Unbind it now, and take Every Twig of it apart, and see what you can do That Way. They Did so, and with Great Ease, by One and One, they snapt it all to pieces. This (says he) is the, True Emblem of Your Condition. Keep Together and Y'are Safe, Divide, and Y'are Undone.

The MORAL.

The Breach of Unity puts the World, and All that's in't, into a State of War, and turns Every Man's Hand against his Brother; but so long as the Band holds, 'tis the Strength of All the Several Parts of it Gather'd into One.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to Intimate the Force of Union, and the Danger of Division. What has it been but Division that has Expos'd Christendom to the Enemies of the Christian Faith? And it is as Ruinous in Private as 'tis in Publique. A Divided Family can no more Stand, than a Divided Common Wealth; for every Individual Suffers in the Neglect of a Common Safety. 'Tis a Strange Thing that Men should not do That under the Government of a Rational Spirit and a Natural Prudence, which Wolves and Boares do by the Impulse of an Animal Instinct. For they, we see, will make Head, One and All against a Common Enemy; whereas the Generality of Mankind lye Pecking at One Another, till One by One, they are all Torn to Pieces. Never considering (with the Father here) the Necessity and Strength of Union.

 


 

FAB. LXIII. A Laden Asse and a Horse.

AS a Horse and an Asse were upon the Way together, the Asse cryed out to his Companion, to Ease him, of his Burden, though never so little, he should fall down Dead else. The Horse would not; and so his Fellow-Servant sunk under his Load. The Master, upon This, had the Asse Flay'd, and laid [Page 63] his Whole Pack, Skin and All, upon the Horse. Well, (says he) This Judgment is befall'n me for my Ill Nature, in refusing to help my Brother in the Depth of his Distress.

The MORAL.

It is a Christian, a Natural, a Reasonable, and a Political Duty, for All Members of the Same Body to Assist One Another.

REFLEXION.

THE Bus'ness of the World, is more or less, the Bus'ness of Every Man that lives in't: And if the Great and the Small do not Joyn in One Common Assistance, where the Matter requires it, they are in Danger to be Both Undone: So that it is for the Good of the Whole, that the Several Parts take care One for Another.

We have here set before us the Mischieves of Ill Nature, and Imprudence, both in One; and the Folly of not Heeding the Duty, as well as the Common Necessity, of Helping One Another. [This is None of My Bus'ness] we Cry; never considering, that in Things Requisite to be done, what One Cannot, Another Must: Beside, that in the Case of a Fellow-Servant, or an Honest Neighbour, I am as much bound to save him from Sinking under a Heavy Burden, as I am to give him a Cup of Drink, or a Morsel of Bread, to keep him from Choaking or Starving: It makes a Breach in a Community, when Particular Men shall take upon them to Divide from the Common Service of the Body: And He that sets up a Private Interest, Separate from the Publique, Discontinues the Connexion of the Government, by Cutting off That Link of the Chain. But the Miseries and Calamities that follow upon departing from the Known Rules and Measures of Political Order, are sufficient to Enlighten us in the Reason of Political Methods, and to Excite us to an Agreement in all Reciprocal Services, One with Another. There's the Duty of Charity in't, and the Foundations of Governing Prudence; Beside, that we are likewise Mov'd to't, by a Sense of Tenderness, Honor and Justice.

The Churlish Humour of this Horse, is too much the Humour of Mankind, even in the Case of Subjects to the same Master; but such is the Vanity that many People draw from their Titles, and their Trappings, that they look down upon their Fellows, as if they were not All made of the same Clay. To speak the Plain Truth of the Matter, 'Tis the Little People that support the Great; and when the Foundation fails, the whole Fabrick must either drop into Rubbish, or otherwise Rest upon the Shoulders of their Superiors.

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FAB. LXIV. A Collyer and a Fuller.

A Fuller had a very kind Invitation from a Collyer to come and Live in the House with him. He gave him a Thousand Thanks for his Civility; but told him that it would not Stand with his Convenience; for (says he) as fast as I make any thing Clean, You'll be Smutting it again.

 


 

FAB. LXV. A Thrush and a Swallow.

AH my Dear Mother! says the Thrush, Never had any Creature such a Friend as I have, of this same Swallow. No, says she, nor ever any Mother such a Fool to her Son as I have, of this same Thrush: To talk of a Friendship betwixt People that cannot so much as live together in the same Climate and Season. One is for the Summer, T'other, for Winter; And that which keeps You Alive, Kills your Companion.

The MORAL of the TWO FABLES above.

'Tis a Necessary Rule in Allyances, Matches, Societies, Fraternities, Friendships, Partnerships, Commerce, and All Manner of Civil Dealings and Contracts, to have a Strict Regard to the Humour, the Nature, and the Disposition of Those we have to do withall.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to bid us have a care what Friendships we Contract, and what Company we keep; for Contrary Humours and Manners will never agree together. There can be no Thought of Uniting Those that Nature it self has Divided. And this Caution holds good in all the Bus'ness of a Sober Man's Life; as Marriage, Studies, Pleasures, Society, Commerce, and the like: 'Tis in some sort, with Friends (Pardon the Courseness of the Illustration) as it is with Dogs in Couples. They should be of the same Size, and Humour; and That which Pleases the One should Please the Other: But if they Draw Several Ways, and if One be too Strong for T'other, they'll be ready to Hang themselves upon Every Gate or Style they come at. This is the Moral of the Friendship betwixt a Thrush and a Swallow, that can never Live together.

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FAB. LXVI. A Fowler and a Pigeon.

AS a Country Fellow was making a Shoot at a Pigeon, he trod upon a Snake that bit him by the Leg. The Surprize Startled him, and away flew the Bird.

The MORAL.

We are to Distinguish betwixt the Benefits of Good Will, and those of Providence: For the Latter are immediately from Heaven, where no Human Intention Intervenes.

REFLEXION.

THE Mischief that we Meditate to Others, falls commonly upon our Own Heads, and Ends in a Judgment, as well as a Disappointment. Take it Another Way, and it may serve to Mind us how Happily People are Diverted Many Times from the Execution of a Malicious Design, by the Grace and Goodness of a Preventing Providence. A Pistol's not taking Fire may save the Life of a Good Man; and the Innocent Pigeon had Dy'd, if the Spiteful Snake had not Broken the Fowler's Aim: That is to say; Good may be drawn out of Evil, and a Body's Life may be Sav'd without having any Obligation to his Preserver.

 


 

FAB. LXVII. A Trumpeter taken Prisoner.

UPon the Rout of an Army there was a Trumpeter made a Pris'ner, and as the Soldiers were about to Cut his Throat; Gentlemen (says he) Why should You Kill a Man that Kills No Body? You shall Die the rather for That, cries one of the Company, for being so Mean a Rascal, as to set other People together by the Ears, without Fighting your self.

The MORAL.

He that Provokes and Incites Mischief, is the Doer of it. 'Tis the Man that Kills Me, the Bullet is only a Passive Iustrument to serve his End that Directs it.

[Page 66]

REFLEXION.

THIS is to Reprove Those (according to the old Moral) that Stir up Men in Power to do Publick Mischief; which is much Worse than any Man's Doing a Private One Himself: And only a Safer Way of Committing greater Outrages.

The Trumpeter's Plea, is so Arrant a Shuffle here, that an Incendiary at the Barr, or in the Pulpit, has as much to say for Himself. He that Countenances, Encourages, or Abetts a Mischief, Does it. The Seditious Lawyer, or Divine, Kills No Body with his own Hand, but by a False Gloss perhaps, upon a Law, or a Text, he may cause Ten Thousand Swords to be Drawn, without Spilling One Drop of Bloud immediately Himself. Shall any Man now, that Willfully, and Maliciously, procures the Cutting of whole Armies to Pieces, set up for an Innocent? As if the Lives that were taken away by his Instigation, were not to be Charged upon his Account. He that Covers Murder, Oppression, Sacrilege, Rebellion, with a Cloak of Statute and Scripture, makes God and Government, Effectually, the Authors of the Wickedness: And Those are the Basest, and Worst of Bravo's, that Employ Iourneymen-Mercenaries under them to do the Work. What is This, but to Engage our Bibles, and our Law-Books in a Conspiracy against Themselves? Shall He that gives Fire to the Train, pretend to Wash his Hands of the Hurt that's done by the Playing of the Mine? Humane Corruptions are as Catching as Powder; as Easily Enflam'd, and the Fire afterward as Hard to be Quench'd. That which a Man Causes to be Done, he Does Himself, and 'tis all a case whether he does it by Practice, Precept, or Example. In One Word, He that Kindles the Passions of the Mobile is Answerable for the Following Conflagration. When the Men of the Long Robe have once Preach'd the People to Tinder, the Least Spark sets them a Fire: so that they have no more to do then to Inculcate the Doctrine of Disobedience, and so leave the Multitude to chew upon't. A Trumpeter in the Pulpit is the very Emblem of a Trumpeter in the Field; and the same Charge holds Good against Both. Only the Spiritual Trumpeter is the more Pernicious Instrument of the Two; for the Latter serves only to Rowze the Courage of the Soldies without any Doctrine of Application upon the Text, whereas the other infuses Malice over and above, and Preaches Death and Damnation, Both in One, and gives ye the very Chapter and Verse for't,

 


 

FAB. LXVIII. A Dog and a Wolfe.

THere was a Hagged Carrion of a Wolfe, and a Jolly Sort of a Gentile Dog, with Good Flesh upon his Back, that fell into Company together upon the King's High-Way. The Wolfe wonderfully pleas'd with his Companion, and as Inquisitive to Learn how he brought himself to That Blessed State of Body. Why, says the Dog, I keep my Master's House from Thieves, and I have very Good Meat, Drink, and Lodging for my pains. [Page 67] Now if you'll go along with Me, and do as I do, you may fare as I fare. The Wolfe Struck up the Bargain, and so away they Trotted together: But as they were Jogging on, the Wolfe spy'd a Bare Place about the Dogs Neck, where the Hair was worn off. Brother (says he) how comes this I prethee? Oh, That's Nothing, says the Dog, but the Fretting of my Collar a little. Nay, says T'other, if there be a Collar in the Case, I know Better Things than to sell my Liberty for a Crust.

The MORAL.

We are so Dazzel'd with the Glare of a Splendid Appearance, that we can hardly Discern the Inconveniencies that Attend it. 'Tis a Comfort to have Good Meat and Drink at Command, and Warm Lodging: But He that sells his Freedom for the Cramming of his Gutt, has but a Hard Bargain of it.

REFLEXION.

IN This Emblem is set forth the Blessing of Liberty, and the Sordid Meanness of those Wretches that sacrifice their Freedom to their Lusts, and their Palates. What Man in his Right Senses, that has wherewithal to Live Free, would make himself a Slave for Superfluities! The Wolfe would have been well enough Content to have Barter'd away a Ragged Coat, and a Raw-Bond'd Carcass, for a Smooth and a Fat One; but when they came to talk of a Collar once, away Marches He to His Old Trade in the Woods again, and makes the Better Choice of the Two.

To speak to the First Point, we are lyable to be Impos'd upon by Outsides and Appearances, for want of Searching things to the Bottom, and Examining what Really they are, and what they Only seem to be. This Fiction of the Wolfe, is a Reproof to Eager Appetites, and Over-Hasty Judgments, that will not give themselves time to Ballance Accounts, and Compute Beforehand, whether they are to get or Lose by the Bargain. It holds as well against Intemperate Curiosities, and Rash Wishes, That is to say, against the Folly of the One, and the Wickedness of the Other; for if we come once to take Evil for Good, our very Prayers are turn'd into Sin: But what with a Certain Itch of Prying into, and Meddling with Other Peoples Matters, and a Natural Levity that puts us upon Shifting and Changing, we fall Insensibly into a Thousand Inconveniencies: and when it comes to That once, that we find our selves Uneasie at Home, and no Resting-Place in our Own Thoughts, (where Rest is Only to be had) we are e'en glad to run away from our Selves, and Hunt abroad for't where 'tis never to be found. This is the Common Root of all our Wandrings and Errors. We Spend our Time, and our Peace, in Pursuit of Things wholly Forreign to our Business, and which will Certainly Deceive us at last.

Thus it Is, and Thus it must be, so long as we take Every thing by a Wrong Handle, and only Calculate upon our Own Misfortunes, without any Allowance for the Comforts that we Enjoy. And so we reckon upon our Neighbours Enjoyments, on the Other hand, without any Consideration for the hardships that They Endure. Oh that I had but such a Palace! Says One; Such an Estate; Such a Retinue; This Glorious Train; That Lovely Woman, &c. Nay the Envious Freak Descends to the very Point, [Page 68] and Petticoat. Now These Idle Curiosities may be Specious Enough in the Contemplation; but what if This House, at the Foot of the Account, should Prove to be Haunted, That Gay Furniture Borrow'd; T'other Fine Woman Clapt; The Curse of Sacrilege cleaving to such an Inheritance, and all the rest of the Gawdy Fooleries perhaps Unpay'd for? (as these Incumbrances are No New Things in Nature) Who would not rather take up with the Wolfe in the Woods again, then make such a Clutter in the World upon These Scandalous Conditions.

For the Obviating of All Cases of this Quality, Children should be Early Instructed, according to their Age and Capacity, in the True Estimate of Things, by Opposing the Good to the Evil, and the Evil to the Good; and Compensating, or Qualifying One Thing with Another. What's Plenty without Health? What's Ease without Plenty? And what's Title and Greatness, with Carking Thoughts, and a Troubled Mind to Attend it? What does That Man Want that has Enough? Or What's He the better for a Great deal, that can never be Satisfy'd? By This Method of Setting what we Have against What we have Not, the Equity of Providence will be made Manifest, and to All manner of purposes Justify'd; When it shall appear upon the Ballance, that Every man has his Share in the Bounties of Heaven to Mankind.

As to the Freedom here that Aesop is so Tender of, it is to be Understood of the Freedom of the Mind: A Freedom to Attend the Motions of Right Reason; and a Freedom, in fine, not to be Parted with for All the Sensual Satisfactions under the Sun. It is, I say, a Freedom under These Limits; for there's No such Thing as Absolute Liberty: Neither is it possible that there should be any, without a Violence to the Order of the Universe, and to the Dictates of Reasonable Nature: For All men Living are in Some sort or Other, and upon some Penalty or Other, Subjected to a Superior Power; That is to say, the Laws of Morality are Above them: But the Case wherein All men are upon the Behaviour is not here the Question. To Wind up the Moral, in short; Liberty is a Jewel, and a Blessing. The Wolfe was well enough pleas'd here with the State of the Dogs Body, but he had no fancy to his Collar.

 


 

FAB. LXIX. A Farmer and his Dogs.

A Certain Farmer was put to such a Pinch in a Hard Winter for Provisions, that he was forc'd to Feed Himself and his Family upon the Main Stock. The Sheep went First to Pot; the Goats Next; and after Them, the Oxen; and All Little enough to keep Life and Soul together. The Dogs call'd a Councel upon't. and Resolv'd to shew their Master a Fair pair of Heeles for't, before it came to be Their Turn; for, (said they) after he has Cut the Throats of our Fellow Servants, that are so Necessary for his Bus'ness, it cannot be Expected that he will ever Spare us.

[Page 69]

The MORAL▪

There's No Contending with Necessity, and we should be very Tender how we Censure Those that Submit to't. 'Tis One thing to be at Liberty to do what we Would do, and Another Thing to be Ty'd up to do what we Must.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Common Thing for a Master to Sacrifice a Servant to his Own Ease, and Interest; but there's No Meddling with Men of That Inhospitable Humour, where the Domestiques, how Faithful soever, can never be Secure.

This is according to the Old Moral; but not without some Force (in My Opinion at least) to the Natural Biass of the Fable. The Farmer has no Liberty of Choice before him, but either to do what he does, or to Perish: And in so Doing, (with all respect to the Rules of Honesty) he does but his Duty; without any way Incurring the Character of an Ill Natur'd Man, or a Cruel Master. But there may be also Another Doctrine Rais'd from it; which is, That in Cases of Extreme Difficulty, the Laws of Conveniency, and Ordinary Practice must give place to the Laws of Necessity. This was the Naked Truth of the Farmers Case.

 


 

FAB. LXX. A Camel at First Sight.

UPon the First Sight of a Camel, All people ran away from't, in Amazement at so Monstrous a Bulk. Upon the Second Sight, finding that it did them No Hurt, they took Heart upon't, went up to't, and View'd it. But when they came, upon Further Experience, to take notice, how Stupid a Beast it was, they Ty'd it up, Bridled it, Loaded it with Packs and Burdens; Set Boys upon the Back on't, and Treated it with the Last Degree of Contempt.

 


 

FAB. LXXI. A Fox and a Lyon.

A Fox had the hap to fall into the Walk of a Lyon; (the First of the Kind that ever he saw) and he was ready to Drop down at the very sight of him. He came a While after, to see Another, and was Frighted still; but Nothing to What he was Before. [Page 70] It was his Chance, after This, to Meet a Third Lyon; and he had the Courage, Then, to Accost him, and to make a kind of an Acquaintance with him.

The MORAL of the TWO FABLES above.

Novelty Surprizes us, and we have Naturally a Horror for Uncouth Misshapen Monsters; but 'tis Our Ignorance that Staggers us, for upon Custom and Experience, All These Buggs grow Familiar, and Easy to us.

REFLEXION.

THINGS that at first seem Terrible, become Easy to us when we are Wonted to them; says the Old Moral; which holds, I confess, in the Case of the Camel, but not in That of the Lyon.

With leave of the Moralist, the Illustration does not come up to the Force and Intent of the Two Last Fables: Neither, in truth, is the very Design of them according to the True Reason of the Matter in Question. Things that seem Terrible, and are Not so, become not only Familiar, but Ridiculous to us, when we find that our Fears were Vain and Idle; as in the case of the Camel: But things on the contrary, that only Seem Terrible, but are found upon Experience to be more Dangerous then we took them for: (as in the Strength, the Nimbleness, the Fierceness, and the Appetite of a Lyon.) These are Things, I say, that the Better we Know them, the More we Dread them: So that though we have Apprehensions, as well where there is No Peril, as where there Is: Yet Time teaches us to Distinguish the One from the Other. The Allusion would much better have held in the case of a Battle, where the Soldier grows Every day less apprehensive of the Hazzard, by seeing so many People Scape; and by Computing upon the Disproportion of Those that Outlive it, to Those that Fall in't. We may however Learn from hence, that people may be Frighted as well Without Reason as With it. Now, in Propriety of Speaking, and in a Right Understanding of the Thing too, People were not so much Frighted, as they were Surpriz'd at the Bigness, and Uncouth Deformity of the Camel: But I could Wish, the Fox had been More and More affraid of the Lyon, the Oftner he Saw him; and the Doctrine would then have been to Govern our Passions by the Truth and Reason of Things, not by Appearances; but it holds however, that Custom goes a Great Way in making Matters Indifferent to us. 'Tis much the same Case too, betwixt the People, and Bugg-Laws, and Acts of State, that it is here betwixt the Fox and the Lyon. Men look, upon the First Opening of a Publique Fast, as if Heaven and Earth were going together; Not a Shop Open; The Streets Quiet, and so Dismal a Countenance Every where, as if it were to Rain Fire and Brimstone the Next Moment. The Second Day is a Little Uneasy too, but not half so Frightful as the Former: and so in Two or Three days more, the Awe goes quite off, and the People come to their Wits, and fall to their Trade again, without any further Heed to the Matter.

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FAB. LXXII. An Eagle and a Fox.

THere was a Bargain struck up betwixt an Eagle and a Fox, to be Wonderful Good Neighbours and Friends. The One Took-up in a Thicket of Brushwood, and the Other Timber'd upon a Tree hard by. The Eagle, One Day When the Fox was abroad a Forraging, fell into his Quarters and carry'd away a Whole Litter of Cubbs at a Swoop. The Fox came time enough back to see the Eagle upon Wing, with her Prey in the Foot, and to send many a Heavy Curse after her; but there was No overtaking her: It happen'd in a very Short time after This, upon the Sacrificing of a Goat, that the same Eagle made a Stoop at a piece of Flesh upon the Altar, and she took it away to her Young: But Some Live Coales it seems, that Stuck to't, set the Nest a fire. The Birds were not as yet Fledge enough to Shift for Themselves, but upon Sprawling and Struggling to get Clear of the Flame, down they Tumbled, half Roasted into the very Mouth of the Fox, that stood Gaping under the Tree to see the End on't: So that the Fox had the satisfaction at last, of Devouring the Children of her Enemy in the very Sight of the Damm.

The MORAL.

God Reserves to Himself the Punishment of Faithless, and Oppressing Governours, and the Vindication of his Own Worship and Altars.

REFLEXION:

THIS is to give Great Men to Understand, that No Power upon Earth can Protect them in the Exercise of Tyranny and Injustice; but that Sooner, or Later, Vengeance will Overtake Oppressors. It does likewise Condemn Treachery, and breach of Faith, even toward the most Perfidious▪

The Morality of This Fiction looks several Ways. Here's first a League betwixt an Eagle and a Fox; which would be a most Incongruous Allyance, if it were not in the case of That Princely Birds Departure from the Dignity of her Character, and from the Obligation of Royal Justice: so that Aesop has aptly enough Match'd a Faith-Breaking Prince, with a Perfidious Subject, and Fancy'd a Knavish Favourite, as the Fittest Minister for such a Governour. In the Eagles Destroying the Foxes Cubbs, there's Power Exercis'd with Oppression, and the Curses of the Fox that Pursu'd the Oppressor, were not sent in Vain neither, as appears by the Sequel▪ [Page 72] We are likewise to take Notice that Justice is Sacred, and that No Provocation, either of Insolent Language, or Behaviour, can Warrant the Violation of it.

And it is further Suggested to us, that when People are in a Train of Wickedness, One Sin Treads upon the Heel of Another. The Eagle begins with an Invasion upon the Rights of Hospitality, and Common Faith; and at the Next Step Advances to Sacrilege, in Robbing the Altar. And what follows upon it now, but a Divine Judgment, that sets fire to her Nest, and Avenges the Cause of the very Fox, though One of the Falsest of Creatures! From hence we are to Gather These Two Doctrines for our Instruction. First, That the Misdemeanors of Temporal Sovereign Powers are subjected only to the Animadversion of the supreme Lord of the Universe. And secondly, That in the Case of Tyranny it self, it is not for Private Men to pretend to any Other Appeal.

 


 

FAB. LXXIII. A Husbandman and a Stork.

A Poor Innocent Stork had the Ill Hap to be taken in a Net that was layd for Geese and Cranes. The Storks Plea for her self was Simplicity, and Piety: The Love she bore to Mankind, and the Service she did in Picking up of Venomous Creatures. This is all True, says the Husbandman; But They that Keep Ill Company, if they be Catch'd with Ill Company, must Expect to suffer with Ill Company.

The MORAL.

'Tis as much as a man's Life, Fortune, and Reputation, are Worth, to keep Good Company (over and above the Contagion of Lewd Examples) for as Birds of a Feather will Flock together, so if the Good and the Bad be taken together, they must Expect to go the Way of All Flesh together.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to bid men have a care What Company they keep; for when the Good and Bad are Taken together, they must Go together. Not but that a man may lye under some Obligation of Duty and Respect, to Visit, Eat and Correspond with Many People that he does not Like. And This may be well enough Done too; provided it be out of Decency, Discretion, or Good Manners, rather then upon Choice and Inclination. We cannot Honestly let a Civil Enemy into a Town that's Besieg'd, or hold any sort of Intelligence with him (though but in a Bare Curiosity) about the Affairs of the Garrison. Let a man Consider now, how much more, Dangerous, and Unwarrantable it is to take an Enemy into Our Souls, then into our Forts. With all Honour yet to a Brave Adversary, apart from his Cause.

[Page 73] 'Tis the Fortune of many a Good Man to fall into Bad Company, and to be Undone by't, and yet no way Guilty all this while, of the Iniquity▪ of his Companions. The Letter of the Law Sweeps All in such a Case, without Distinction of Persons: To say Nothing of the Shame and Dishonour of being taken up with Rogues and Felons; over and above the Lash of Publique Justice, and the Contagion of a Lewd Conversation. Shew me the Company (says the Adage) and I'll tell ye the Man. What would a body think now of a Prime Minister that should Conjobble Matters of State with Tumblers and Buffoons; Conferr Politiques with Tinkers and Carr-men? would not any man Judge their Souls to be of the same Standard and Allay? And that there were no more betwixt them then Cross or Pile, which should be the Lord, and which the Scoundrel? Or, according to the Fable, which the Stork and which the Goose? For 'tis not the Purple, but the Virtue that makes a man of Honour; truly so call'd.

 


 

FAB. LXXIV. A Boy, and False Alarums.

A Shepherd Boy had gotten a Roguy Trick of crying [a Wolfe, a Wolfe] when there was No such Matter, and Fooling the Country People with False Alarums. He had been at This Sport so many times in Jest, that they would not Believe him at last when he was in Earnest: And so the Wolves Brake in upon the Flock, and Worry'd the Sheep at Pleasure.

The MORAL.

He must be a very Wise Man that knows the True Bounds, and Measures of Fooling, with a respect to Time, Place, Matters, Persons, &c. But Religion, Business and Cases of Consequence must be Excepted out of That sort of Liberty.

REFLEXION.

A Common Lyar (says the Old Moral) shall not be Believ'd, even when he speaks True: But there's a Great deal more in't, of which hereafter.

There's not One Man of a Thousand that Understands the Just, the Safe, Warrantable, Decent, and Precise Limits of that which we call Bantering, or Fooling: But it is either too Course, too Rude, too Childish, too Bitter, too Much on't, too Pedantique; and in fine, out of Measure, or out of Season. Now the Least Errour or Mistake in the Manage of This Humour, lays People Open to Great Censure, and Reproach. It is not Every man's Talent to know When and How to Cast out a Pleasant Word, with such a Regard to Modesty and Respect, as not to Transgress the True, [Page 74] and Fair Allowances of Wit, Good Nature, and Good Breeding. The Skill and Faculty of Governing This Freedom within the Terms of Sobriety and Discretion, goes a Great Way in the Character of an Agreeable Conversation; for That which we call Raillery, in This Sense, is the very Sawce of Civil Entertainment: And without some such Tincture of Urbanity, even in Matters the most Serious, the Good Humour Flattens, for want of Refreshment and Relief: But there's a Medium yet betwixt All-Fool, and All-Philosopher. I mean, A Proper and a Discreet Mixture, that in some sort Partakes of Both, and renders Wisdom it self the more Grateful, and Effectual for it. The Gravity, in short, of the One, is Enliven'd with the Spirit and Quickness of the Other; and the Gayety of a Diverting Word serves as a Vehicle to Convey the Force of the Intent, and Meaning of it: But the Main Drift at last of This Fable, is to shew us the Dangerous Consequences of an Improper, and an Unseasonable Fooling: With All Respect however to the Ornament and Advantage of a Facetious Freedom of Discourse, within the Compass of Sobriety and Honour. To Conclude; The Shepherds Boy went too far upon a Topique that he did not Understand.

 


 

FAB. LXXV. An Eagle and a Daw.

AN Eagle made a Stoop at a Lamb; Truss'd it, and took it Cleverly away with her. A Mimical Daw, that saw This Exploit, would needs try the same Experiment upon a Ram: But his Claws were so Shackled in the Fleece with Lugging to get him up, that the Shepherd came in, and Caught him, before he could Cleare Himself; He Clipt his Wings, and carry'd him Home to his Children to Play withal. They came Gaping about him, and ask'd their Father what Strange Bird that Was? Why, says he, He'l tell you Himself that he's an Eagle; but if you'll take My Word for't; I know him to be a Daw.

The MORAL.

'Tis a High Degree of Vanity and Folly, for men to take More upon them then they are able to go thorough withall; And the End of Those Undertakings is only Mockery and Disappointment in the Conclusion.

REFLEXION.

'TIS Vain and Dangerous to Enter into Competitions with our Superiors, in What Kind soever, whether it be in Arms, Letters, Expence, Strength of Body, Arts and Sciences, or the like. 'Tis Impossible for any man, in fine, to take a True Measure of Another, without an Exact Knowledg and a True Judgment of Himself. Nay the Attempt of any thing above our Force, with Vanity, and Presumption, most certainly ends in a Miscarriage [Page 75] that makes the Pretender Ridiculous. The Out-doing of a Great Man in his Own Way, Savours in some degree of Ill Manners, as it is upon the Main, a High Point of Indiscretion. One man takes it for an Affront to be Out-witted; Another to be Out-Fool'd, as Nero could not Endure to be Out-Fiddled; But in short, be the Matter never so Great, or never so Trivial, 'tis the same Case as to the Envy of the Competition.

 


 

FAB. LXXVI. A Dog in a Manger.

A Churlish Envious Curr was gotten into a Manger, and there lay Growling and Snarling to keep the Horses from their Provender. The Dog Eat None himself, and yet rather Ventur'd the Starving his Own Carcase then he would suffer any thing else to be the Better for't.

The MORAL.

Envy pretends to No Other Happiness then what it derives from the Misery of Other People, and will rather Eate Nothing it selfe then not Starve Those that Would.

REFLEXION.

WE have but too many Men in the World of This Dogs Humour; that will rather Punish Themselves, then not be Troublesome and Vexatious to Others. There's an Envy of Good Things too as well as of Good Men; but This Fable is so well known that it is Moralliz'd in a Common Proverb.

If some men might have their Wills the very Sun in the Firmament should withdraw his Light, and they would submit to Live in Perpetual Darkness Themselves, upon Condition that the rest of the World might do so for Company. Whatsoever their Neighbor Gets They Lose, and the very Bread that One Eats makes T'other Meager: which is the Genuine Moral of the Fable. There is in this Malevolence, somewhat of the Punishment, as well as of the Spite, of the Damn'd: They take delight in Other Peoples Miseries, and at the same Time are their Own Tormentors. This Diabolical Envy is Detestable even in Private Persons; but whenever the Governing Part of a Nation comes to be Tainted with it, there's Nothing so Sacred that a Corrupt Supercilious Ill Natur'd Minister will not sacrifice to This Execrable Passion. No Man should Eat, Live, or Breath Common Air if He could Hinder it. 'Tis the Bus'ness of his Life, and the Delight of his Soul, to Blast all sorts of Honest Men, and not only to Lessen their Characters, and their Services, but to Range them in the Number of Publique Enemies: And he had Twenty times rather see the Government Sink, then have it thought that any hand but his Own should have a Part of the Honour of Saving it. Now He that Betrays his Master for Envy, will never fail of doing it for Mony: [Page 76] For the Gratifying of This Canker'd Malignity is but Another way of selling him; Only the Spite is Antecedent and Subservient to the Corruption: But This Court-Envy is not Altogether the Envy of the Dog in the Fable. For there's a Mixture of Avarice and Interest in the Former, whereas the Other is a Spitefull Malignity purely for Mischief-sake. The Dog will rather Starve himself then the Oxe shall Eat; but the Courtier will be sure to Look to One whoever else goes to the Devil.

 


 

FAB. LXXVII. A Sheep and a Crow.

THere was a Crow sat Chattering upon the Back of a Sheep; Well! Sirrah says the Sheep, You durst not ha 'done This to a Dog. Why I know that says the Crow as well as You can tell me, for I have the Wit to Consider Whom I have to do withall. I can be as Quiet as any body with Those that are Quarrelsome, and I can be as Troublesome as Another too, when I Meet with Those that will Take it.

The MORAL.

'Tis the Nature and the Practice of Drolls and Buffoons, to be Insolent toward Those that will bear it, and as Slavish to Others that are more then their Match.

REFLEXION.

'TIS No New Thing for an Innocent Simplicity to be made the Sport of Bantering Drolls, and Buffoons. This is to tell Modest and Well-Meaning Men what they are to Expect in this World, and what they are to Trust to where there is not a Power sufficient to Repel Force by Force: And it serves further to keep This Check upon the Insolent, that there are Others as much too Hard for Them, as They are for Those that they Oppress. This Crow is much of the Humour of the Mobile. They are Tongue-Valiant 'tis True, and as Bold as Hercules where they know there's No Danger, but throw a Volly of Shot among them, and they have not the Courage of so many Hares. And what is All This Now, but according to the Guise of the World, God Threatens Kings, (as Dr. Donne has it) Kings Lords, as Lords do Us. He that's a Tyrant over One Man is a Slave to Another.

[Page 77]

 


 

FAB. LXXVIII. A Camel Praying for Horns.

IT stuck filthily in the Camel's Stomach, that Bulls, Stags, Lions, Bears, and the like, should be Armed with Horns, Teeth, and Claws, and that a Creature of his Size should be left Naked and Defenceless. Upon This Thought he fell down upon his Marybones, and begg'd of Iupiter to give him a pair of Horns, but the Request was so Ridiculous, that Iupiter, instead of Horning him, Order'd him to be Cropt, and so Punish'd him with the loss of his Ears which Nature had Allow'd him, for being so Unreasonable as to Ask for Horns, that Providence never intended him.

 


 

FAB. LXXIX. A Fox and a Hare to Iupiter.

A Fox and a Hare Presented a Petition to Iupiter. The Fox pray'd for the Hares Swiftness of Foot, and the Hare for the Fox's Craft, and Wilyness of Address. Iupiter told them, that since every Creature had some Advantage or Other Peculiar to it self, it would not stand with Divine Justice, that had provided so well for Every One in Particular, to Conferr All upon any One.

 


 

FAB. LXXX. A Peacock to Iuno.

THE Peacock, they say, lay'd it Extremely to Heart, that being Iuno's Darling-Bird, he had not the Nightingale's Voice superadded to the Beauty of his own Plumes. Upon This Subject he Petition'd his Patroness, who gave him for Answer, that Providence had Assign'd Every Bird its Proportion, and so bad him Content himself with his Lot.

The MORAL of the Three FABLES above.

The Bounties of Heaven are in such manner Distributed, that Every Living Creature has its Share; beside, that to Desire Things against Nature, is Effectually to Blame the very Author of Nature it self.

[Page 78]

REFLEXION.

IN These Three Fables, is set forth the Vanity of Unnatural Wishes, and Foolish Prayers; which are not only to be Rejected, but they deserve also to be Punish'd. Providence has made an Equal Distribution of Natural Gifts, whereof each Creature severally has a share; and it is not for This or That Particular to pretend to All: So that Considering the Equality of the Division, No Creature has Cause, either to Boast, or to Complain. We are never Content with the Bounty of Providence. One would have a Voice; T'other Gay Cloaths; and while Every Man would have All, we Charge Providence with Injustice for not giving to Every Man Alike. Socrates was in the Right in Saying, That in a Case a Man were to go where he should have the Choice before him, of All the Ill Things and All the Good Things in Nature, he would come home again the same Man that he went out.

It is to be Noted, upon the Distribution of the Matter of These Three Fables that the Camel prays for Weapons Offensive, and Defensive, either for the Encount'ring of Dangers, or the Repelling of them. The Fox and the Hare, for the Means of Avoiding them. And the Peacock for a Voice, answerable to his Beauty. And All their Prayers are to No Purpose, but to the Reproche of the Petitioners, and to the Confusion of Vain Desires. What is All This but an Appeale from Heaven to Heaven it self; and Petitioning Providenee against Providence, in a Recourse from One Providence to Another? The Determinations and Appointments of Heaven are no more to be Disputed and Controll'd, then they are to be made Better, and Emprov'd; And we must not Presume to Judge of the Goodness and Justice of Heaven, by the Frailties and Corruptions of Flesh and Blood. We were not of Councel with the Almighty, either in the Making, or in the Regulating of the World, and we have no more Right to Advise him in the Governing of it. The Power, in fine, that Rules in the Nature of Things is no other then a Divine Influence.

Why should not the Nightingale Envy the Peacock's Train as well as the Peacock Envy the Nightingale's Note? And why should not All the Works of the Creation Expostulate at the same Rate, and upon the same Grounds? Why has not Man the Wings of an Eagle to carry him from Danger, or to satisfie his Curiosity what the World's a doing? Why has he not the Sagacity of a Dog, the Paw of a Lyon; The Teeth of a Leopard; The Heeles of a Courser, and the like? And have not Brute Animals the same Equity of Complaint on the Other Hand, for want of the Faculties and Advantages, Intellectual, and Moral of Mankind? So that here's a Civil War that runs thorough All the Parts of the Universe, where Nothing is pleased with it's Own Lot; And no Remedy at last; but by New Moulding the World over again. This Inordinate Appetite has been the Overthrow of many a Kingdom, Family and Commonwealth.

To Ask Impossibilities, in fine, is Ridiculous, and to Ask Things Unnatural is Impious; for to take upon us to Blame, or Mend the Works of Providence, is to suppose the Divine Wisdom lyable to Miscarriages and Mistakes. These Mutterings are Foolish also, even to the Degree of Madness it self; for there's no Thought or Possibility of Relief in the Case. Such as we Are God has made Us: our Post and our Station is appointed us, and the Decree is not to be Revers'd.

[Page 79]

 


 

FAB. LXXXI. An Old Weazle and Mice.

AN Old Weazle that was now almost past Mousing, try'd what she could do by her Wits, when she found she could live no longer upon the Square, and so Conveys her self into a Meal-Tub for the Mice to come to Her, since she could not go to Them. They came thick and threefold for a time, as she expected they should, till at last, One Experienc'd Stager that had Baffled Twenty Traps and Tricks Before, Discover'd the Plot, and quite Spoyl'd the Jest.

The MORAL.

The Want of Force, Strength, and Other Abilities to Compass our Ends must be Supply'd by Industry and Invention.

REFLEXION.

KNAVES live as Naturally upon Fools, as Spiders do upon Flyes, and the Want of Downright Force must be suppy'd by Art. But Time that Discovers the Truth of Things, lays open Frauds too and Double Dealings; and after that Discovery, there's No Passing the same Trick upon the Mice and Rats here over again. A Body would think now that Reasonable Creatures should at least have the Wit of Vermine, and not run their Necks over and over into the same Noose: But in Despite of Claps and Surfeits, Men we see will be Whoring and Fuddling-on still. And the same Baite of Liberty and Property will serve for the Common People in saecula saeculorum, Even after they have been Choak'd, Begger'd, and Poyson'd with it five Hundred times before.

 


 

FAB. LXXXII. An Old Tree Transplanted.

A Certain Farmer had One Choice Apple-Tree in his Orchard that he Valu'd above all the rest, and he made his Landlord Every Year a Present of the Fruit on't. He lik'd the Apples so very well, that Nothing would serve Him but Transplanting the Tree into his Own Grounds. It Witherd presently upon the Removal, and so there was an end of both Fruit and Tree together. The News was no sooner brought to the Landlord, but he brake out into This Reflexion upon it: This comes, says he, of Transplanting an Old Tree, to Gratifie an Extravagant [Page 80] Appetite: Whereas if I could have Contented my self with the Fruit, and left my Tenant the Tree still, All had been Well.

The MORAL.

Nature has her Certain Methods and Seasons for the Doing of Every Thing, and there must be no Trying of Experiments to put her out of her Course.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S No forcing Nature against her Biass, or Inverting the Methods of Providence. Irregular Desires and Unreasonable Undertakings must expect to meet with Disappointments. There's a Proper Time for All Things, and Nothing succeeds well, but what's done in Season. And This is not the Only Case neither, where an Extravagant Appetite; or Humour makes People forget the Methods of Decency and Reason. As in Unequal Matches for the Purpose: For Marrying is but a kind of Transplanting, and an Old Fellow with a Young Wench, may very well pass for a Counterpart of This Fable.

 


 

FAB. LXXXIII. A Fox and a Goat.

A Fox and a Goat went down by Consent into a Well to Drink, and when they had Quench'd their Thirst, the Goat fell to Hunting up and down which way to get back again. Oh! says Reynard, Never Trouble your Head how to get back, but leave That to Me. Do but You Raise your self upon your Hinder Legs with your Fore-Feet Close to the Wall, and then stretch out your Head: I can Easily Whip up to your Horns, and so out of the Well, and Draw you after me. The Goat puts himself in Posture immediately as he was directed, gives the Fox a Lift, and so Out he Springs; but Reynard's Bus'ness was now only to make Sport with his Companion instead of Helping him. Some Hard Words the Goat gave him, but the Fox puts off all with a Jest. If you had but half so much Brains as you have Beard, says he, you would have bethought your self how to get up again before you went down.

The MORAL.

A Wise Man will Debate Every Thing Pro and Con before he comes to Fix upon any Resolution. He leaves Nothing to Chance more than Needs must. There must be No Bantering out of Season.

[Page 81]

REFLEXION.

IT is Wisdom to Consider the End of Things before we Embarque, and to Forecast Consequences. It is also to be Expected that Men in Distress will look to themselves in the First Place, and leave their Companions to Shift as well as they can. When a Knave, and an Honest Man happen to be Embarqu'd together in the same Common Interest, the Sharper will be sure, if ever it comes to a Pinch, to shift for Himself; and leave T'other in the Lurch. It is the way of the World for Men to Abandon their Benefactors, and to make sport with Those that Rais'd them. This was the Trick, that the Fox serv'd the Goat here in the Well; to shew us that He that Helps Another out at a Plunge, runs the Risque of being left in the Mire himself. No Matter for the Morality of the Thing, so long as it is the Fashion; And that He that Advances himself upon the Ruine of Another gets the Reputation of a Man of Art, and Address. The Facility, in fine, and the Simplicity of the Goat, shews us what an Honest Man is to Trust to that keeps a Knave company.

We find in This Fox, the Roguery, the Invention, and the Wilyness of the Crafty People we meet with Abroad, and a Lively Image of the Faith, Friendship, Good Nature, and Justice that we are to Expect from them. We cannot therefore keep too strict an Eye upon the Life and Conversation of Those we have to do withall. If they be Men of Fraud, they'll never stick at bringing their Friends and Companions into Dangers, Losses, and Inconveniences; Scoure off themselves, and leave Those that Trust them to pay the Reck'ning. But, in a Word, This Application extends to Men of Trick and Design of All Sorts; let it be in Pleasure, Fortune, Pride, Envy, Vain-Glory, Trade, Law, Marriages, Quarrels, Travels, Ambition, &c. Wherefore it Behoves us to Look before we Leape, and in Case of the Worst that can befall us, to secure an After-Game. The Want of this Foresight was the Goats Ruine.

 


 

FAB. LXXXIV. Cocks and a Partridge.

A Cock-Master bought a Partridge, and turn'd it among his Fighting Cocks, for them to Feed together. The Cocks beat the Partridge away from their Meat, which she lay'd the more to Heart, because it look'd like an Aversion to her purely as a Stranger. But the Partridge finding These very Cocks afterwards, Cutting one Another to pieces, she comforted her self with This Thought, that she had no Reason to expect they should be Kinder to Her, than they were to One Another.

[Page 82]

The MORAL.

'Tis No Wonder to find Those People Troublesome to Strangers, that Cannot Agree among Themselves. They Quarrel for the Love of Quarrelling; and provided the Peace be broken, No matter upon What Ground, or with Whom.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S No Peace to be Expected among those that are Naturally Fierce and Quarrelsome. But we are to Distinguish however, betwixt Injuries of Malice, and of Evil Nature, as we do betwixt Violences in Hot Bloud, and Those of Deliberate Spite and Intention; which we find in the Common Cases of Manslaughter, and Murder. The Doctrine may be briefly This, that so far as Possible, we are to Avoid Ill Company: but where we are forc'd upon't, there's No Remedy but Patience. The Cocks here Did but according to their Kind; And it is the Same Thing with Wicked Men too, (as Birds of the same Feather) to be Troublesome to Other People as well as to One Another.

 


 

FAB. LXXXV. A Bragging Traveller.

A Vain Fellow that had been abroad in the World, would still be Tiring All Peoples Ears at his Return, with Stories of his Wonderful Actions and Adventures in his Travels; and particularly, he told of a Leap he took at Rhodes, that No Body there could come within Six Foot on't. Now This (says he) I am able to Prove by several Witnesses upon the Place. If This be True (says one of the Company) there's No Need of going to Rhodes for Witnesses: Do but You fancy this to be Rhodes, and then shew us the Leape.

The MORAL

Travellers have a kind of Privilege to Romance it; and to Tell Stories at large. And for Those that Doubt the Truth of the Matter, they had e'en better pass it over than go to Disprove it.

REFLEXION.

'TIS Foolish to Appeale to Witnesses for the Proofe of any thing, when 'tis not a Pin Matter, whether the Fact in Question be True or False; and so it is also to talk of Proofes that are not within Call: But Vain Boasters are Naturally Impertinent; for they Talk at Random, without any Regard to Truth and Judgment. There may be a Double Use made [Page 83] of this Fable: First, as a Dissuasive to Those that spend their Time in Idle Insipid Company. Secondly, As a Caution to Those that are Tainted with this Levity, not to make Themselves Ridiculous any longer. Nature has Written Fool upon the Tip of That Man's Tongue that will always be telling Stories with an [I did This,] and [I sayd That.] Travellers, they say, may lye by Authority; and yet our Travellers Privilege here was not sufficient to Protect him in his Vanity from making Sport to the Company.

 


 

FAB. LXXXVI. An Impostor to the Oracle.

THere was a certain Bantering Droll that took a Journey to Delphos, a purpose to try if he could put a Trick upon Apollo. He carry'd a Sparrow in his Hand under his Coat, and told the God, I have somewhat in my Hand, says he, Is it Dead or Living? If the Oracle should say 'twas Dead, he could shew it Alive; If Living, 'twas but squeezing it, and then 'twas Dead. Now He that saw the Malice of his Heart gave him this Answer: It shall e'en be which of the Two you please; for 'tis in Your Choice to have it either the One or the Other.

The MORAL.

Presumption leades People to Infidelity in a Trice, and so by Insensible Degrees to Atheism: for when Men have once cast off a Reverence for Religion, they are come within One Step of Laughing at it.

REFLEXION.

THIS Points at the Folly and Wickedness of Those Men that think to play Fast and Loose with God Almighty, who sees the very Thoughts of our Hearts. This way of Fooling in Holy Things is much a Bolder sort of Impiety, then it is commonly Taken for. He that pretends to Doubt of an All-knowing Power, has as much Right to Doubt of an Allmighty Power too, and the bringing of One Attribute in Question, Opens the Way to a Diffidence of all the Rest. It would prevent a great Deal of Wickedness in the World, if Men would but Live and Act in Religious Matters, so as to Own, and to Recognize the Force, and Awe of a Deity in their Practices, as well as in their Words: But when they come to Querying and Riddling upon't, with an [If it be so and so;] The Scandal of the Supposition is not to be Borne; for such a way of Seeming to Affirm a Thing, is but one Remove from a Flat Denyal of it. Such was the Impostors Question here to the Oracle: which Implyes both the Doubt of a Divine Omniscience, and a Curiosity to Discover the Truth of the Matter, with a Banter at the End on't; and so makes it a consummated Wickedness.

[Page 84]

 


 

FAB. LXXXVII. A Woman and a Fat Hen.

A Good Woman had a Hen that laid her Every Day an Egg. Now she fancy'd to her selfe, that upon a Larger Allowance of Corn, This Hen might be brought in time to lay twice a day. She Try'd the Experiment; but the Hen grew Fat upon't, and gave quite over Laying.

The MORAL.

He that has a Great Deal already, and would have More, will never think he has enough'till he has All; and That's Impossible: wherefore we should set Bounds to our Desires, and Content our Selves when we are Well, for fear of Losing what we had.

REFLEXION.

HERE'S a Figure of the Folly, and the Mischief of Vain Desires, and an Immoderate Love of Riches. Covetousness is enough to make the Master of the World as Poor as He that has just Nothing; for a Man may be brought to a Morsel of Bread, by Griping, as well as by Profusion. 'Tis a Madness for a Body that has enough already, to Hazard All for the Getting of More, and then upon the Miscarriage to leave himself Nothing. This was the Woman's Case and Fault here. In Few Words, there's a Just Medium betwixt Eating too much, and too Little; and this Dame had Undoubtedly Hit upon't, when the Matter was so Order'd, that the Hen brought her Every Day an Egg. But when she came to Enlarge the Hens Allowance for her own Profit, upon an Opinion that more Corn would Produce more Eggs, her Avarice Misled her into a Disappointment, which was both a Judgment upon the Sin in the Loss of what she had before, and an Error in the very Point of Manage, and Good Huswiv'ry; for Repletion Obstructs the most Necessary Offices of Nature,

 


 

FAB. LXXXVIII. A Man Bit by a Dog.

ONE that was Bitten by a Dog, was Advis'd, as the Best Remedy in the World, to Dip a Piece of Bread in the Bloud of the Wound, and give it the Dog to Eate. [Pray hold Your Hand a little (says the Man) unless y'ave a mind to Draw All the Dogs in the Town upon me; For That will Certainly be the End on't, when they shall find themselves Rewarded instead of Punish'd.

[Page 85]

The MORAL.

Good Nature is a Great Misfortune, where it is not Manag'd with Prudence. Christian Charity, 'tis true, bids us return Good for Evil; but it does not Oblige us yet to Reward where we should Punish.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to Enform us, that Wicked and Ill-Natur'd Men are not to be Oblig'd by Kindnesses, Especially when they find they may be the better for Insolence; for at That Rate, he that Rewards Past Affronts, Draws On, and Encourages New Ones. There are Churlish Currs in the Moral as well as in the Fable, and we are here taught how to Behave our selves upon the Biting of All Manner of Dogs. Under the Rule and Correction of This Allegory, we may reckon Calumny, Slander, and Detraction in any Form or Figure whatsoever, and all Manner of Affronts and Indignities upon our Good Names, or our Persons. There may be Place in All These Cases for a Generous Charity to Forgive Offences, even of the Highest Ingratitude and Malice; But it is not Advisable to Reward where Men have the Tenderness not to Punish. This way of Proceeding is Dangerous in All the Affairs Publique, as well as Private, of Humane Life; for 'tis a Temptation to Villany, when People. when a Man fares the Better for Evil Doing. Ill Nature, in fine, is not to be Cur'd with a Sop; but on the contrary, Quarrelsome Men, as well as Quarrelsome Currs are worse for fair Usage.

 


 

FAB. LXXXIX. A Hunted Bever.

THE Bever is a kind of an Amphibious Creature, but he lives Mostly in the Water. His Stones, they say, are Med'cinal; and it is principally for Their Sake he knows, that People seek his Life; and therefore when he finds himself Hard Pinch'd, he Bites 'em off, and by leaving Them to his Pursuers, he Saves Himself.

The MORAL.

When a greater Interest is at Stake, 'tis a Warrantable Point of Honour and Discretion, to compound the Hazzard, by parting with the Less; provided, that while we Quit the One, we may save the Other.

REFLEXION.

WE find This Doctrine and Practice to be Verify'd in State-Chaces, as as well as in Those of the Woods; That is to say, where it is made a Crime to be Rich, and where Men are forc'd to lay Violent Hands on Themselves, to be Safe and Quiet; and with the Bever here, to compound with their Nutmegs to save their Lives.

[Page 86]

 


 

FAB. XC. A Thunny and a Dolphin.

A Thunny gave Chace to a Dolphin; and when he was just ready to seize him, the Thunny struck before he was aware, and the Dolphin, in the Eagerness of his Pursuit, ran himself a ground with him. They were Both Lost; but the Thunny kept his Eye still upon the Dolphin, and Observing him when he was Just at Last Gasp: Well, says he, the Thought of Death is now Easy to me, so long as I see my Enemy go for Company.

 


 

FAB. XCI. Two Enemies at Sea.

THere were Two Enemies at Sea in the same Vessel, the One at the Ships Head, the Other at the Stern. It Blew a Dreadful Storm, and when the Vessel was just ready to be swallow'd up, One of 'em Ask'd the Master, which Part of the ship would be First under Water; so he told him the T'other End would Sink first. Why then, says he, I shall have the Comfort of seeing my Enemy go before me.

The MORAL of the TWO FABLES above.

'Tis a Wretched Satisfaction, that a Revengeful Man takes, even in the Losing of his Own Life, provided that his Enemy may go for Company.

REFLEXION.

THERE is some Comfort in Company, even in a State of Adversity. Society is so Necessary and Agreeable to Mankind in All Cases, that Death is Certainly the More Uneasy for a Man's going alone into Another World: But the Consolation Pointed at in This Fable, is That which an Envious Man takes in the Ruine of his Enemy. There is a Memorable Instance to This Purpose, of a Gentleman that had an Estate for Lives, and Two of his Tenants in the Lease: One of them dyes, and the Other desires his Landlord to lay Both Farms into One, and Accept of Him for his Tenant. The Gentleman fairly Excus'd Himself, and away goes the Man in a Rage to his Wife; Told her how it was, and Swore a Great Oath, that he would be Reveng'd of his Landlord. This was in Harvest Time, and he went out next day to his Reapers, but stay'd so long, that his Wife sent up and down to look after him. To shorten the Story, they found him at last in a Ditch, [Page 87] Vomiting his Heart out. The Man, it seems, had Poyson'd himself, and the Revenge upon his Landlord was the Defeating him of his Estate by Destroying the Last Life in his Lease. In One Word, Revenge stops at Nothing that's Violent and Wicked. It Divides the Dearest Friends; Embroils Governments, and Tears Families to pieces. But to say no more on't, The Histories of All Ages are full of the Tragical Outrages that have been Executed by this Diabolical Passion: beside, that it hardens People into a Brutall Contempt of Death, (as in the Fables above) where they may but see their Enemies fall for Company.

 


 

FAB. XCII. A Fortune-Teller.

THere was a kind of a Petty Conjurer, that made it his Profession to Resolve Questions, and tell Fortunes, and he held forth in the Market-Place. Word was brought him, in the very Middle of his Schemes and Calculations, that his House was Robb'd; and so away he scours immediately to learn the Truth on't. As he was running home in All Haste, a Droll takes him up by the Way, with this short Question. Friend (says he) How come You to be so Good at telling Other Peoples Fortunes, and Know so little of your Own?

 


 

FAB. XCIII. A Cunning Woman.

A Certain Dame that pass'd in the World under the Name of a Cunning Woman, took upon her to Avert Divine Judgments, and to Foretell Strange Things to come. She play'd the Counterfeit Witch so long, till in the Conclusion, she was Taken up, Arraign'd, Try'd, Convicted, Condemned to Dye, and at last Executed for a Witch indeed. D'ye hear, Good Woman (says one to her, as she was upon the Way to her Execution) Are the Gods so much Easyer then the Judges, that you should be Able to make Them do any Thing for ye, and yet could not Prevail with the Bench for the Saving of your Own Life?

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FAB. XCIV. An Astrologer and a Traveller.

A Certain Starr-Gazer had the Fortune, in the very Height of his Celestial Observations, to stumble into a Ditch: A sober Fellow passing by, gave him a piece of Wholesome Counsel. Friend, says he, Make a Right Use of Your Present Misfortune; and pray, for the Future, let the Starrs go on quietly in their Courses, and do you look a little Better to the Ditches.

The MORAL of the Three FABLES above.

There needs no more than Impudence and Ignorance, on the One Side, and a Superstitious Credulity on the Other, to the Setting up of a Fortune Teller.

REFLEXION.

THIS serves for a Reproof to the Ignorance and Confidence of Figure-Flingers, Starr-Gazers, that pretend to Foretell the Fortunes of Kingdoms and States, and yet have no Foresight at all in what concerns Themselves.

The Moral of these Fables strikes upon rhe Vanity and Arrogance of Empyricks and Impostors Themselves, and upon the Folly of the Fond Believers of them. The Caution holds also against Unlawful Curiosities; Sickly, and Superstitious Fancyes and Dreams; Fore-bodings of Ill Luck; as the Crossing of a Hare, the Spilling of Salt, &c. This Humour, let it look never so Little, and Silly, (as it passes many times only for Frolique and Banter) is One yet of the most Pernicious Snares in Humane Life; when it comes once to get Possession, and to Gain Credit; Especially among Women and Children, where the Imagination is strong in the One, and the Disposition as Plyant as Wax for any Impression, in the other. Wherefore, of All Things in This World, Care is to be Taken, that they get not a Hankering after These Iuggling Astrologers, Gypsies, Wizzards, Fortune-Tellers, Conjurers, Quacks, Cunning Women, &c. To say Nothing of the Fooleries of Fortune-Books, and a Hundred other Vulgar Wayes of Enquiry into the Event of Amours, Marriages, Life and Death, Travel, Play, or the like; which is all but a Tincture of the same Capital Infirmity. If these Pretenders were not better Supported by the Simplicity, and Devotion of the Inquisitive Fooles that Consult Those Oracles, then they are by any Congruity of Premisses and Conclusion; or by the Ordinary Way of Tracing Causes into their Effects, the Trade would not find 'em Bread; for there's No Proportion at all betwixt the Meanes, and the End. Not but that the Things they seem to Predict, come many times to pass; Yet still the nearer the Mark in their Conjectures, the more suspicious is the Profession on the One Hand, and the more Dangerous is the Credulity on the Other: For Those People that take upon them to Resolve such Doubts, Scruples, and Difficulties, as are not to be known by any Natural Process of Reasoning; and those Men that will be Prying [Page 89] by Unwarrantable, and Forbidden Ways, into the Secret Councels of Almighty God, are Both Justly Punish'd: The One in Telling the Truth, and the Other in Hearing it: for it Hardens the One in his Confidence, and Presumption, and the Other in his Curiosity, and Superstition: Over and above the Feats that are done by Confederacy and Intelligence; for how shall any man pretend to tell Me my Fortune that knows nothing of his Own?

There are Mountebanks, and Smatterers also in State as well as in Science; Nay and perchance, the Vainer, the more Ignorant, and the more Mischievous of the Two; for All These Fables are Moraliz'd in History, Practice, and Conversation; and the Fiction, Match'd, at least, if not Outdone, in Matter of Fact. And These Ordinary Hocuses have been made use of in All Ages too, as Tools of State; sometimes For the Government, Other-while Against it, as the Occasion lay Fairest for the Game that was then a Playing. It goes a great Way, when Natural Curiosity, Vulgar Prejudice, and an Artificial Application of Actives to Passives, shall be Assisted with the Shams of Astrological Iudgments and Calculations over and above: though with our Conjurers here, their Ignorance and Presumption lays them Open in the Conclusion to the Scorns and Contempt of the Common People.

 


 

FAB. XCV. A Doctor and his Patient.

PRay Sir How d' ye Find your self? says the Dr. to his Patient Why truly, says the Patient; I have had a Violent Sweat. Oh the Best Sign in the World quoth the Dr. And then a little while after he is at it again, with a Pray How d' ye find your Body? Alas, says the T' other, I have just now such a Terrible Fit of Horror and Shaking upon me! Why this is all as it should be, says the Physician,. It shews a Mighty Strength of Nature. And then he comes over him a Third time with the same Question again; Why I am all swell'd, says T' other, as if I had a Dropsy; Best of All quoth the Doctor, and goes his Way. Soon after This comes one of the Sick Man's Friends to him with the same Question, how he felt himselfe; why truly so Well, says he, that I am e'en ready to Dye, of I know not how many Good Signs and Tokens.

The MORAL.

A Death bed Flattery is the Worst of Treacheries

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REFLEXION.

THIS gives us to Understand the Practice of the World, and that Flattery and Time-serving Enters into the most Solemn Offices of Mankind To Flatter Foolish Men into a Hope of Life where there is None at all, is much the same Thing with Betraying people into an Opinion, that they are in a Virtuous, and a Happy State, when they are Over-run with Passion, and Drown'd in their Lusts. The One has the same Pernicious Effect upon our Minds, that the Other has upon our Bodies; for it makes us Careless of Both. There are Certain Decencies of Form, and Civility, 'tis true, that purely regard Matters of Conversation, and Good Manners; And These Respects ought to be Preserv'd; But Ceremonies of Mode and Complement, are mightily out of Season, when Life and Salvation come to be at Stake.

It falls under the Prospect of the same Topique, to Consider, that Kingdoms and Common-Wealths have their Distempers, Intermissions, and Paroxisms, as well as Natural Bodies. And that a Glavering Councel is as Dangerous on the One hand, as a Wheedling Priest, or a Flattering Physician is on the Other. There is hardly such Another Pest in a Community, as a Consort of Parasites, that feed Governours with False Representations and Reports of Men and of Things. They First Betray their Masters to Dishonour, and Ruine; and then when they find the Vessel Sinking, Save themselves in the Long Boat. So much the Better, quoth the Doctor: Ay, Ay, (says the Empirical Statesman) That's as we'd have it. When at the same time the Distemper is as Mortal to the Government, on the One hand, as to the Patient on the Other.

 


 

FAB. XCVI. A Fowler and a Black-Bird.

AS a Fowler was Bending his Net, a Black-Bird call'd to him at a distance, and Ask'd him what he was a doing. Why says he, I am laying the Foundations of a City; and so the Birdman drew out of Sight. The Black-Bird Mistrusting Nothing, flew presently to the Bait in the Net, and was taken; and as the Man came running to lay hold of her; Friend, says the Poor Black-Bird, If This be Your Way of Building, You'l have but Few Inhabitants.

The MORAL.

There is no Sham so Gross, but it will pass upon a Weak Man that is Pragmatical, and Inquisitive.

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REFLEXION.

THIS is to Intimate, that where Rulers lay Snares, deal Falsely, and Exercise Cruelty, All goes to Wrack both Publique and Private. All Frauds are Cover'd and Gilded over with Specious Pretences, and Men are Every jot as Easily Impos'd upon, as Birds, Beasts, or Fishes; while the Eagerness of our Appetites Suspends the Exercise of our Reason. A Treat, a Woman, or a Bottle, is the same Thing to Us, that a Worm, a Gudgeon, a Grain of Corn, or a piece of Raw Flesh is to Those Animals. We Snap at the Bait without ever Dreaming of the Hook, the Trap, or the Snare that goes Along with it. Now what's the Difference betwixt Aesop's Pretext here for the Building of a City, and the Cheats that we have heard of, the Saving of a City. The Design was Destruction in Both, and That was for the Event on't too. Religion, Liberty and Property were the Bait: Nay the very Sound of the Words did the Bus'ness. The Common People will Chop like Trouts at an Artificial Fly, and Dare like Larks under the Awe of a Painted Hobby. 'Tis with Men, just as 'tis with Birds and Fishes, There's not a Mortal of us that will not Bite at some Bait or other, and we are caught as Sillily too, as the Bird was here in the Net.

 


 

FAB. XCVII. Mercury and a Traveller.

ONe that was just Entring upon a Long Journey, took up a Fancy of putting a Trick upon Mercury. He say'd him a short Prayer for the Bon-Voyage, with a Promise, that the God should go Halfe with him in whatever he found. Some body had lost a Bag of Dates and Almonds, it seems, and it was His Fortune to Find it. He fell to Work upon 'em Immediately, and when he had Eaten up the Kernels, and All that was Good of them, Himself, he lay'd the Stones, and the Shells upon an Altar; and desir'd Mercury to take Notice that he had Perform'd his Vow. For, says he, Here are the Outsides of the One, and the Insides of the Other, and there's the Moiety I Promis'd ye.

The MORAL.

Men Talk as if they Believ'd in God, but they Live as if they thought there were None; for their very Prayers are Mockeries, and their Vows and Promises are no more then Words of Course, which they never Intended to make Good.

[Page 92]

REFLEXION.

THIS is to Reprehend the False and Covetous Humour of Those that for Mony and Profit, will not Stick at putting Shams even upon God Himself; Prophaning his Altars, and Ridiculing his very Omniscience and Power, Here's the Wickedness of a Libertine Naturally enough set forth, only the Punishment is Wanting that should have Completed the Moral. What Opinion have These Religious Banterers, of the Divine Power and Justice? Or what have they to say for themselves in This Audacious Habit of Mockery and Contempt; but that they Believe in their Hearts that there is No God? Not but that more or less, we are all Jugglers in Secret betwixt Heaven, and our Own Souls: Only they Cover and Meditate Abuses under the Masque and Pretence of Conscience, and Religion; and make God Almighty Privy to a Thousand False and Cozening Contrivances, that we keep as the Greatest Privacies in the World, from the Knowledge of our Neighbours. Nay, when we are Most in Earnest, our Vows and Promises are more then Half Broken in the very making of them; and if we can but secure our Selves a Retreat, by some Cleanly Evasion, Distinction, or Mental Reservation, it serves our Purpose e'en as Well as if it were a Casuistical Resolution. In One Word, we find the Moral of Mercury and the Traveller in the very Secrets of our Hearts, betwixt Heaven, and our own Souls.

 


 

FAB. CXVIII. A Boy and his Mother.

A School-Boy brought his Mother a Book that he had Stoll'n from One of his Fellows. She was so far from Correcting him for't, that she rather Encourag'd him. As he grew Bigger, he would be still keeping his hand in Ure with somewhat of Greater Value, till he came at last to be Taken in the Matter, and brought to Justice for't. His Mother went along with him to the Place of Execution, Where he got leave of the Officers, to have a Word or Two in Private with her. He put his Mouth to her Ear, and under Pretext of a Whisper, Bit it Clear off. This Impious Unnatural Villany turn'd Every Bodies Heart against him More and More. [Well Good People (says the Boy) Here You see Me an Example, both upon the Matter of Shame and of Punishment; And it is This Mother of mine that has brought me to't; for if she had but Whipt me soundly for the Book I stole when I was a Boy, I should never have come to the Gallows here now I'm a Man.]

[Page 93]

The MORAL.

We are either Made or Marr'd, in our Education; and Governments, as well as Private Families, are Concern'd in the Consequences of it.

REFLEXION.

WICKED Dispositions should be Check'd betimes; for when they come once to Habits, they grow Incurable. More People go to the Gibbet for want of Timely Instruction, Discipline, and Correction, then upon any Incurable Pravity of Nature; And it is mightily the Fault of Parents, Guardians, Tutors and Governors, that so many men Miscarry. They suffer 'em at first to Run-a head, and when Perverse Inclinations are Advanc'd once into Habits, there's No Dealing with 'em. It may seem somewhat a Hard Case for the Greater Thieves to Punish the Less, and to see Publique Purloyners and Oppressors sit in Triumph upon the Lives of the Little Ones that go to the Gallows: For the Tye of Morality is the same upon Both; and they Stand Both Accountable to the Same Master. But Time, Power, and Corruption, give a Reputation to the Worst of Practices, and it is no longer Oppression when it comes Gilded with the Name of Authority. This Unequal, and Unreasonable Judgment of Things, brings many a Great Man to the Stool of Repentance; for when he has Swallow'd more then he can Digest, it sticks upon his Conscience, and will neither Up, nor Down. Now in the Sight of Heaven, the Greater the Temptation, the Less is the Sin; and yet in the Vogue of the World, it passes for an Exploit of Honour, for Kings and States to run away with Whole Countries that they have no Colour, or Pretence to; when many a poor Devil stands Condemn'd to a Halter, or a Whipping-Post, for the Pilfering of a Silver-Spoon perhaps, or the Robbing of a Hen-Roost: Though the Former, all this While, has No Better Title to what he takes, then the Latter; and yet to see what a deal of Fulsome Flattery, and Panegyrique we have, upon the Glorious Atchievements of the One; and only some Smithfield Ballad perchance, or a Sabbath-Breaking Speech, or Confession, to Embalm the Memory of the Other. To be Short, and Plain; the Offence before God, is at least as Great in a Prince, as in a Begger, and the Morality of a Careful Education holds alike in Both. 'Twas the Mothers sparing the Rod at first, that brought the Child, at the Long Run, to the Halter.

 


 

FAB. XCIX. A Shepherd turn'd Merchant.

A Countryman was Feeding his Flock by the Sea-side, and it was so Delicate a Fine Day, that the Smoothness of the Water Tempted him to leave his Shepherds Business, and set up for a Merchant. So that in All Hast, he puts off his Stock; Buys a [Page 94] Bargain of Figs; gets his Freight abord, and away presently to Sea. It happened to be very Foul Weather: So that the Mariners were fain to Cast their Whole Lading Over-bord, to save Themselves and the Vessel. Upon This Miscarriage, our New Merchant-Adventurer betook himself to his Old Trade again; And it happen'd One Day, as he was Tending his Sheep upon the very same Coast, to be Just such a Flattering Tempting Sea again, as That which had Betray'd him Before. Yes, yes, says he, When the Devil's Blind! You'd ha' some more Figs, with a Vengeance, Wou'd ye?

The MORAL.

Men may be happy in all Estates if they will but suit their Minds to their Condition. A Shepherd may be as Easy in a Cottage, as a Prince in a Palace, with a Mind Suited to his Station; but if they will be Launching out into Trade, or Bus'ness that they do not understand, they have nothing left them to trust to when they are once Bewilder'd, but the Hope of some Kind Providence to put them in the Right Way Home again.

REFLEXION.

AFFLICTION makes People Honest and Wise. Every Man Living has his Weak Side, and no Mortal was ever yet so much at Ease, but his Shoe Wrung him some where or Other; or he Fancy'd so at least, and Then it did so. The Shepherd would needs be a Merchant; and the Merchant, if he had succeeded would still have been Hankering after something else. His Levity was a Fault, and his Miscarriage was a Judgment upon him for't. The saving of his Person after the Loss of his Goods was a Providential Mercy to him; and the bringing of Him home to Himself again, was to Convince him of his Error, and to shew him, that he was well at First, if he could have kept so. He was in a State of Ease, Peace, Innocence. and Safety: And he that will Sacrifice all Those Blessings to a Restless Appetite, deserves to be Miserable. Our Shepherd's Case, in short here, is every Man's Case that Quits a Moral Certainty for an Uncertainty, and Leaps from the Honest Bus'ness he was brought up to, into a Trade he has no Skill in.

 


 

FAB. C. An Old Man and a Lyon.

A Person of Quality dream't one Night that he saw a Lyon Kill his only Son: Who was, it seems, a Generous Cavalier, and a Great Lover of the Chace. This Phansy ran in the Father's Head, to that Degree, that he Built his Son a House of Pleasure, on purpose to keep him out of Harms Way; and spar'd neither Art nor Cost to make it a Delicious Retreate. This [Page 95] House, in short, was to be the Young Man's Prison, and the Father made himself his Keeper. There were a World of Paintings Every where up and down, and among the Rest, there was the Picture of a Lyon; which stirred the Bloud of the Young Man, for the Dream sake, and to think that he should now be a Slave for the Phansy of such a Beast. In this Indignation he made a Blow at the Picture; but Striking his Fist upon the Point of a Nayle in the Wall, His Hand Cancerated; he fell into a Fever, and soon after Dy'd on't: So that all the Father's Precaution could not Secure the Son from the Fatality of Dying by a Lyon.

The MORAL.

A Body may as well lay too Little as too much Stress upon a Dreame; for some Dreames are Monitory, as Others are only Complexional; but upon the Main, the Less we Heed them the Better; for when that Freake has once taken Possession of a Fantastical Head, the Distemper is Incurable.

REFLEXION.

'TIS to no Purpose to think of Preventing, or Diverting Fatalities: Especially where the Event looks like the Punishment of a Superstition: as it fares with Those that Govern their Lives by Forebodings and Dreames: or the Signs of Ill Luck, as we use to say: They are still Anxious and Uneasie, History is full of Examples to Illustrate the Doctrine of This Fable. The Father was to blame for laying so much Stress upon a Foolish Dream, and the Son was Little less to Blame, for being so much Transported at the Impression of That Fancy upon the Father: But they were Both Justly Punished however, The One for his Passion, and the Other for his Superstition.

 


 

FAB. CI. A Fox that lost his Tayle.

THere was a Fox taken in a Trap, that was glad to Compound for his Neck by leaving his Tayle behind him. It was so Uncouth a Sight, for a Fox to appear without a Tayle, that the very Thought on't made him e'en Weary of his Life; for 'twas a Loss never to be Repair'd: But however for the Better Countenance of the Scandal, he got the Master and Wardens of the Foxes Company to call a Court of Assistants, where he himself appear'd, and made a Learned Discourse upon the Trouble, the Uselessness, and the Indecency of Foxes Wearing Tayles. He had no sooner say'd out his Say, but up rises a Cunning Snap, then at the [Page 96] Bord, who desir'd to be Enform'd, whether the Worthy Member that Mov'd against the Wearing of Tayles, gave his Advice for the Advantage of Those that Had Tayles, or to Palliate the Deformity and Disgrace of Those that had None.

The MORAL.

When a Man has any Notable Defect, or Infirmity about him, whether by Nature, or by Chance, 'tis the Best of his Play, to try the humour, if he can turn it into a Fashion.

REFLEXION.

'TIS the way of the World to give Other People Councell for their Own Ends. Paradoxing is of Great Use and Service in many Encounters and Accidents that we meet withal in the World; but the Faculty must be so Tenderly Manag'd, as not to Grate upon the Truth, and Reason of Things: And it is of Great Effect, if it can but give some Colour of Probability to the Matter in Question. Nay ther's a Pleasure in the very Tryal of Wits; but when This Talent is Employ'd upon the Topique of Convenience, and Profit; It is a wonderful Force that it has upon the Affections of the Common People. The Fox carry'd it as far as 'twould go; but he had too Hard a Task on't, to Over-rule a Multitude to their Own Pain and Loss.

We may Emprove a Doctrine from This, that Every Man has his Weak Side, either by Mischance, or by Nature; and that he makes it his Bus'ness to Cover it too, the Best he can. In case of the Worst, it is some sort of Ease to have Company in our Misfortunes. It puts a Body out of Countenance to be in a Fashion by Himself, and therefore the Fox did well to Try if he could bring his Fellow Foxes to put themselves into His Mode. When we have Carry'd a Point as far as it will go, and can make no more on't, 'tis a Stroke of Art and Philosophy, to look as if we did not so much as Wish for a Thing that is not to be Had. Every Man's Present Condition has somewhat to be Sayd for't: If it be Uneasy, the Skill will be, either how to Mend it, or how to Beare it: But then there must be no Clashing with the Methods, the Decrees, and the Laws of Nature. A Man that has Forfeited his Honour and his Conscience, seems to be much in the Condition of the Fox here that had lost his Tayle, and takes as much pains too, to persuade All his Companions to follow his Fashion. He lays down his Arguments, and gives his REASONS, Nay, and he endeavours to Prove it by Scripture too, that Men, in such a Case, ought to go to Old Nick for Company. We are to Consider here, that the Devils have their Traps as well as the Woodmen, and that it is the Case of many a Lawyer and Divine, when they come once to be Hamper'd, to rubb off as well as they can, though they Leave their Consciences behind them, as the Fox did his Tayle, and then Preach up the Blessed Doctrine and Convenience of No Consciences, as well as No Tayles.

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FAB. CII. A Fox and a Bramble.

A Fox that was close Pursu'd, took a Hedge, The Bushes gave way, and in Catching hold of a Bramble to break his Fall, the Prickles ran into his Feet. Upon This, he layd himself down, and fell to Licking his Paws, with Bitter Exclamations against the Bramble. Good Words, Reynard, says the Bramble, One would have thought you had known Better Things, then to Expect a Kindness from a Common Enemy, and to lay hold on That for Relief, that Catches at Every Thing else for Mischiefe.

The MORAL.

There are some Malicious Natures that Place all their Delight in doing Ill Turns, and That Man is hard put to't, that is first brought into a Distress, and then forc'd to Fly to such People for Relief.

REFLEXION.

'TIS Great Folly to Fly for Protection to People that Naturally Delight in Mischief. The Fox Blames the Bramble here, but he may Thank Himself. They that make themselves the Common Enemies of Mankind, by Breaking All the Measures of Good Faith, Truth, and Peace, and by lying in Wayte for Innocent Bloud, let them Turn their Heads which way they will, they shall be sure of an Enemy in the Face of them: Nay they meet with their Punishment, where they look for Safety, and which way soever they go, Divine Justice either Meets them, or Pursues them. The Foxes Charging his Misfortune here upon the Bramble, is the very Case and Practice of Wicked Men, that Snarle at the Instruments, without so much as Thinking of the Providence. But the Bramble did only according to its Nature, and Consequently was not to Blame.

 


 

FAB. CIII. A Fox and a Crocodile.

THere happen'd a Contest betwixt a Fox and a Crocodile, upon the Point of Bloud and Extraction. The Crocodile Amplify'd Wonderfully upon his Family, for the Credit of his Ancestors. Friend (says the Fox, smiling upon't) there will need no Herald to Prove your Gentility; for you carry the Marks of Your Original in Your very Skin.

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The MORAL.

Great Boasters and Lyars have the Fortune still some way or other to Disprove themselves.

REFLEXION.

THERE are some Falsities so Bold and Notorious, that they carry their Contradictions in the very Reason and Presumption of the Matter, without any other Evidence.

 


 

FAB. CIV. A Fox and Huntsmen.

A Fox that had been Hard-run, begg'd of a Countryman that he saw at Work in a Wood, to help him to some Hiding-Place. The Man Directed him to his Cottage, and thither he went. He was no sooner got in, but the Huntsmen were presently at the Heels of him, and asked the Cottager if he did not see a Fox That Way? No truly, says he, I saw None; but Pointed at the same time with his Finger to the Place where he lay. The Huntsmen did not take the Hint, it seems; but the Fox spy'd him, it seems, through a Peeping Hole he had found out to see what News: so the Fox-Hunters went their Way, and then Out steals the Fox, without One Word speaking. Why how now, says the Man, Han't ye the Manners to take leave of your Host before you go? Yes, yes, says the Fox; If you had been as Honest of your Fingers, as you were of your Tongue, I should not have gone without bidding ye Farewell.

The MORAL.

A Man may tell a Lye by Signs, as well as in Words at length, and his Conscience is as Answerable for his Fingers, as for his Tongue.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S No Trusting of Those that Say One Thing, and Do Another, Especially if they follow Fair Words with Foul Deeds. Here's a Case of Honour, and of Conscience, Both in One, upon the Matter of Hospitality, and of Trust. The Laws of Hospitality are Sacred on the One Side, and so are the Duties we Owe to our Country on the Other. If we Consider the Trust, Faith must not be Broken; If the Common Enemy, his Councel is not to be kept. The Wood-Man did as good as Tacitly promise the Fox a Sanctuary; but not being Sui Iuris, he promis'd more then he could Warrantably [Page 99] Perform; for a Subsequent Promise to Conceale the Fox could not Discharge him of a Prior Obligation to Destroy him. 'Tis true, it would have been more Generous to have don't at first, and while he had as yet No Colour of any Tye of Honour upon him to Preserve him. The Fox begg'd for Protection, which he had No Reason to Expect. First it was upon Force, and Necessity, not Choice. Secondly, It was at his own Peril, without any Conditions for his own Security. Thirdly, He Committed himself to the Mercy of a Man that was bound to Kill him. Fourthly, The very Address was scandalous; for he must needs have an Ill Opinion of the Countryman, so much as to Imagine that He could be Wrought upon to Betray his Country for the sake of a Beast. But let the Rest be as it will, there's no Excuse for the Woodman's Double Dealing.

 


 

FAB. CV. A Man and a Wooden God.

A Man that had a Great Veneration for an Image he had in his House, found, that the more he Pray'd to't to Prosper him in the World, the More he went down the Wind still. This put him into such a Rage, to lye Dogging at his Prayers so much, and so Long, to so Little Purpose, that at last he Dasht the Head on't to pieces against the Wall; and Out comes a Considerable Quantity of Gold. Why This 'tis, says he, to Adore a Perverse and Insensible Deity, that will do More for Blowes than for Worship.

The MORAL.

Most People, Clergy as well as Laity, Accommodate their Religion to their Profit, and reckon that to be the best Church that there's most to be got by.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable runs better in the Humour, then it does in the Moral. It lays before us the Unprofitable Vanity of a False Worship, and gives us to Understand, that the more zealous we are in a Wrong Way, the Worse. An Idol is an Abomination in the sight both of God, and of Good Men; and yet we are so to Govern our Selves, even in the Transports of That Abhorrence, as still to Preserve a Reverence for Religion it self, in the very Indignation we Express for the Corruptions of it. So that the License of this Buffoon went a little too far perhaps, for there must be No Playing with Things Sacred, nor Jesting, as we say, with Edge Tools. We have the Moral of this Abandon'd Libertine up and down the World in a Thousand Several Shapes. All People that Worship for Fear, Profit, or some other By End, fall More or Less within the Intendment of this Emblem. It is a kind of a Conditional Devotion for Men to be Religious no longer then they can Save, or Get by't. Put forth thy Hand now (says the Devil to the Almighty in the Case [Page 100] of Iob) and Touch All that he hath, and he will Curse thee to thy Face. This Good Man Lost All, and, for an Example of Patience and Resignation to Future Ages. The Lord gave (says he) and the Lord hath Taken away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord. Here was No Dashing of the Two Tables one against the Other, for an Office, or an Egg at Easter, as the Fellow serv'd his Idol here. The Whole Summe of the Moral is in short, Comprized in the Old Saying: He that serves God for Mony, will serve the Devil for Better Wages.

FAB? CVI. A Dog Invited to Supper.

A Gentleman Invited a Friend to Supper with him, and the Gentleman's Dog was so well Bred as to Invite the Friends Dog to come for Company. The Dog came at his Hour, and into the Kitchin he went, to see what Good Cheer was toward: But as he was there, Wagging his Tayle, and Licking his Lips, at the thought of what a Meale he was like to make on't, the Roguy Cook got Slyly behind him, and Spoil'd the Jest. He took him up by the Tayle at Unawares, and after a Turn or Two in the Air, flung him out of the Window. So soon as ever the Poor Devil had Recover'd the Squelch, away he Scampers, Bawling like Mad, with I know not how many Prick-Ear'd Currs at the Heels of him, to know how he lik'd his Wellcome. Why truly, says he, they have given me as much Drink, as my Skin will hold; and it has made me so Light-Headed, I could not find the Right Way out of the House again.

The MORAL.

Love Me, Love my Dog, says the old Proverb, and there's somewhat of Good Manners, as well as of Good Nature in't; for there are certain Decencies of Respect due to the Servant for the Master's sake.

REFLEXION.

IT looks well among Friends, when Masters and Servants are all of a piece. The Dog invites his Guest, and the Cook throws him out of the Window, and in so doing, the Man shew'd himself the Arranter Curr of the Two; for it was against Hospitality and Good Manners so to do. There is a Duty of Tenderness and Good Nature, even toward Those Animals: But when it came to the Worst at last, the Dog had the Wit, we see, to make the Best of a Bad Game. Though 'twas an unmannerly, and an Ill-Natur'd Frolick of the Cook all this while; for the Ill Usage of a Servant is some sort of Affront to his Master.

[Page 101]

 


 

FAB. CVII. An Eagle and a Man.

A Man took an Eagle, Pelted her Wings, and put her among his Hens. Somebody came and bought This Eagle, and presently New Feather'd her. She made a Flight at a Hare, Truss'd it, and brought it to her Benefactor. A Fox perceiving This, came and gave the Man a piece of Good Councell. Have a care, says Reynard, of putting too much Confidence in This Eagle; for she'll go neare, one time or other else, to take You for a Hare. Upon This Advice the Man Plum'd the Eagle once again.

The MORAL.

Persons and Humours may be Iumbled and Disguis'd, but Nature is like Quicksilver, that will never be Kill'd.

REFLEXION.

BIRDS of Prey will be Birds of Prey still, at what rate soever you Treate 'em. So that there's no Trusting of them: For when they have no longer a Power to do Mischief, the Will yet Remains. Here's a Forc'd Moral for a Forc'd Fable: For the Fancy of it is against Nature, and the Fiction does not consist with it self. Now to My Thinking This Application of it lyes the Fairer of the Two, i, e. That the Gratitude of the Eagle, in bringing the Hare to her Master, may serve to shew us, that the Wildest and Fiercest of Creatures may be Sweetn'd, and Reclaim'd by Benefits.

 


 

FAB. CVIII. A Father and Sons.

A Countryman that liv'd Handsomly in the World Himself upon his Honest Labour and Industry, was desirous his Sons should do so After Tim; and being now upon his Death-Bed: [My Dear Children (says he) I reckon my self Bound to tell you before I depart, that there is a Considerable Treasure Hid in my Vineyard. Wherefore pray be sure to Dig, and search Narrowly for't when I am gone. The Father Dyes, and the Sons fall immediately to Work upon the Vineyard. They Turn'd it up over [Page 102] and over, and not one Penny of Mony to be found there; but the Profit of the Next Vintage Expounded the Riddle.

The MORAL.

Good Councell is the Best Legacy a Father can leave to a Child, and it is still the Better, when it is so wrapt up, as to Beget a Curiosity as well as an Inclination to follow it.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S No Wealth like That which comes by the Blessing of God upon Honest Labour and Warrantable Industry. Here's an Incitement to an Industrious Course of Life, by a Consideration of the Profit, the Innocence and the Virtue, of such an Application. There is one Great Comfort in Hand, beside the Hope and Assurance of more to come. The very Exercise procures us Health, and Consequently All the Pleasures and Satisfactions that Attend it. We have the Delight of Seeing and Reaping the Fruit of our own Labour, and the Inward Joy of Contemplating the Benedictions of Another World, that shall be superadded to the Advantages of This. Aesop very well understood, that Naked Lessons and Precepts, have Nothing the Force that Images and Parables have, upon our Minds and Affections: Beside, that the very Study to Unriddle a Mystery, furnishes the Memory with more Tokens to Remember it by. A Tale in Emblem sinks Deeper, where the Life and Spirit of it is Insinuated by a kind of Biass and Surprize. It was a Touch of Art in the Father to Cover his Meaning in such a manner, as to Create a Curiosity, and an Earnest Desire in his Sons to find it out. And it was also a Treble Advantage to them besides; for there was, I say, Health in the Exercise, Profit in the Discovery, and the Comfort of a Good Conscience in Discharging the Duty of a Filial Obedience.

 


 

FAB. CIX. A Fisherman and his Pipe.

A Fisherman that understood Piping better than Netting, set himself down upon the Side of a River, and Touch'd his Flute, but not a Fish came near him. Upon This, he layd down his Pipe and Cast his Net, which brought him up a very Great Draught. The Fish fell a Frisking in the Net, and the Fisherman observing it. What Sotts, are These (says he) that would not Dance when I Play'd to 'em, and will be Dancing now without Musique!

The MORAL.

There are Certain Rules and Methods for the Doing of All Things in This World; and therefore let Every Man stick to the Bus'ness he Understands, and was brought up to, without making One Profession Interfere with Another.

[Page 103]

REFLEXION.

THERE is a Proper Time and Season for Every Thing; and Nothing can be more Ridiculous than the Doing of Things without a Due Regard to the Circumstances of Persons, Proportion, Time and Place.

 


 

FAB. CX. A Fisherman's Good Luck.

A Fisherman had been a Long while at work without Catching any thing, and so in Great Trouble and Despair, he resolv'd to take up his Tackle, and be gone: But in That very Instant a Great Fish Leapt into the Boat, and by this Providence he made a Tolerable Day on't.

The MORAL.

Patience, Constancy, and Perseverance, in an Honest Cause and Duty, can never faile of a Happy End, One way or Other.

REFLEXION.

THAT which We commonly call Good Fortune, is properly, Providence, and when Matters succeed Better with us by Accident, then we could pretend to, by Skill; We ought to Ascribe it to the Divine Goodness, as a Blessing upon Industry. It is Every man's Duty to Labour in his Calling, and not to Despond, for any Miscarriages or Disappointments, that were not in his own Power to Prevent. Faith, Hope, and Patience Overcome All things, and Virtue can never faile of a Reward in the Conclusion. What was it but This Constancy and Resignation, that Kept the Hearts of the Poor Cavaliers from Breaking, in the Tedious Interval of that Bloudy Revolution from Forty to Sixty; 'till at last, the Banish'd, and the Persecuted Son of a Royal Martyr, was in Gods Good time brought back again, and Plac'd upon the Throne of his Ancestors, which Crown'd the Sufferings of All his Loyal Subjects. The Fisherman's Waiting in his Calling, bids us Persevere in our Duties, and the Lucky Hit he had in the Conclusion, tells us that Honest Endeavors will not faile of a Reward.

 


 

FAB. CXI. Large Promises.

THere was a Poor Sick Man, that according to the Course of the World, when Physicians had given him over, betook himself to his Prayers, and Vow'd a Sacrifice of a Thousand [Page 104] Oxen ready down upon the Nail, to either Apollo, or Aesculapius, which of the Two would Deliver him from This Disease. Ah my Dear, (says his Wife) Have a care what You Promise? for where would you have These Oxen if you should Recover. Sweet Heart (says he) thou talkst like a Fool. Have the Gods Nothing else to do, dost think, then to leave their Bus'ness, and come down to Sue me in an Action of Debt? They Restor'd him however for That Bout, to make Tryal of his Honesty and Good Faith. He was no sooner up, but for want of Living Oxen, he made out his Number upon Past, and Offer'd them up in Form upon an Altar. For this Mockery, Divine Vengeance Pursu'd him, and he had an Apparition came to him in a Dream, that bad him go and Search in such a Place near the Coast, and he should find a Considerable Treasure; Away he went, and as he was looking for the Mony fell into the Hands of Pyrates. He begg'd hard for his Liberty, and Offer'd a Thousand Talents of Gold for his Ransome; but they would not Trust him, and so he was carried away, and sold afterwards as a Slave for as many Groats.

The MORAL.

The Dev'll was Sick, the Dev'll a Monk would be;
The Dev'll was Well, the Dev'll a Monk was He.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable applies it self to Those that Promise more in their Adversity then they either Intend, or are Able to make good in their Prosperity; but they must not think to bring themselves off at last with a Conceit; for in the Sight of God, an Equivocating Juggling Sham, is as much as a Gross, Downright Lye.

'Tis the Practice of the World for People in Distress to serve God and Man, in Several Respects, both Alike; That is to say, when they lye under any Heavy Affliction, or Propose to themselves any Considerable Advantage, and find they have Need of Anothers Help; how do they Beg, Vow, Promise, Sollicite, Swear, Sign and Seal and yet Conscious to Themselves all this while, that they neither Intend nor are able to make One Article Good? Wickedness comes on by Degrees, as well as Virtue; and Sudden Leaps from One Extreme to Another, are Unnatural Motions in the Course of our Lives and Humours. Here's first a Rash, and a Knavish Promise; for the Promiser knew he was not able to make it Good. When he has broken the Ice, he Advances, from Cozening of God, to making Sport with him, and pays him with Past for Flesh: But Vengeance Overtook him in the Conclusion, and gave him to Understand, that God will not be Mocked. The Moral of This Sick Man is the Case of Every Soul of us in the Making, and the Breaking of our Vows.

[Page 105]

 


 

FAB. CXII. Fishermen Disappointed.

SOme Fishermen that had been Out a Whole Day with a Drag-Net, and Caught Nothing, had a Draught toward the Evening, that came home very Heavy, which put 'em in hope of a Sturgeon at least, but upon bringing the Net ashore, it prov'd to be Only One Great Stone, and a few Little Fishes. Upon This Disappointment they were Down in the Mouth again; but says One of the Company that was a Little Graver then the Rest, You are to Consider, my Masters, that Joy and Sorrow are Two Sisters that follow One Another by Turns.

The MORAL.

All Our Purchases in This World are but the Catching of a Tartar, as we say, but it is some Comfort yet to Consider, that when Things are at the Worst they'l Mend.

REFLEXION.

HOPES and Disappointments are the Entertainment of Humane Life: The One serves to keep us from Presumption, the Other from Despair. The Fisherman's Case in the Fable is many a man's Case in the World; as with a Wife for the Purpose, with an Office, with an Estate, with a Court-Commission: He's sayn to Tug Hard for't before he can Catch it, and Measures the Blessing all the while by the Difficulty of Obtaining it. And what's the Purchase at last when he comes to Cast up his Account but Great Stones and Little Fishes? His only Comfort is, That This World will not Last always; and that Good Luck, and Bad Luck take their Turns.

 


 

FAB. CXIII. Death and an Old Man.

AN Old Man that had Travell'd a Great Way under a Huge Burden of Sticks, found himself so Weary, that he Cast it Down, and call'd upon Death to Deliver him from a more Miserable Life. Death came presently at his Call, and Asked him his Bus'ness. Pray Good Sir, says he, Do me but the favour to Help me up with my Burden again.

[Page 106]

The MORAL.

Men call upon Death, as they Do upon the Devil: When he comes they're affraid of him.

REFLEXION.

'TIS Matter of Custom, and in Passion, rather then in Earnest, that Men in Pain and Misery are so ready to call for Death: For when he comes, they are affraid of him. It may be said to be the Motto of Humane Nature, rather to Suffer then to Dye, though 'tis Good however to be always ready for That which Must come at Last. The Doctrine is This, That Skin, and All that a man has will he give for his Life. We are apt to Pick Quarrels with the World for Every Little Foolery. Oh that I were e'en in in my Grave, cryes my Lady. My Pretty Pearl is Dead. Never did any thing go so near my Heart, I Praise the Lord for't. Pray Madam Bethink your self; says a Good Woman to her upon a Condoling Visit. Why you have Out-liv'd the Loss of a most Excellent Husband. Ay Madam, says the sorrowful Widow: But the Lord may send me such Another Husband; I shall never have such Another Dog. Every Trivial Cross makes us think we are Weary of the World; but our Tongues run quite to Another Tune when we come once to parting with it in Earnest. Then, 'tis Call the Doctor, Pothecary, Surgeon; Purge, Flux, Launce, Burn, Saw: I'le Endure Any thing in This World, if you can but keep Life and Soul together. When it comes to That once, 'tis not Help me Off with my Burden, but Help me Up with it.

 


 

FAB. CXIV. A Doctor and Patient with Sore Eyes.

A Physician Undertakes a Woman with Sore Eyes, upon the the Terms of No Cure No Mony. His Way was to Dawb 'em quite up with Oyntments, and while she was in That Pickle, to carry of a Spoon or a Porringer, or somewhat or Other at the End of his Visit. The Womans Eyes Mended, and still as she came More and More to her self again, there was Every Day less and less left in the House to be seen. The Doctor came to her at last, and told her; Mistress, says he, I have Discharg'd my Part, Your Eyes are Perfectly Well again, and pray let me be Payd now according to Our Agreement. Alas, Sir says she, I'm a Great deal Worse then I was the First Minute you Undertook me; for I could see Plate, Hangings, Paintings, and Other Goods of Value about my House, 'till You had the Ordering of me; but I am now brought to such a Pass, that I can see nothing at all.

[Page 107]

The MORAL.

There are Few Good Offices done for Other People, which the Benefactor does not hope to be the Better for Himself.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fancy is Half Knavery, Half Humour, and the Doctors Part in't is no more then according to the Common Practice of the World, in Law, as well as in Physick, when People make the Remedy Worse then the Disease; as when a Man spends the Fee Simple of an Estate in a Contest for the Title. The Barber that Pick'd a Gentlemans Pocket while he was Washing of his Face, Wrote after This Copy. The Moral holds forth This Matter of Advice to us, not to Contract any Obligations Rashly; for Good Offices in course are rather Baits, and Snares, then Benefits; and there are some Certain People, that a Sober Man would not Venture the being Beholden to. The Poor Woman here, had her Jest for her Houshold-Stuff; and the Vain Satisfaction of Paying her Physician with a Conceit for his Mony. It Minds me of the Orator that was to Teach a Young Man Rhetorick, on Condition of Double Pay upon the Perfecting of him in his Profession, and not a Penny before; The Master follow'd his Scholar Close, and came to him at last for his Mony, according to the Bargain: The Young Fellow begg'd him over and over to Forbear it a while, but could not Prevail. He told him Then, that there was nothing Due to him; for if Rhetorick be (as you say) the Art or Power of Persuasion; and if I cannot prevail with you to forbear Your Mony, I am not Master of my Trade yet. This was the Woman's Way of Reasoning with the Physician. The Dr. would have his Mony for the Curing of her Eyes, and the Woman shuffl'd it off that she was not Cur'd, for she could see Nothing at all, which was One Fallacy upon Another.

 


 

FAB. CXV. A Cat and Mice.

THere was a House Mightily troubled with Mice, and a Notable Cat there was, that Time after Time had Pick'd up so Many of 'em, that they agreed among themselves to keep above in the Cieling; for they found that upon the Plain Floor there was No Living for 'em. This Spoil'd Pusses Sport, unless she could find a way to Trepan them Down again. So she Leapt up to a Pin that was driven into the Wall, and there Hung like a Polcat in a Warren, to Amuse them. The Mice took Notice of it, and One Wiser then the rest Stretched out his Neck to learn the Truth of the Matter, and so soon as ever he found how 'twas. [Page 108] Ah, says he, You may Hang there 'till Your Heart Akes; for if you were but a Dish-Clout, as you are a Counterfeiting-Devil of a Cat, here's not a Creature will come Near ye.

The MORAL.

Let no man lay himself at the Mercy of a known Enemy, under any Shew, or Pretence Whatsoever; for he forfeits his Discretion, even though he should happen to Save his Carcass, and his Fortune.

REFLEXION.

WHAT we cannot Compass by Force, must be Attempted by Invention, and Address, but then on the Other hand, in All Cases of Hazzard, Things would be well Weigh'd and Examin'd before we Trust. This Fable is the Fiction of a Case not Altogether Incredible. 'Tis a Common Thing for an Old Jade to Counterfeit Lame, for fear of Hard Riding: for a Duck to run Flapping and Fluttering away, as if she were Maim'd, to carry People from her Young: as there's a Story of a Fox that was Hard Hunted, and Hung himself up by the Teeth in a Warren among the Vermin to put the Dogs to a Loss. Without any more Words, Twenty Instances might be given to shew how near That which we call Impulse, or Instinct, comes to Reason: For the Cats Policy was no Other in truth, then That we call Sleeping Dog-Sleep: And there was the very same Fore-thought, and Design in't too, which in a Construction of Law and Equity passes for Malice Prepense.

 


 

FAB. CXVI. An Ape and a Fox.

UPon the Decease of a Lyon of Late Famous Memory, the Beasts Met in Councel to Chuse a King. There were Several Put up; but One was not of a Make for a King, Another Wanted either Brains, or Strength, or Stature, or Humour, or something else; but in fine, the Buffoon-Ape with his Grimaces and Gamboles, carry'd it from the Whole Field by I know not how many Voices. The Fox (being one of the Pretenders) Stomach'd it Extremely to see the Choice go against him, and presently Rounds the New-Elect in the Ear, with a piece of Secret Service that he could do him. Sir, says he, I have Discover'd some Hidden Treasure Yonder: But 'tis a Royalty that belongs to Your Majesty, and I have nothing to do with it. So he Carry'd the Ape to take Possession: And what should This Treasure be, but a Bayte in a Ditch. The Ape lays his Hand upon't, and the Trap [Page 109] springs and Catches him by the Fingers. Ah thou Perfidious Wretch, cryes the Ape! Or thou simple Prince, rather, replyes the Fox. You a Governour of Others, with a Vengeance, that han't Wit enough to look to your own Fingers.

The MORAL.

Governors should be Men of Business rather then Pleasure. There's One Great Folly in Making an Ill Choice of a Ruler, and Another in the Acceptance of it; for it Exposes Authority to Scorn.

REFLEXION.

RASHNESS, and Want of Consideration, is ever Unfortunate. Men should not take a Charge upon them that they are not Fit for; as if Singing, Dancing, and Shewing of Tricks, were Qualifications for a Governor. Baudoin says, that This Fable, shews not only the Envy and Malignity of the Fox; but the Imprudence of the Electors in the Choice of Ministers and Officers, that are not made for Bus'ness. Here's first an Ape made a King, for shewing Tricks, and making Fools Faces; And the Fox is then to put a Slurr upon him, in Exposing him for Sport, to the Scorn of the People.

Here's an Ape chosen King, in Succession to a Lyon; which stands for a Short, and a Plain Representation of the Best and the Worst of Governments under the Dignity of the One, and the Indignity of the Other. It sets forth the Case and Unhappiness of Elective Kingdoms, where Canvassing and Faction has commonly too great a hand in the Election. Nor is there any Wonder, to see Drolls and Tumblers Advanc'd to Charges of Honor and Profit, where Ignorance and Popularity sways the Choice: And nothing so fit as an Ape, for a Commission of State, where a Gambole, or a Grimace passes for a Qualifying Title to the Exercise of Power.

It is no Wonder again, where People are so Mistaken in the Faculties and Capacities of Government, that they depart also from the Veneration that's due to't; and when the Main Ends of it shall come to be Disappointed. For every Iack-Pudding, with Aesop's Fox here, will be Ridiculing Palpable Weaknesses, and Exposing those (almost Sacred) Imperfections, and Defects which they ought to Cover. What's a Character of Honor upon the Shoulders of a Man that has neither a Soul Answerable to't, nor a True Sense of the Dignity, but a Mark set up for every Common Fool to shoot his Bolt at! When Apes are in Power, there will never want Foxes to Play upon them.

[Page 110]

 


 

FAB. CXVII. A Smith and his Dog.

A Blacksmith took Notice of a Cur he had, that would be perpetually Sleeping, so long as his Master was at his Hammer; but whenever he went to Dinner, the Dog would be sure to make One. So he Ask'd the Dog the Reason on't. What's the Meaning of it, says he, that so long as I'm at the Forge, you are still taking your Nap; but so soon as my Chops begin to Walk, yours must be Walking too for Company? There's a time to Sleep (says the Dog) and a Time to Wake; and Every thing is Well done that is done in Due Season.

The MORAL.

All Creatures do Naturally look to the Main Chance; that is to say, the Bus'ness of Food and Propagation.

REFLEXION.

THAT which Men do by Reason, Beasts do by Instinct. There's No Living without Food and Rest; and Nature appoints the Season, both for the One, and for the Other. A Dog Wakes to his Dinner, as a Man that's to Travel next day, does for his Journy, and his Bus'ness. He lyes down to Sleep with the Hour in's Head, and when the Time comes, he needs neither Clock nor Cock to call him. Custom puts Nature into a Method of Expecting, and Attending all the Offices of Life at such and such Certain Hours and Seasons, as we are us'd to: And there needed no more than This, to make the Master's Dining Time, the Dog's Waking Time.

 


 

FAB. CXVIII. A Boasting Mule.

THere was a Favourite-Mule, that was High Fed, and in the Pride of Flesh and Mettle, would still be Bragging of his Family, and his Ancestors. My Father (says he) was a Coarser, and though I say it that should not say't, I my self take after him. He had no sooner spoke the Words, but he was put to the Tryal of his Heels, and did not only shew himself a Jade; but in the very Heat of his Ostentation, his Father fell a Braying, which Minded him of his Original, and the Whole Field made Sport on't, when they found him to be the Son of an Asse.

[Page 111]

The MORAL.

A Bragging Fool that's Rais'd out of a Dunghill, and sets up for a Man of Quality, is Asham'd of Nothing in This World but of his Own Father.

REFLEXION.

THis touches the Case of Those Mean Upstarts, that when they come once to be Preferr'd, forget their Fathers, and have not the Wit to Consider, how soon Fortune may set them Down again where she took 'em up; but yet at last, when they come to be minded of their Original, it makes many a Proud Fool sensible of a Scandalous Extraction, that has no Shame at all for a Scandalous Life.

'Tis hardly safe to Descant upon a Boasting Mule, in a Fable, when there are so many of his Brethren in the World, that will Take it to Themselves. Nay and Over and Above the Self-Conceited Vanity of These Brutes, there are None so forward neither, to Bespatter Men of Blood and Quality, as those that have most Reason to be Asham'd of their Descent. This Pride of Pedigree is Easily run down, if there be not Power Joyn'd to the Ostentation: But where there is Authority given to the Folly, as well as to the Fool; the Indignation that it raises makes the Insolence Insupportable. Nothing Dash'd the Confidence of the Mule like the Braying of the Asse in the very Interim, while he was Dilating upon his Genealogy. As who should say, Remember your Father, Sirrah. This comes to the Case of a Spaniard, that was Wonderfully upon the Huff about his Extraction, and would needs Prove himself of such a Family by the Spelling of his Name; a Cavalier in the Company, with whom he had the Controversie, very Civilly Yielded him the Point; for (says he) I have Examin'd the Records of a certain House of Correction, and I find your Grandfather was Whipt there by That Name. We have in fine a World of Boasting Mules among us, that don't care for being Minded of their Braying Fathers: But 'tis the Fate of These Vain-Glorious Fops to be Thus Met withall, and your Counterfeit Men of Honor seldom come off Better; Wherefore let every Man look well about him before he Boasts of his Pedigree, to see if he had not an Asse to his Father.

 


 

FAB. CXIX. A Dog and a Wolfe.

A Wolfe took a Dog napping at his Masters Door, and when he was just about to Worry him, the Poor Creature begg'd hard, only for a Reprieve. Alas (says he) I'm as Lean at present as Carryon; but we have a Wedding at our House within these Two or Three Days, that will Plump me up you shall see with Good Cheare. Pray have but Patience 'till [Page 112] Then, and when I'm in a Little Better Case, Ill throw my self in the very Mouth of ye. The Wolfe took his Word, and so let him go; but passing some Few Days after by the same House again, he spy'd the Dog in the Hall, and bad him Remember his Promise. Heark ye, my Friend, says the Dog; Whenever you Catch me Asleep again, on the Wrong side of the Door, never Trouble your Head to Wait for a Wedding.

The MORAL.

Experience Works upon Many Brutes more then upon Some Men. They are not to be Gull'd twice with the same Trick; And at the Worst, a Bad Shift is Better than None.

REFLEXION.

'Tis good to Provide against All Chances both Sleeping and Waking; for a Man cannot be too Circumspect, upon Condition on the other hand, that his Caution do not make him Over-sollicitous. Past Dangers make us Wiser for the Future; As the Dog, after he had been snapt at the Door, had the Wit to lye in the Hall; which tells us that a Wise Body is not to be Caught Twice by the same Snare and Trick. His Promise to the Wolf was a kind of a Dog-Case of Conscience, and the Wolfe play'd the Fool in Taking his Word, for That which he was oblig'd not to Perform.

 


 

FAB. CXX. A Lyon and a Bull.

IN the Days of Yore, when Bulls liv'd upon Mutton, there was a Lyon had a Design upon a Mighty Bull, and gave him a very Civil Invitation to come and Sup with him; for, says he, I have gotten a Sheep, and you must needs take Part on't. The Bull Promis'd, and Went; but so soon as ever he saw what a Clutter there was with Huge, Over-grown Pots, Pans, and Spits, away he scowr'd Immediately. The Lyon presently call'd after him, and Ask'd him, Whither in such Hast? Oh, says the Bull, 'tis High Time for me to be Jogging, when I see such Preparation: for This Provision looks as if you were to have a Bull for your Supper, rather then a Mutton.

The MORAL.

When a Man has both an Interest and an Inclination to Betray us, there's No Trusting him.

[Page 113]

REFLEXION.

THERE's No Trusting to the Fair Words and Countenances of Bloudy Men: He's sure to be Ruin'd that lays himself at the Mercy of Those that Live upon the Spoyle. Their very Complements are Snares; as the Lyons Invitation of the Bull to Sup with him, was but the Cover of a Design he had to Supp upon the Bull himself.

 


 

FAB. CXXI. A Lyon in Love.

A Lyon fell in Love with a Country Lass, and desir'd her Father's Consent to have her in Marriage. The Answer he gave was Churlish enough. He'd never Agree to't he say'd, upon any Terms, to Marry his Daughter to a Beast. The Lyon gave him a Sowr Look upon't, which brought the Bumkin, upon Second Thoughts, to strike up a Bargain with him, upon these Conditions; that his Teeth should be Drawn, and his Nailes Par'd; for Those were Things, he say'd, that the Foolish Girle was Terribly afraid of. The Lyon sends for a Surgeon immediately to do the Work; (as what will not Love make a Body do?) And so soon as ever the Operation was Over, he goes and Challenges the Father upon his Promise. The Countryman seeing the Lyon Disarm'd, Pluck'd up a Good Heart, and with a Swindging Cudgel so Order'd the Matter, that he broke off the Match.

The MORAL.

An Extravagant Love Consults neither Life, Fortune, nor Reputation, but Sacrifices All that can be Dear to a Man of Sense and Honor, to the Transports of an Inconsiderate Passion.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable will look well enough in the Moral, how Fantastical soever it may appear at first Blush in the Lines and Traces of it. Here's a Beast in Love with a Virgin; which is but a Reverse of the Preposterous Passions we meet with Frequently in the World, when Reasonable Creatures of Both Sexes fall in love with Those, that in the Allusion may (allmost without a Figure) pass for Beasts. There's Nothing so Fierce, or so Savage, but Love will Soften it; Nothing so Generous but it will Debauche it; Nothing so sharp sighted in Other Matters, but it throws a Mist before the Eyes on't. It puts the Philosopher beside his Latin; and to summ up All in a Little, where This Passion Domineers, neither Honour, nor Virtue, [Page 114] is able to stand before it. The Lyon's Parting with his Teeth, and his Clawes, in a Complement to his New Mistress, is no more then what we see Every Day Exemplify'd in the case of making over Estates and Joyntures, with the Malice Prepense all this While, of holding their Noses to the Grindstone, and with the Girles Father here, of Jilting them at last.

 


 

FAB. CXXII. A Lyoness and a Fox.

A Numerous Issue passes in the World for a Blessing; and This Consideration made a Fox cast it in the Teeth of a Lyoness, that she brought forth but One Whelp at a time. Very Right, says the Other, but then That One is a Lyon.

The MORAL.

'Tis a Common Thing to Value things more by the Number, then by the Excellency of them.

REFLEXION.

THERE are more Fools in the World then Wise Men, and more Knaves then Honest Men; so that it is not Number, but Excellency, that Inhaunces the Value of Any thing. The most copious Writers are commonly the Arrantest Scriblers; And so in much Talking, the Tongue is apt to run before the Wit: In Many Words there is Folly, but a Word in Season is like Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver: Says the Oracle of Truth it self. And we have it from the same Authority, that our very Prayers, when they are Loud and Long, are in the Sight of Heaven no better then so much Babbling; and that they have More in them of Hypocrisy and Ostentation, then of Affection and Judgment. The Great Creator of the Universe, whose single FIAT was sufficient to have made Ten Thousand Worlds in the Twinkling of an Eye, Allowed himself Six Dayes yet for the Finishing of his Purpose: Paus'd upon Every Days Work, Consider'd of it, Review'd it, and Pronounc'd it Good; and so Proceeded. Right Reason Moves, in some Proportion, by the same Steps and Degrees with This Inimitable Example: It Deliberates, Projects, Executes, Weighes, and Approves. Nature does Nothing in a Huddle, and Human Prudence should Govern it self by the same Measures. A Plurality of Voices, 'tis true, carryes the Question in all our Debates, but rather as an Expedient for Peace, then an Eviction of the Right; for there are Millions of Errors to One Reason, and Truth; And a Point is not so Easy to be Hit: In a Word, the Old Saying is a shrewd One; that Wise Men Propose, and Fools Determine. Take the World to pieces, and there are a thousand Sots to one Philosopher: and as many Swarms of Flyes to One Eagle. Lions do not come into the World by Litters.

[Page 115]

 


 

FAB. CXXIII. Two Cocks Fighting.

TWO Cocks fought a Duell for the Mastery of a Dunghill. He that was Worsted, slunk away into a Corner, and Hid himself; T'other takes his Flight up to the Top of the House, and there with Crowing and Clapping of his Wings makes Proclamation of his Victory. An Eagle made a Stoop at him in the Middle of his Exultation, and carry'd him away. By This Accident, the Other Cock had a Good Riddance of his Rival; took Possession of the Province they Contended for, and had All his Mistresses to Himself again.

The MORAL.

A Wise, and a Generous Enemy will make a Modest Use of a Victory; for Fortune is Variable.

REFLEXION.

THIS Combat of Two Cocks for a Dunghill, may be Moraliz'd by an Application of it to the Competition of the Greatest Princes, for Empire and Dominion. For what's the World more then a Mass of Dirt on the One hand, as to the Subject of the Quarrell; and there's the same Thirst of Blood too, betwixt the Combatants, on the Other. We have again, the Various Chance of Warr Exhibited on Both Sides: For 'tis with Kings, as with These Cocks. He that's a Victor This Moment, may be a Slave the Next: And this Volubility of Human Affaires, what is it, but either the Sport, or the Judgment of Providence, in the Punishment of Arrogance and Oppression! We are given finally to Understand, that as the Levity of Fortune leaves us Nothing to Trust to, or to Presume upon, so at the same Time there's Nothing to Despair of. The Conquering Cock was Cut off in the very Song of his Triumph: and the Conquer'd, re-instated in the Possession of his former Pretenses.

[Page 116]

 


 

FAB. CXXIV. A Fawn and a Stag.

A Fawn was Reasoning the Matter with a Stag, why he should run away from the Dogs still; for, says he, you are Bigger and Stronger then They. If you have a Mind to stand, y'are better Arm'd; And then y'are Fleeter if you'll Run for't. I can't Imagine what should make you so Fearful of a Company of Pityful Currs. Nay, says the Stag, 'tis All True that you say, and 'tis no more then I say to my self Many Times, and yet whatever the Matter is, let me take up what Resolutions I please, when I hear the Hounds once, I cannot but betake my self to my Heels.

The MORAL

'Tis One thing to Know what we ought to do, and Another thing to Execute it; and to bring up our Practice to our Philosophy: He that is naturally a Coward is not to be made Valiant by Councell.

REFLEXION.

NATURAL Infirmities are well nigh Insuperable; and Men that are Cowards by Complexion, are hardly ever to be made Valiant by Discourse. But They are Conscious yet of the Scandal of that Weakness, and may make a shift perhaps to Reason themselves now and then into a kind of Temporary Resolution, which they have not the Power afterwards to go Thorough with. We find it to be much the same Case in the Government of our Affections and Appetites, that it is in These Bodyly Frailties of Temperament and Complexion. Providence has Arm'd us with Powers and Faculties, sufficient for the Confounding of All the Enemies we have to Encounter. We have Life and Death before us: That is to say, Good and Evil; And we know which is which too: Beside that it is at our Choice to Take or to Refuse. So that we understand what we ought to do; but when we come to Deliberate, we play Booty against our selves: And while our Judgments and our Consciences direct us One Way, our Corruptions Hurry us Another. This Stag, in fine, is a Thorough Emblem of the State, and Infirmity of Mankind. We are both of us Arm'd and Provided, either for the Combat, or for Flight. We see the Danger; we Ponder upon it; and now and then by Fits, take up some Faint Resolutions to Outbrave and break thorough it: But in the Conclusion, we shrink upon the Tryal; We betake our selves from our Heads to our Heels; from Reason to Flesh and Bloud; from our Strength to our Weaknesses, and suffer under One Common Fate.

[Page 117]

 


 

FAB. CXXV. Iupiter and a Bee.

A Bee made Iupiter a Present of a Pot of Hony, which was so kindly Taken, that he bad her Ask what she would, and it should be Granted her. The Bee desir'd, that where-ever she should set her Sting, it might be Mortal. Iupiter was loth to leave Mankind at the Mercy of a Little Spiteful Insect, and so bad her have a care how she Kill'd any Body; for what Person soever she Attacqu'd, if she left her Sting behind her, it should cost her her Life.

The MORAL.

Spiteful Prayers are no better than Curses in a Disguise, and the Granting of them turns commonly to the Mischief of the Petitioner.

REFLEXION:

CRUELTY and Revenge are directly contrary to the very Nature of the Divine Goodness, and the Mischief that is Design'd for Other People returns commonly upon the Head of the Author.

How many Men are there in the World, that put up as Malicious Prayers in Christian Assemblyes to the True God, as the Bee does to Iupiter here in the Fable! And Prayers too against their very Patrons and Masters; their Benefactors that Entertain, Feed, and Protect them. Will Heaven Heare These Prayers, shall we think, (or Curses rather) and not Punish them? This Bee did not Pray for a Power to Kill, without a Previous Disposition and Design, to put that Venemous Power in Execution. She had Mischief in her Heart allready, and only wanted some Destructive Faculty, answerable to her Will: And so pray'd to Iupiter, as Men do in many Cases to the Iehovah, for the Blessing of an Ability to Commit Murder.

 


 

FAB. CXXVI. Wasps in a Honey-Pot.

THere was a Whole Swarm of Wasps got into a Hony-Pot, and there they Cloy'd and Clamm'd themselves, till there was no getting Out again; which brought them to Understand in the Conclusion, that they had pay'd too Deare for their Sweet-Meats.

[Page 118]

The MORAL.

Loose Pleasures become Necessary to Us by the Frequent Use of them, and when they come once to be Habitual, there's no getting Clear again.

REFLEXION.

THESE Wasps in a Hony-Pot are so many Sensual Men that are Plung'd in their Lusts and Pleasures; and when they are once Glu'd to them, 'tis a very Hard Matter to Work themselves Out. We have an Emblem here of Those Foolish Voluptuous Men, that Sacrifice the Peace, the Honour, the Comfort, and all other Substantial Satisfactions of Life, to the Temptation of a Liquorish Palate. And so for the Liberties of Wine, Women, Feasting, and Jolly Company; The Pomp and Splendor of Courts and Parades, &c. It comes All to the same Point; for when Men are once Dipt; what with the Engagements of Sense, Custom, Facility; Nay and I might have say'd, with the very Shame of Departing from what they have given themselves up to, they go on with Aesops Flyes, 'till they are Stifled in their very Pleasures.

 


 

FAB. CXXVII. A Young Man and a Swallow.

A Prodigal Young Fellow that had sold his Cloths to his very Shirt, upon the Sight of a Swallow that came abroad before her Time, made Account that Summer was now at Hand, and away went That too. There happen'd after This, a Fit of Bitter Cold Weather, that allmost starv'd both the Bird, and the Spendthrift. Well (says the Fellow to Himself) This Sot of a Swallow has been the Ruine of us Both.

The MORAL:

Extraordinary Cases are Excepted out of the General Rules of Life: So that Irregular Accidents and Instances are not to be drawn into President.

REFLEXION.

EVERY Man Stands or Falls to his Own Reason; and it is No Excuse to say, that I was Misled by Example, or Conjecture, when I had the Means before me of Enforming my self Better. If this Prodigal had but Consulted the Almanack, or his own Experience, it would have set him Right in the Course of the Seasons, or the Old Proverb Methinks might have satisfy'd him, that One Swallow makes no Summer, Unless the Fable perchance should fall out to be the Ancienter of the Two, and the Occasion of That Proverb: But there are Certain Extravagants among People of all Sizes and Professions, and there must be no Drawing of General Rules from Particular Exceptions.

[Page 119]

 


 

FAB. CXXVIII. Mercury and a Carpenter.

A Carpenter dropt his Axe into a River, and put up a Prayer to Mercury to help him to't again. Mercury Div'd for't, and brought him up a Golden One: but That was not it the Fellow said: And so he Plung'd a Second Time, and Fetch'd up Another, of Silver. He sayd That was not it neither. He try'd once again, and then Up comes an Axe with a Wooden Handle, which the Carpenter, sayd was the very Tool that he had Lost. Well! (says Mercury) thou art so Just a Poor Wretch, that I'le give thee All Three now for thy Honesty. This Story was got into Every bodies Mouth, and the Rumour being Spread, it came into a Knaves Head to Try the Same Experiment over again. And so away goes He and Down he Sits, Sniv'ling and Whelping upon the Bank of a River, that he had Dropt his Axe into the Water there. Mercury, that was at hand it seems, heard his Lamentation, and Dipping once again for his Axe, as he had done for the Other; up he brings him a Golden Axe, and Asks the Fellow if That were it. Yes, Yes, says he, This is it. Oh thou Impudent Sot, cryes Mercury; to think of putting Tricks upon Him that sees through the very Heart of thee.

The MORAL.

The Great Searcher of our Hearts is not to be Impos'd upon, but he will take his Own Time either to Reward or Punish.

REFLEXION.

HEAVEN Hates Dissemblers, and Hypocrites, as it Loves men of Truth and Integrity. He that fancyes he can Impose upon Iupiter takes him for a Cully.

Baudoin Morallizes the Matter thus; that Mercury's called upon, and Sent, as the Patron of Artizans. The Practice of Truth and Justice can never fail of a Reward in the Conclusion, and the bringing in of a God to the Reliefe of a Poor Man, shews that it is from Heaven that the Needy are to Expect Redress.

Here are Two Men at their Prayers; The One a Downright Plain Dealer; and the Other, a Trimming, Designing Hypocrite. The Former has a Reverence in his Heart for the Power that he Invokes; He is not to be Corrupted with Gold, or Silver. He stands in Awe of his Conscience, and makes good his Profession, with his Practice: Receiving in the End, the Blessing of a Reward for his Integrity. The Other Worships with his Eyes, his Hands, and his Voyce; but All This is only to Cover the Cheat of a Rotten-Heart. He acknowledges a Divine Power, but at the [Page 120] Same Time he makes a Mock on't, and Provokes it. He stands Convinc'd that God knows All the Secrets of his Heart, and yet tells him a Lye to his Face. There is No such Masque, in fine, for the Greatest of Impietyes, as a Veil of Religion. This Praying Carpenter here would have made Mercury a Broaker to his Knavery: and we have a world of Praying Christians too, that write after his Copy.

 


 

FAB. CXXIX. A Fox and Grapes.

THere was a Time, when a Fox would have Ventur'd as far for a Bunch of Grapes, as for a Shoulder of Mutton, and it was a Fox of Those days, and of That Palate, that stood Gaping under a Vine, and licking his Lips at a most Delicious Cluster of Grapes that he had Spy'd out there; He fetch'd a Hundred and a Hundred Leaps at it, 'till at last, when he was as Weary as a Dog, and found that there was No Good to be done; Hang 'em (says He) they are as Sowr as Crabs; and so away he went, turning off the Disappointment with a Jest.

 


 

FAB. CXXX. A Wolfe and a Lyon.

AS a Wolfe and a Lyon were abroad upon Adventure together, Heark, (says the Wolfe) Don't you hear the Bleating of Sheep? My Life for Yours Sir, I'le go fetch ye a Purchase. Away he goes, and follows his Eare, till he came just under the Sheepfold: But it was so well fortify▪d, and the Dogs asleep so Near it, that back he comes Sneaking to the Lyon again, and tells him, There are Sheep Yonder (says he) 'tis true, but they are as Lean as Carrion, and we had e'en as good let 'em alone 'till they have more Flesh on their Backs.

The MORAL of the TWO FABLES above.

'Tis matter of Skill and Address, when a man cannot Honestly Compass what he would be at, to Appear Easy and Indifferent upon All Repulses and Disappointments.

[Page 121]

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Point of Good Discretion to make a Virtue of a Necessity, and to Content our selves with what we cannot get, though we have never so much a Mind to't; for 'tis a Turn of Art to seem to Despise what we cannot Compass, and to put off a Miscarriage with a Jest; Beside, that it is Better to have People think a man could Gain Such or such a Point if he Would, then that he Would, but cannot.

The Foxes Put off in This Fable, is a most Instructive Point of Philosophy toward the Government of our Lives; Provided that his Fooling may be made our Earnest; as it would be much for our Honour and Quiet so to be. No man can be Miserable if he can but keep Clear of the Snare of Hopes and Fears; and Antidote himself against the Flatteries of the One, and the Alarums of the Other: It is a High Point of Christian, as well as of Civil Prudence; for a man to say Thus to Himself beforehand, of a Thing that he has a Mind to [If I cannot get it, I shall be Better without it.] Or if he can but say after the Missing of it, [It was better Lost then found.] Now if we cannot Arrive at the Pitch of making This Indifference a Virtue indeed, we may however so Disguise it yet, (though in a case of Necessity) as to make it Look like One: Not but that it would be much better if we could Attain to the Perfection it selfe, as well as we may in Appearance Cover the Disgrace.

I knew a Fine Lady once, and she was a Woman of Sense, Quality, and a very Generous Mind. She lay under Mortifications in abundance, and yet was never Observ'd to be Peevish, or Angry, upon Any Provocation Whatsoever; and the Reason she gave for't was This: [It Will make Me Look Old,) So that it is not so much the want of Ability to master our Affections, as the want of Resolution to go thorough with the Experiment. This is a way to keep us Firm in All Tryals: or if He, that upon a True Principle, lives without any Disquiet of Thought, may be sayd to be Happy. It Emproves All our Disappointments into Providences, when we can let fall the Vain Desire of any thing without Feeling the Loss of it. It comes All to a Case now, upon the force of the Moral, whether we Quit, as the Fox did the Grapes, because he could not come at them, or as the Wolfe did the Sheep, because he durst not Venture, upon 'em. But be it either the One or the Other, there's a Virtue, and a Blessing in't, Both ways, in getting the Better of our Passions: which might certainly be done if we had but Halfe the Tenderness for our Minds and Consciences, that we have for our Carcasses, and our Fortunes.

 


 

FAB. CXXXI. A Boy and a Snake.

A Boy was Groping for Eles, and layd his hand upon a Snake, but the Snake, finding it was Pure Simplicity, and not Malice, Admonish'd him of his Mistake; Keep your self Well while you are Well, says the Snake; for if you Meddle with Me, You'll Repent your Bargain.

[Page 122]

The MORAL.

'Tis the Intention, Morally Speaking, that makes the Action Good or Bad; and even Brutes themselves will put a Difference betwixt Harms of Ill Will and Mischance.

REFLEXION.

'Tis Wisdom, as well as Justice, to Distinguish betwixt Actions of Misadventure, and of Design. Every Thing has at least Two Handles to't, and Both Parts should be well Examin'd, before a Man can make either a Warrantable Judgment, or a Prudent Choice. The Boy's Mistake here is no more then what we have Every day before our Eyes in common Practice: And That which the Snake says to the Boy, Every Man's Reason says to Himself. What is his taking a Snake for an Ele, but our taking Vice for Virtue? He did it Unwarily: And so do We Many times too. He took the One for the Other, because they were so much Alike, that at first View he could not Distinguish them. And are not Virtue and Vice as Like, in several Instances, as One Egg is to Another? How shall a Man know, at first Blush, Hypocrisie from Piety; True Charity from Ostentation; or the Devil Himself with a Glory about him, from an Angel of Light? Time and Examination may do Much, but the Boy was Groping, and in the Dark, and so might Well be Mistaken. The Snake Told him of his Error, and the Danger of it, but Pass'd it over, because there was no Ill Will in't. This is the very Case of Our Reason to us, in all our Misdoings: It Checks us for what's Past, and Advises us for the Future, to have a care of False Appearances: Just as the Snake did to the Child here.

 


 

FAB. CXXXII. A Fowler and a Partridge.

A Fowler had taken a Partridge, and the Bird offer'd her self to Decoy as many of her Companions into the Snare as she could, upon Condition that he would but give her Quarter. No, says he, You shall Dye the rather for That very Reason, because you would be so Base as to Betray your Friends to save your self.

The MORAL.

Of all Scandalous and Lewd Offices, That of a Traytor is Certainly the Basest; for it Undermines the very Foundations of Society.

REFLEXION.

TREACHERY is a Sin against Common Faith, Honour, and Humane Society; A Villany, in short, that's never to be Approv'd, how Convenient soever in some Cases to be made use of. The Fowler's here, was a Wise and a Generous Resolution, upon the Partridges Proposal; for all Traytors are Mercenaries; and Whoever Betrays One Master for Advantage, [Page 123] will Betray Another for a Better Price. But as all manner of Treachery is Abominable in the Sight both of God and Man, and stands Reprehended in this Fable: So there are Certain Kinds and Degrees of it, that are yet more Execrable and Odious, One then Another. There is first a Treachery by Complexion, which was the Partridges Case. Her Heart Fail'd her, and she would fain have Compounded for her Own Life, by the Betraying of her Fellows. This was an Unhappy Infirmity, but the Weakness all this while, does not Excuse the Persidy, though it may seem in some Measure to Extenuate the Crime, by the Poor Creatures lying under almost an Insuperable Frailty. The Fowler however made an Example of her for a Terror to Others. Now if a Treachery of this Quality be so Unpardonable, what shall we say to Those Iudas'es, that Dip in the Dish with their Masters, and then for so many Pieces of Silver, deliver them up to be Crucify'd? What shall we say to Those that Sell their Country, their Souls, and their Religion, for Mony, and Rate Divinity at so much a Pound? And then to Consummate the Wickedness, Finish the Work with Malice, that they began with Avarice.

 


 

FAB. CXXXIII. A Hare and a Tortoise.

WHat a Dull Heavy Creature (says a Hare) is This same Tortoise! And yet (says the Tortoise) I'll run with you for a Wager. 'Twas Done and Done, and the Fox, by Consent, was to be the Judg. They started together, and the Tortoise kept Jogging on still, 'till he came to the End of the Course. The Hare lay'd himself down about Mid-way, and took a Nap; for, says he, I can fetch up the Tortoise when I please: But he Over-slept himself it seems, for when he came to Wake, though he scudded away as fast as 'twas possible, the Tortoise got to the Post before him, and Won the Wager.

The MORAL.

Up and be Doing, is an Edifying Text; for Action is the Bus'ness of Life, and there's no Thought of ever coming to the End of our Iourney in time, if we Sleep by the Way.

REFLEXION.

UNNECESSARY Delays in All Pressing Affairs are but just so much time Lost, beside the Hazard of Intervening Contingencies that may Endanger a Total Disappointment. Let not the Work of to day be put off 'till to morrow; for the Future is Uncertain; and he that lyes down to Sleep in the Middle of Bus'ness that requires Action, does not know whether he shall live to 'wake again: Or with the Hare in the Fable here, Out-sleep his Opportunity. A Plodding Diligence brings us sooner [Page 124] to our Journey's End, then a Fluttering Way of Advancing by Starts and by Stops; for 'tis Perseverance Alone that can carry us Thorough-Stitch.

 


 

FAB. CXXXIV. Apples and Horse-Turds.

UPon a very great Fall of Rain, the Current carry'd Away a Huge Heap of Apples, together with a Dunghill that lay in the Water-Course. They Floated a good while together like Brethren and Companions; and as they went thus Dancing down the Stream, the Horse-Turds would be every foot crying out still, Alack a day! How Wee Apples Swim!

 


 

FAB. CXXXV. A Peach, an Apple, and a Blackberry.

THere happen'd a Controversie once betwixt a Peach, and an Apple, which was the Fairer Fruit of the Two. They were so Loud in their Discourse, that a Blackberry from the next Hedg, Over-heard them. Come (says the Blackberry) We are All Friends, and pray let's have No Jangling among our selves?

The MORAL of the Two FABLES above,

Every Thing would be Thought Greater in the World then it is, and the Root of it is This, that it first thinks it self so.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Vanity Common in the World, for Every Pretending Coxcomb to make himself One of the Party still with his Betters. They cry Wee to Every thing, and make themselves Necessary upon All Occasions, and to All Purposes, and People, when upon the Truth of the Matter, they are found to be good for Just Nothing at all.

[Wee] Apples cry the Horse-Turds [Wee] the Kings Officers, crys the Fellow that carrys Guts to the Bears [Wee] crys the Scumm of the Nation to the Bench, to the Court, to the City, to the Church, to Parliaments, and Councels. There's Nothing so Great, but the Little People cry [Wee] to't still. [Wee'l] do This, and [Wee'l] do That, and [Wee'l] Undertake for This and T'other, This is in a Familiar Way, the Common Style of the Licentious Multitude, to the Scandal of all Honorable Commissions, and of Those that Manage them. And This Humour of [Weeing] holds as well in Matters of State, and of Understanding, as in [Page 125] the Point of Honour and Quality. Twas [Wee] in the Persons of the Fish Wives and the Broom-Men [Wee] again in the Resolutions of Billingsgate, and Grub street, that took upon them to Prescribe in Matters of Religion and Government. [Wee] won't lose our Religion, was the Cry of Every Ignorant Atheist. [Wee'l] stand up for our Properties was the Beggers Song that liv'd upon the Alms Basket. And [Wee] for our Liberties, cry the Slaves of All Times and Interests; Nay and None so streight Lac'd as Common Cheats upon the Topique of Conscience. And so it was [Wee] again in the Name of the Multitude that did Every thing that was thought Worth the Doing. Now if the Dregs of the People will be Opening, and Crying [Wee] to Every thing; the Mobile has a Wide Mouth, and there's No Stopping it. But the Arrogance of the Rabbles Assuming at This Rate, is Nothing to the Meanness of their Superiors when they shall descend to keep such Company; or to make use of such Tools or Engines. 'Tis not half so bad for the Apples to cry [Wee] Horse-Turds, as it would be for Men of State, and Caball, to cry [Wee] Tinkers and Carr-Men. But This is a Supposition, not to Enter so much as into the Thought of any Man of Sense or Honour. This Fable will also bear as Edifying, and as Pertinent a Moral, in the Inversion, as it does the Other Way. Wee Rogues, on the One Hand, is Every jot as Emphatical, as Wee Princes, on the Other.

 


 

FAB. CXXXVI. A Mole and her Dam.

MOther (says a Mole to her Damm) Here's a Strange Smell Methinks. And then she was at it again, There's a Mulberry-Tree I perceive. And so a Third Time, What a Clattering of Hammers do I hear. Daughter says the Old One, You have now quite Betray'd your self; for I thought You had Wanted only One Sense, and now I find you want Three; for you can neither Hear nor Smell any more then you can See.

The MORAL.

Men Labour under Many Imperfections that No Body would take Notice of, if they themselves were not Over-sollicitous to Conceal them.

REFLEXION.

BOASTERS are Naturally Falsifyers, and the People of All Others that put their Shams the Worst together. Their Imperfections would not be Half so much taken Notice of, if their Own Vanity did not make Proclamation of them; As a Blind Lady that I knew, was never Well, but when she was Discoursing of Colours. 'Tis a Strange Thing, the Impudence of some Women! Was a Word often in the Mouth of a Precise Dame, who her self was as Common as the King's High-Way. I knew Another that was never without Lemmon Pill in her Mouth, to Correct an Unfavoury [Page 126] Vapour of her Own, and yet would be Perpetually Inveighing against Foul Breaths. Now This way of Covering Defects, Scandals or Inconveniences, is the Only Way of Exposing them.

 


 

FAB. CXXXVII. Wasps, Partridges, and a Husbandman.

A Flight of Wasps, and a Covy of Partridges that were hard put to't for Water, went to a Farmer, and begg'd a Soup of him to Quench their Thirst. The Partridges offer'd to Dig his Vineyard for't, and the Wasps to secure him from Thieves. Pray hold your Hand, says the Good Man; I have Oxen and Dogs that do me These Offices already, without standing upon Terms. And therefore it will become me to Provide for Them in the First Place.

The MORAL.

Charity begins at Home, but the Necessary Duty of it in One Place, does not Discharge the Christian Exercise of it in Another.

REFLEXION.

CHARITY is a Humane, as well as a Christian Virtue, and there is a Place for it, even upon Brutes, under the Duty of Tenderness and Good Nature, as well as upon Men; but still with a Distinction by way of Preference, that it is to be Employ'd in the First Place upon Those that have the Fairest Right to't: 'Tis One thing I must Confess, to Condition for a Good Office, and Another thing to do it Gratis; so that the Husbandman took the Proposal by the Right Handle in That Respect: But his being provided of Servants already, to do his Work was no Excuse for his Want of Charity to Relieve his Distressed Neighbor.

 


 

FAB. CXXXVIII. Jupiter and a Serpent.

JUpiter had Presents made him upon his Wedding-Day, Greater, or Less, from All Living Creatures. A Serpent brought him a Rose in his Mouth for an Offering. The Thing was Acceptable enough, but not the Presenter; for (says Iupiter) though Gifts are Wellcome to me, of Themselves, I must not yet receive any from a Serpent.

The MORAL.

He that receives a Present, Contracts an Obligation: which a Body would be Asham'd of in the Case of an Ill Man; for it looks toward making a Friendship with him.

[Page 127]

REFLEXION.

A Good Man would not Willingly lye under any Obligation to a Person of a Lewd Character and Conversation; for beside the Danger he Incurrs, it would not be for his Credit neither, where Presents are Scandals, and rather Snares then Benefits. 'Tis a kind of Incumbrance upon the freedom of a Generous Mind, to be debt to an Ill Man, even upon any Score whatsoever, that does but carry the face of Good Will, or Respect; for 'tis a Debt that a Man's both Asham'd and Weary of 'till 'tis paid off. He lives uneasily under the Burden of it, and Consequently, it is the Debt of All Others that ought first to be Answer'd. And there's Somthing more in't yet too, which is, that when All Common Scores are made even, the Morality of the Obligation still remains; for there's no Cancelling the Bonds of Honor and Justice. Kindnesses are to be paid in specie, as well as Mony. That is to say, there must be Affection in the Return, as well as Justice. Now as there can be No True Friendship betwixt a Good Man and a Wicked Man, there should be no Intercourse betwixt them that looks like Friendship, and therefore the Less Commerce the Better. As Iupiter, we see, would have Nothing to do with the Serpent.

 


 

FAB. CXXXIX. A Flea and a Man.

A Fellow finding somewhat Prick him, Popt his Finger upon the Place, and it prov'd to be a Flea. What art thou, says he, for an Animal, to Suck thy Livelyhood out of My Carcass? Why 'tis the Livelyhood, (says the Flea) that Nature has Allotted me, and My Stinging is not Mortal neither. Well, says the Man, but 'tis Troublesome however; and now I Have ye, I ll secure ye for ever Hurting me again, either Little or Much.

The MORAL.

Live and Let Live, is the Rule of Common Iustice, but if People will be Troublesome on the One hand, the Obligation is Discharg'd on the other.

REFLEXION.

IT is as Natural for a Man to Kill a Flea, as it is for a Flea to Bite a Man. There's a kind of self-Preservation on Both sides, and without Any Malice on Either Hand. The Flea cannot Live without Nourishment, nor the Man without Rest. So that here's only a Present Dispatch on the One Hand, to prevent a Lingring Death on the Other (as a Restless Life is in Truth no Better) There are in the World as many Illustrations of This Fable, as there are Instances of Petulant, Pragmatical, and Impertinent People that Break in upon Men of Government and Bus'ness. Distractions have much in them of Flea-Bitings; That is to say, [Page 128] they keep us Waking, and Hinder our Repose. The Flea thought it hard to suffer Death for an Importunity: But to a Man that knows how to Value his Time and his Quiet, One Importunity upon the Neck of Another, is the Killing of a Man Alive, and the very Worst of Deaths.

 


 

FAB. CXL. A Flea and Hercules.

THere was a Fellow, that upon a Flea-Biting call'd out to Hercules for Help. The Flea gets away, and the Man Expostulates upon the Matter. Well! Hercules; (says he) You that would not take My Part against a Sorry Flea, will never stand by me in a Time of Need, against a more Powerful Enemy.

The MORAL.

We Neglect God in Greater Matters, and Petition him for Trifles, nay and Take Pett at last if we cannot have our Askings.

REFLEXION.

'Tis an Ill Habit to turn Offices and Duties of Piety into Matters and Words only of Course; and to Squander away our Wishes and our Prayers upon Paltry Fooleries, when the Great Concerns of Life and Death, Heaven and Hell, lye all at stake. Who but a Mad man, that has so many Necessary and Capital Duties of Christianity to Think of, would ever have made a Deliverance from a Flea-Biting a Part of his Litany? It makes our Devotions Ridiculous, to be so Unfeeling on the One side, and so Over-sensible, and Sollicitous on the Other. By this Foolish and Impertinent Way of our Proceeding toward the Almighty, Men Slide by little and little into some sort of Doubt, if not a Direct Disbelief and Contempt of his Power. And then with the Country Fellow here, if we cannot Obtain Every Vain Thing we Ask, our next Bus'ness is to take Pet at the Refusal, and so in Revenge to give over Praying for Good and All; and so to Renounce Heaven for a Flea-Biting.

FAB: CXLI. A Man and Two Wives.

IT was now Cuckow-Time, and a Certain Middle-Ag'd Man, that was Half-Gray, Half-Brown, took a fancy to Marry Two Wives, of an Age One under Another, and Happy was the Woman that could please him Best. They took Mighty Care of him to All manner of Purposes, and still as they were Combing the Good Man's Head, they'd be Picking out here and there a [Page 129] Hair to make it all of a Colour. The Matronly Wife, she Pluck'd out All the Brown Hairs, and the Younger the White: So that they left the Man in the Conclusion no better then a Bald Buzzard betwixt them.

The MORAL.

'Tis a much Harder Thing to Please Two Wives then Two Masters; and He's a Bold Man that offers at it.

REFLEXION.

MARRIAGES are Govern'd, rather by an Over-ruling Fatality, then by any Solemnity of Choice and Judgment; though 'tis a Hard Matter to find out a Woman, even at the Best, that's of a Just Scantling for her Age, Person, Humour, and Fortune to make a Wife of. This Fable presents us with One single Disparity that is of it self Sufficient, without a more then Ordinary Measure of Virtue and Prudence, to make a Man Miserable and Ridiculous. I speak of a Disparity of Years, which, in the Moral, takes-in all Other Disproportions. The One's too Young, T'other too Old; to shew us that Marriage is out of Season if it does not Hit the very Critical Point betwixt them. 'Tis much with Wedlock, as it is with our Sovereign Cordials and Antidotes. There go a Thousand Ingredients to the making of the Composition: But then if they be not Tim'd, Proportion'd, and Prepar'd according to Art, 'tis a Clog to us rather then a Relief. So that it would have been Well, if Nature had Prescrib'd the Dos of Womans-Flesh, as she has Determin'd the Necessity of it.

 


 

FAB. CXLII. Two Frogs that wanted Water.

UPon the Drying up of a Lake, Two Frogs were forc'd to Quit, and to seek for Water Elsewhere. As they were upon the Search, they Discover'd a very Deep Well. Come (says One to T'other) Let us e'en go down here, without Looking any further. You say well, says her Companion; but what if the Water should fail us Here too? How shall we get Out again?

The MORAL.

'Tis Good Advice to Look before we Leape.

REFLEXION.

HASTY Resolutions are seldom Fortunate, and it is a piece of Necessary Prudence, for a Man, before he resolves any thing, to Consider what may be the Consequences of it.

We are taught by the Providence of These Frogs, ro Consider the End of things before we Resolve upon the Meanes; for when the Die is Cast, 'tis too late to Wish for Another Chance. In our Deliberations what [Page 130] to do, we should Distinguish betwixt Lawful and Unlawful, Prudential and Foolish, a Less Present Good, and a Consequence of greater Evils, that we be not Betray'd by the Fair Appearances of Things Specious; Frauds and Fallacies, Glittering Outsides, &c. into Inconveniencyes and Mistakes.

When a Man wants any thing, let him look for't in Time, and Consider Well beforehand what Occasion he has for't, and upon What Terms it is to be Had; for there may be such Conditions that a Man would not Comply with, even for the Saving, or Redeeming of his Life. There are Other Cases, where a Man must Part with More for the Getting of a Thing, then That Thing is Worth. Some again, where a Body runs the Risque of an Absolute Ruine, for the Gaining of a Present Supply: Wherefore there's No Remedy either Way, without a Strict Calculation upon the Profit or Loss on Both Sides. I want Mony, but I will not make my self a Slave for't. I want a Friend at Court, but I will not Forfeit the Character of a Man of Honour, or the Conscience of a Christian, and an Honest Man, to Purchase such a Friend: I am in Prison; but I will not play the Knave to set my self at Liberty. These are All, Necessary Deliberations upon the Matter here in Question. Let us see how we shall get Out again, says the Frog, before we go In.

 


 

FAB. CXLIII. A Dog and a Cock upon a Journy.

A Dog and a Cock took a Journy together. The Dog Kennell'd in the Body of a Hollow Tree, and the Cock Roosted at night upon the Boughs. The Cock crow'd about Midnight; (at his Usual Hour) which brought a Fox that was abroad upon the Hunt, immediately to the Tree; and there he stood Licking of his Lips, at the Cock, and Wheedling him to get him Down. He Protested he never heard so Angelical a Voice since he was Born, and what would not He do now, to Hugg the Creature that had given him so Admirable a Serenade! Pray, says the Cock, speak to the Porter below to open the Door, and I ll come Down to ye: The Fox did as he was Directed, and the Dog presently seiz'd and Worry'd him.

The MORAL.

The Main Bus'ness of the World is Nothing but Sharping, and putting Tricks upon One Another by Turns.

REFLEXION.

'TIS Good Discretion, when a Body has to do with an Adversary, that is either too Crafty, or too Strong for him, to turn him off to his Match; but it would be a Cleverer Way yet, to Encounter the Stratagem, and to Defeat One Sham with Another, as the Simplicity of the Cock here was too hard for the Wilyness of the Fox. Experience makes many a Wise Man of [Page 131] a Fool, and Security makes many a Fool of a Wise Man. We have an Instance of the Former in the Cocks Over-reaching the Fox, and of the Other, in the Foxes Supine Confidence, that made him so Intent upon his Prey, as to neglect his Safety. Now the Cock, that upon Long Tryal and Observation, knew the Fox to be the Common Enemy of all Poultrey; had likewise a Dread and Suspicion of him by Instinct, which made him Naturally Cautious upon the very Principle of Selfe-Preservation. Whereas the Fox, that Trusted to his Address and Manage, without so much as Dreaming of a Cross-Bite from so silly an Animal, fell Himself into the Pit that he had Digg'd for Another. It is much the same Case in the World when Providence is pleas'd to Confound the False, the Mighty, and the Bloud-Thirsty, by Judgments of Lice and Frogs: That is to say, by the most Despicable of Instruments. To put an End to This Moral, It is a wonderful Thing how the very Force of Nature will Exert it self, in the Meanest and the Weakest of Creatures, in Cases of Extreme Necessity and Danger: As it made the Cock here too hard for the Fox.

 


 

FAB. CXLIV. A Bat, Bramble and Cormorant.

A Bat, a Bramble, and a Cormorant Enter'd into Covenants with Articles, to joyn Stocks, and Trade in Partnership together. The Bat's Adventure was Ready Mony that he took up at Interest; The Bramble's, was in Cloaths; and the Cormorant's, in Brass. They Put to Sea, and it so fell out, that Ship and Goods were Both Lost by Stress of Weather: But the Three Merchants by Providence got safe to Land. Since the Time of this Miscarriage, the Bat never Stirrs abroad till Night, for fear of his Creditors. The Bramble lays hold of All the Cloaths he can come at in hope to Light upon his Own again: And the Cormorant is still Sauntering by the Sea-side, to see if he can find any of his Brass cast up.

The MORAL.

The Impression of any Notable Misfortune will commonly stick by a Man as long as he Lives.

REFLEXION.

Things that a Man has once set his Heart upon, will hardly be ever got out of his Head, but Every Hint and Occasion will be putting him in mind of 'em again. Ill Habits are not Easyly Cur'd. 'Tis with allmost All People in cases of Fright or Distraction of Mind, as it was with our Merchant Adventures here. The Last Impression sticks Closest to us. There was a Miserable Wretch in Bedlam that had lost his Wits upon the Firing of a Ship at Sea, and His Head was still running upon Fire and Water; insomuch that the very Sight of either of them would put him into an Outrageous Fury. Another that was Mad for Love, would be Beating, his Brains perpetually upon Anagrams and Sonnets. Oliver's Enthusiastick Porter, was [Page 132] directly Bible-Mad, and up to the Ears still in the Dark Prophets, and the Revelation. In the Year 1688, When the Original Contracters were met in Councel about Settling the Government, a very good Poor Woman carried her Little Trunks and Boxes to Weld-House for Protection, for fear of the Mobile. The House was Rifled, and her Trinkets went away with the Rest. Upon this Loss she fell Idle-Headed; and to This very Day she stands like the Bramble in the Fable, neare the place still, (where the Innocent Creature Lives) Catching of People by the Coats, and Asking them about her Trunks and Boxes: Pray, says she, When shall I have my Things again? My Trunks are not come home yet, &c. The Doctrine upon the Whole is no more then This, That we are not to set our Hearts upon the Things of This World; for All Emotions of the Mind have somewhat in them of the Freake; and the only Way to be Happy and Quiet, is to make all Contingencies Indifferent to us.

 


 

FAB. CXLV. A Lark in a Net.

A Poor Lark Enter'd into a Miserable Expostulation with a Bird-Catcher, that had Taken her in his Net, and was just about to put her to Death. Alas (says she) What am I to Dye for now? I am no Thief; I have Stoln neither Gold, nor Silver; but for Making Bold with One Pityful Grain of Corn am I now to Suffer.

The MORAL.

'Tis to no Purpose to stand Reasoning where the Adversary is both Party and Iudge.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Folly, says the Old Moral, for People to run Great Hazard for small Advantage. And why may it not as well Reflect upon the Cruelty of taking away the Life of a Poor Innocent Creature for making bold with One Miserable Grain of Corn, when she was Hungry. But This is All Forc'd, and in Truth, it is a Dry Fable with Little or Nothing in't.

Or to Turn it Another Way yet, Here's the Life of a Poor Creature in Question, and the Lark Expostulates, and Pleades Not Guilty, but the Belly has No Eares, and the Bird-Catcher is so Intent upon his Interest, and Appetite, that he gives no Heed at all to the Equity of the Plea, which is but according to the Course of the World, when people Measure Right or Wrong by the Rule of their Own Profit or Loss. 'Tis Passion and Partiality that Govern in All These Cases.

 


 

FAB. CXLVI. A Miller Burying his Gold.

A Certain Covetous, Rich Churle Sold his Whole Estate, and put it into Mony, and then Melted down That Mony again into One Mass, which he Bury'd in the ground, with his very [Page 133] Heart and Soul in the Pot for Company. He gave it a Visit Every Morning, which it seems was taken Notice of, and Somebody that Observ'd him, found out his Hoard one Night, and Carry'd it away. The Next day he missed it, and ran allmost out of his Wits for the Loss of his Gold. Well, (says a Neighbour to him) And what's All This Rage for? Why you had no Gold at all, and so you Lost None. You did but Fancy all this while that you Had it, and you may e'en as well Fancy again that you have it sill. 'Tis but laying a Stone where you layd your Mony, and Fancying That Stone to be your Treasure, and there's your Gold again. You did not Use it when you Had it; and you do not Want it so long as you Resolve not to Use it.

The MORAL.

Better no Estate at all, then the Cares and Vexations that Attend the Posession of it, without the Use on't.

REFLEXION.

WE are never the better for the Possession of any thing, Barely for the Propriety sake, but 'tis the Use and Application of it towards the Conveniences of Life, and the Comforts of Humane Society, that gives Every thing its Vallue. The Divine Goodness we see is perpetually at Work; Nature keeps on her Course, and the Heavens shed their Influences without Intermission: and what's the Doctrine now of This Great Example, but that the Blessings of Providence, which are Common and Diffusive, ought not to lye Idle; and that Whoever Buryes his Talent, either of Understanding, or of Fortune, breaks a Sacred Trust, and Couzens Those that stand in Need on't. But we have a sort of sordid Wretches among us that had rather Cast their Silver and Gold into the very Mine again from whence it was Taken, or leave it at the Mercy of Thieves, and Common Hazzards, then that any Man Living should be the Better for't.

 


 

FAB. CXLVII. A Stag with One Eye.

A One-Eyed-Stag that was affraid of the Huntsmen at Land, kept a Watch That Way with T'other Eye, and fed with his Blind Side still toward an Arm of the Sea, where he thought there was no Danger. In this Prospect of Security, he was Struck with an Arrow from a Boat, and so Ended his Days with This Lamentation: Here am I destroy'd, says he, where I reckon'd my Self to be Safe on the One Hand; and No Evil has befal'n me, where I most Dreaded it, on the Other.

[Page 134]

The MORAL.

We are lyable to Many Unlucky Accidents that no Care or Foresight can Prevent: But we are to Provide however the Best we can against them, and leave the Rest to Providence.

REFLEXION.

WE are many times Preserv'd or Destroy'd, by Those Accidents or Councells, that in All Probability would have had quite Contrary Effects. But it is Our Part yet to Act according to Reason, and commit our selves to Heaven for the rest. We have our Blind Sides in the World, as well as the Stag had his by the Sea-side, and we have our Enemies too, that are still Watching to make Advantage of that Weakness. One Man is Transported out of his Reason, and his Honesty, by Sensual Pleasures: Another by Mony, perhaps, or by Ambition. Every Man, in short, by Somewhat or other: And it is but striking him in the Right Vein, to do his Bus'ness. The Wisest of Men have their Follies; The Justest, their Iniquities, and the most Temperate of Men have now and then by Fits, their Excesses. Achilles himself (after all that his Mother could do for him) was left Vulnerable yet in the Heel, and Paris'es Arrow found him Out there. We are taught further also to look to our selves on the Blind Side, as the Place that lyes most Expos'd to an Attacque. And finally; That it is not in the Power of Humane Wisdom to secure us against Plots and Practices upon Humane Frailty: Nay, and when we have done our Best to Prevent Mischief, the very Precaution it self serves many times to Contribute to our Ruine. The Stag did All that was to be done here; but the Wayes and Workings of Providence are unsearchable; and it is not in the Power of Humane Prudence to Obviate all the Accidents of Humane Life.

 


 

FAB. CXLVIII. A Stag and a Lyon.

A Stag that was close Pursu'd by Huntsmen, fled for Safety into a Lyons Den; and as he was just Expiring under the Paw of the Lyon: Miserable Creature that I am, says he, to Fly for Protection from Men, to the most Unmerciful of Beasts!

The MORAL.

There are Harder and Gentler Wayes, even of Ruine it selfe; as 'tis Common we see for Men under a Capital Sentence to Petition even for the Change of the Death.

REFLEXION.

'Tis a Common Case for People to be Reduc'd to This Miserable Choice; That is to say, by what Hand or Means they'll rather Perish; under the Certainty of an Inevitable Destruction One Way or other. The Ancients have Moralliz'd it This Way. But it seems to Me (under favor) that the [Page 135] Stag's was a Forc'd Put; and a Chance rather then a Choice, he did not fly from the Huntsmen to the Lyon for Protection; but it so fell out, that while he fled to Avoid a Less Danger, he ran into a Greater; We find This to be the Case of many Men, as well as Beasts, that are Forc'd to Fly for Refuge, to Murderers and Oppressors, instead of Patrons and Protectors.

 


 

FAB. CXLIX. A Goat and a Uine.

A Goat that was hard Press'd by the Huntsmen, took Sanctuary in a Vineyard, and there he lay Close, under the Covert of a Vine. So soon as he thought the Danger was Over, he fell presently to Browzing upon the Leaves; and whether it was the Rusling, or the Motion of the Boughs, that gave the Huntsmen an Occasion for a Stricter Search, is Uncertain: but a Search there was, and in the End Discover'd the Goat, and shot him. He dy'd in fine, with this Conviction upon him, that his Punishment was Just, for offering Violence to his Protector.

The MORAL.

Ingratitude Perverts all the Measures of Religion and Society, by making it Dangerous to be Charitable and Good Natur'd.

REFLEXION.

INGRATITUDE is Abhorr'd both by God and Man, and there is a Certain Vengeance Attends those that Repay Evil for Good, and seek the Ruine of their Protectors. This Fable Exposes the Baseness of That Horrid Vice, and it Preaches Thankfulness and Justice. The Obligations of Hospitality and Protection are so Sacred, that Nothing can Absolve us from the Discharge of Those Duties. 'Tis True, that This particular Instance holds better in the Morality of the Application, then it does in the Reason of the Thing: for the Question is not what the Beast does in his Kind; but what Ought to be done, with a respect to such a Benefit receiv'd. If a man should Launch into the History and Practice of Humane Nature, we should find Nothing more Common there, then one Rebellion Started upon the Pardoning of Another; and the very Minions of Princes Linck'd in Conspiracies against their Master. But Those Things ever were, and ever will be, so long as Men are Men, and carry their Corruptions about them. There will be Goats, in fine, and there will be Vines, to answer This Moral, in Saeculae Saeculorum.

 


 

FAB. CL. An Asse, a Lyon, and a Cock.

AS a Cock and an Asse were Feeding-together, up comes a Lion Open-Mouth toward the Asse: The Cock presently cryes out; [Page 136] Away Scoures the Lyon, and the Ass after him: Now 'twas the Crowing of the Cock that Frighted the Lyon, not the Braying of the Asse, as That Stupid Animal Vainly Fancy'd to Himself, for so soon as ever they were gotten out of the Hearing of the Cock, the Lyon turn'd short upon him, and tore him to pieces, with These Words in his Mouth: Let never any Creature hereafter that has not the Courage of a Hare, Provoke a Lyon.

The MORAL.

The Force of Unaccountable Aversions, is Insuparable. The Fool that is Wise and Brave Only in his Own Conceit, runs on without Fear or Wit, but Noise does no Bus'ness.

REFLEXION.

MANY a Bragging Coxcomb is Ruin'd by a Mistake of Fear in an Enemy, and a Fancy of Courage in Himselfe. Baudoin Remarks upon the Lyons's Aversion to the Cock, that there's Nothing so Great, but it has its Failings, and so he makes the Pursuit of the Lyon to be a Particular Mark of the Asses Weakness. Meslier will have the Fear to be Counterfeited, with a Design to Surprize the Pursuer; but This Fable seems still to look Another way.

It may appear a very Extravagant, Surprizing Encounter, that Aesop has Exhibited to us in This Fable. Here's a Lyon running away from a Cock, and an Asse Pursuing a Lyon: That is to say, here are Two of the most Unlikely Things in Nature brought together, in the Semblance of Fear in the One, and of Resolution in the Other: But the Moral is never the Worse yet for the Seeming Disproportions of the Figure; and the Characters in the Fiction, are well enough Suited to the Truth, and Life of the Case. The Flight of the Lyon must be Imputed here to the Natural Aversion that he has to the Crowing of a Cock. This is the Tradition; but it shall break No Squares whether it be so or not: For the Philosophy holds good in Other Instances No less Wonderfull, whether it be True or False in This. How many Insuperable Disagreements do we Meet with, in the Bus'ness of Meats, Drinks, and Medicines; in Plants, Minerals, and Living Creatures! Now These Impulses are no more to be Controll'd, then the Primary, and the Unchangeable Powers and Laws of Nature: And These Instincts, after All, are no more to be Reason'd upon, then they are to be Resisted; and therefore it is, that we call them Occult Qualities; which is All One with Saying that we do not Understand how they Work, or What they Are. Now 'tis One Thing to Submit to an Absolute Force, Another thing to Fly and Yield to a Natural Infirmity: So that 'tis No Departure from the Dignity of a Lyon to Fly, when Nature Drives him: Neither is it at all to the Asses Reputation, to Pursue, when Vanity, Folly and Rashness Transport him.

The Asse, we see, lyes under Many Mistakes here, and the More, and the Grosser they are, the more Suitable still to his Character. How many such Asses are there in the World, that Huffe, Look Big, Stare, Dress, Cock, Swagger, at the same Noise-Blustring Rate; and Nothing more Familiar then for a Whiffling Fop, that has not so much as One Grain of the Sense, or Soul of a man of Honour in him, to play the part of a Heroe. [Page 137] Nay there are Fanfarons in the Tryals of Witt too, as well as in Feates of Arms, and none so forward to Engage in Argument, or Discourse, as Those that are least able to go thorough with it. In One Word for All, the whole Race of Bawling, Fluttering Noddyes, by what Name or Title soever Dignify'd or Distinguish'd, are a kin to the Ass in This Fable.

 


 

FAB. CLI. A Gardiner and his Dog.

A Gardner's Dog dropt into a Well, and his Master let himself down to Help him Out again. He reach'd forth his Hand to take hold of the Dog, and the Curr Snapt him by the Fingers: For he thought 'twas only to Duck him Deeper. The Master went his Way upon't, and e'en Left him as he Found him. Nay (says he) I'm well enough Serv'd, to take so much pains for the Saving of One that is Resolv'd to make away Himself.

The MORAL.

Obligations and Benefits are Cast away upon Two sorts of People; Those that do not Understand them, and Those that are not sensible of them.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S No Fastening an Obligation upon Those that have neither Justice, Gratitude, nor Good Faith; and it is the same Case in Effect, with Those that do not Understand when they are Well-Us'd: From whence we may Inferr This Doctrine, that Fools and Knaves, are Not Company for Honest Men. The Course and Violent Part of the Common People have much in them of This Currs Humour. They Plunge themselves into Difficulties by Mistaking their Way, and then fly in the face of Those that would Set them Right again. In This Opposition to Duty and Discretion, they Pursue their Errors, 'till in the End, they are left to the Fate of their Own Madness and Folly; and Consequently Perish without Any Hope, or Means of Pity or Redress, The Gard'ner would have sav'd his Dog from Drowning, and the Curr bit his Master by the fingers for his pains.

 


 

FAB. CLII. A Sow and a Dog.

THere pass'd some Hard Words betwixt a Sow and a Dog, and the Sow swore by Venus, that she'd Tear his Guts out, if he did not Mend his Manners. Ay, says the Dog, You do well to call upon her for Your Patroness, that will not so much as Endure any Creature about her that Eates Swines Flesh. Well (says the Sow) and That's a Token of her Love, to Hate Any thing that hurts me; but for Dogs Flesh, 'tis good neither Dead, nor Living.

[Page 138]

The MORAL.

Where the Matter in Controversy will not bear an Argument, 'tis a Turn of Art to bring it off with a Paradox.

REFLEXION.

'TIS an Ordinary Thing for People to Boast of an Interest where they have None, and then when they are Detected, 'tis a Stroake of Art to Divert the Reproach, by Emproving a Spitefull Word, or Thing, to a bodies Own Advantage. This way of Dialogue, is a kind of Tick-Tack; Where the One's Bus'ness is to keep from making a Blot, and the Other's is to Hit it when 'tis made. It is a Happy Presence of Mind, to Anticipate Another man's Thought, by Considering Well beforehand what Construction, or Allusion his Own Words will bear; for Otherwise, the Casting out an Inconsiderate Hint, is but the Setting of a Trap to Catch Himself. As the Sow's Appealing to Venus here was as Good as an Answer thrown into the very Mouth of the Dog, which she might Easily have foreseen would be turn'd back upon her in the Bitterness of a Reproach: For the Reply lay so Open, the Other could not Well Miss it: But when All is done, Both Parts are to keep themselves upon their Guard; Or if either of 'em has Overshot himselfe, it is some sort of Reputation still, to make the Best of a Bad Game: As the Sow turn'd off the Scandal here with a Jest.

 


 

FAB. CLIII. A Sow and a Bitch.

A Sow and a Bitch had a Dispute once, which was the Fruitfuller of the Two. The Sow Yielded it at last to the Bitch; but you are to take Notice at the Same time says she, that your Puppies are All Blind.

The MORAL.

The Question among all sorts of Competitors is not Who does Most, but who does Best.

REFLEXION.

WE are not to put an Estimate upon Things by the Quantity, or the Number of them, but by their Quality and Virtue: Taking for Granted, that Aesops Bitch was Fruitfuller then our Sows. See the Moral of A Lyoness and a Fox. Fab. 283.

 


 

FAB. CLIV. A Snake and a Crab.

THere was a Familiarity Contracted betwixt a Snake and a Crab. The Crab was a Plain Dealing Creature that Advis'd [Page 139] his Companion to give over Shuffling and Doubling, and to Practice Good Faith. The Snake went on in his Old Way: So that the Crab finding that he would not Mend his Manners, set upon him in his Sleep, and Strangled him; and then looking upon him as he lay Dead at his Length: This had never befall'n ye says he, if You had but Liv'd as Straight as You Dy'd.

The MORAL.

'There's Nothing more Agreeable in Conversation, then a Franke Open way of Dealing, and a Simplicity of Manners.

REFLEXION.

GOOD Councell is lost upon an Habitual Hardness of Ill Nature: And in That Case it must be a Diamond that Cutts a Diamond; for One Fraud is best Undermin'd and Disappointed by Another. This Fable is a Figure upon a Figure, in Opposing the Straitness of the Body of the Snake after he was Dead, to the Crookedness of his Manners when he was Living. But the License of Mythology will bear out the Hardness of the Allusion.

 


 

FAB. CLV. A Shepherd and a Wolves Whelp.

A Shepherd took a Sucking Whelp of a Wolfe, and Train'd it up with his Dogs. This Whelp Fed with 'em; Grew up with 'em, and whensoever they went out upon the Chace of a Wolfe, the Whelp would be sure to make One. It fell out sometimes that the Wolfe scap'd, and the Dogs were forc'd to go Home again: But This Domestique Wolfe would be still Hunting on, 'till he came up to his Brethren where he took part of the Prey with them; and so back again to his Master. It happen'd now and then that the Wolves abroad were pretty Quiet for a Fit: So that This Whelp of a Wolfe was fain to make Bold ever and anon with a Sheep in Private by the By; but in the Conclusion, the Shepherd came to find out the Roguery, and Hang'd him up for his Pains.

The MORAL.

False Men are no more to be Reclaim'd then Wolves, and the Leven of the Predecessors Sowres the Bloud, in the very Veins of the Whole Family.

REFLEXION.

ILL Dispositions may be Suppress'd, or Dissembled for a while, but Nature is very hardly to be Alter'd, either by Councell, or by Education. It may do well enough, for Curiosity, and Experiment, to Try how far Ill Natur'd Men and Other Creatures may be Wrought upon by Fair Usage, and Good Breeding; But the Inclination and Cruelty [Page 140] of the Damm will never out of the Whelp. It may Suspend peradventure, or Intermit, for want of Occasion to shew it selfe; but Nature is like Mercury, there's No Killing it Quite. The Wolfe in the House has a Kindness still for the Wolves in the Woods, and continues in the Interest of the same Common Enemy. Cat will to Kind, as they say, and Wicked Men will be True to their Principles, how False soever to their Masters.

We may read in the Moral of This Fable, the common Practice of the World, and a Doctrine that we find Every day Verify'd, as well in Men, as in Beasts; for there are Wolf-Whelps in Palaces, and Governments, as well as in Cottages, and Forrests. Do we not find in History, and Experience, Instances in abundance, even of Publique Ministers Themselves, that though taken up out of the very Herds of the Common Enemy; Admitted into Special Trusts; Fed by the Hand, and Treated with the Grace and Character of Particular Favourites, have their Hearts in the Woods yet all this while among their Fellows. So that there's No Reclayming of them. They go out however, as there is Occasion, and Hunt and Growle for Company; but at the same time, they give the Sign out of their Masters hand, hold Intelligence with the Enemy; and Make use of their Power and Credit to Worry Honester Men then Themselves. It wants Nothing after This, but that they may live to have their Due; and with the Dog here in the Fable, go to Heaven in a String, according to the True Intent of the Allegory.

 


 

FAB. CLVI. A Lyon, Fox, and a Wolfe.

THe King of Beasts was now grown Old, and Sickly, and All his Subjects of the Forrest, (saving only the Fox) were to pay their Duties to him. The Wolfe, and the Fox like a Couple of Sly Knaves, were still putting Tricks One upon Another, and the Wolfe took This Occasion to do the Fox a Good Office. I can Assure your Majesty, says the Wolfe, that 'tis Nothing but Pride and Insolence that keeps the Fox from shewing himself at Court as well as his Companions. Now the Fox had the Good Luck to be within Hearing, and so Presented himself before the Lyon, and finding him Extremely Enrag'd, begs his Majesties Patience, and a Little Time only for his Defence. Sir (says he) I must presume to Value my self upon my Respect and Loyalty to your Majesty, Equal at least to any of your other Subjects; and I will be bold to say, that put them all together, they have not taken Half the pains for your Majesties Service now upon This very Occasion, that I have done. I have been Hunting up and down far and near, since your Unhappy Indisposition, to find out a Remedy for ye, which with much ado I have now Compass'd at last, and it is that which I Promise my self will Prove an Infallible Cure. Tell me immediately (says the Lyon) what it is then: Nothing in the World says the Fox, but to Flay a Wolfe Alive, and Wrap your Body up in [Page 141] the Warm Skin. The Wolfe was By all This while; and the Fox in a Snearing Way advis'd him for the Future, not to Irritate a Prince against his Subjects, but rather to Sweeten him with Peaceable, and Healing Councells.

The MORAL.

The Bus'ness of a Pickthank is the Basest of Offices, but yet Diverting enough sometimes, when One Rascal happens to be Encounter'd with Another.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S Nothing more Common in the World then These Wolvish Back-Friends, in all our Pretensions; whether it be in Law, in Government, or in a Hundred other sorts of Clayme and Competition; Especially for the running down of a Man that's Declining in his Credit already. Calumny is Base at best; though Pleasant enough sometimes, where it falls out, that One Rascal is Countermining Another. But let the Reproach be never so True, it can hardly be Honest, Where the Office is done in Hugger-Mugger; and Where the Intention is not Guided by a Conscience of the Duty. It is a way to Confound the Good and the Bad, where Knaves have Credit enough to be Believ'd, to the Wrong of Honest Men, and the Innocent left without Means of Defence.

Hee that would live Cleare of the Envy and Hatred, of Potent Calumniators, must lay his Finger upon his Mouth, and keep his Hand out of the Ink-Pot; for to do a Good Office upon the Point of Opinion, Intelligence, Brains, or Conscience, where This Wolvish Humour prevayles, is little better then a Scandala Magnatum, or a Libel upon his Superiors: But where it happens, that there's a Fox and a Wolfe in the Case; and One Sharper to Encounter Another, the Scene is Diverting enough.

 


 

FAB. CLVII. A Wife and a Drunken Husband.

A Woman that lay under the Mortification of a Fuddling Husband, took him once when he was Dead Drunk; and had his Body layd in a Charnel-House. By the time that she thought he might be come to Himself again, away goes she, and Knocks at the Door. Who's There (says the Toper) One, says the Woman, that brings Meat for the Dead. Friend, says he, Bring Me Drink rather. I wonder any body that Knows me, should bring me One without 'Tother. Nay then, says she, the Humour I perceive has taken Possession of him; He has gotten a Habit, and his Case is Desperate.

The MORAL.

Inveterate Ill Habits become Another Nature to us, and we may almost as well be Taken to Pieces, and New put together again, as Mended.

[Page 142]

REFLEXION.

THE Intent of This Fable is to Work a Reformation of Manners, by shewing that Evil Habits are very hard to be Cur'd; for they take Root by Degrees, 'till they come in the End to be past both Remedy and Shame. Habitual Debauches make Excess of Drink as Necessary to a Man as Common Air, Especially when his Mind comes to be Wholly taken up with the Contemplation of his Vice. There are Those that can never Sleep without their Load, nor Enjoy One Easie Thought, 'till they have laid All their Cares to Rest with a Bottle. 'Tis much the same Thing with Other Sensual Pleasures, where Mens Bodies and Minds are given up to the Entertainment of them. But the Extravagance is never so Desperate, as when the Understanding is Taken up with the Study and Meditation of Those Pleasures, which the Body is no longer in Condition to Practice, and that's the most Deplorate, Hopeless, and Incurable State of an Evil Disposition; when Drink upon Drink is made use of for a Remedy.

 


 

FAB. CLVIII. A Swan and a Goose.

THE Master of a House brought up a Swan and a Goose both together; The One for his Eare, the Other for his Belly. He gave Orders for the Goose to be Taken up, and Dress'd for Dinner. But the Place was so Dark, that the Cook took One for T'other. This Mistake had Cost the Swan her Life, if she had not Sung in That very Instant, and Discover'd her self; by which Means she both sav'd her Life, and Express'd her Nature.

The MORAL.

A Man cannot be too Careful of what he does, where the Life of any Creature is in Question.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S a Providence Attends Innocency and Virtue, the Power of Musique apart. 'Tis a Rule that goes a Great Way in the Government of a Sober Man's Life, not to put any thing to Hazard that may be Secur'd by Industry, Consideration, or Circumspection. And this Caution reaches to a Thousand Cases in the Ordinary Course of Life. Men should Look before they Leap; Deliberate before they Resolve; Try, Weigh, Examine, and Bethink themselves well of the Matter before they Execute. We fall into some Inconveniencies out of Pure Lazyness, and for want of taking pains to Enform our selves Better: Into Others, out of Rashness; by doing Things in a Hurry, and Hand over Head at a Venture. Now there's no Excuse for a Blunder upon any of these Topiques where there was both Time and Means to prevent it. What are we the better for the Faculty of Reason, without the Exercise of it. If the Cook would but have been at the Trouble of Carrying a Candle with him, he would have been in No Danger of taking a Swan for a Goose.

[Page 143]

 


 

FAB. CLIX. The Washing of a Blackmore.

A Man gave Mony for a Black, upon an Opinion that his Swarthy Colour was rather Flattery then Nature; and the Fault of his last Master, in a Great Measure, that he kept him no Cleaner: He took him Home with him, and try'd All manner of Washes to bring him to a Better Complexion: But there was no Good to be Done upon him; beside, that the very Tampering Cast him into a Disease

 


 

FAB. CLX. A Raven and a Swan.

A Raven had a Great Mind to be as White as a Swan, and fancy'd to Himself that the Swan's Beauty proceeded in a High Degree, from his often Washing and Dyet. The Raven upon This Quitted his Former Course of Life and Food, and betook himself to the Lakes and the Rivers: But as the Water did him no Good at all for his Complexion, so the Experiment Cost him his Life too for want of Sustenance.

The MORAL of the TWO FABLES above.

Natural Inclinations may be Moulded and Wrought upon by Good Councell and Discipline; but there are Certain specifick Properties and Impressions, that are never to be Alter'd or Defac'd.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Vain Thing to Attempt the Forcing of Nature; for What's Bred in the Bone will never out of the Flesh: And there can be no Thought of Altering the Qualities, the Colour, or the Condition of Life, that Providence has Allotted us.

'Tis Labour in Vain, to all manner of Purposes, to Endeavour the Mending of any of the Works of Nature; for she never did Any thing Amiss. And then 'tis as Great a Madness to Attempt any Alteration upon them, because What Nature does, God does; whose Decrees are Unchangeable, and All his Works are Perfection in the Kind; but next to the Force of Natural Impressions, we may reckon That of Customs and Habits.

 


 

FAB. CLXI. A Sallow and a Crow.

UPon a Dispute betwixt a Swallow and a Crow, which was the Greater Beauty of the Two: Yours, says the Crow is only a Spring-Beauty, but mine lasts all the Year round.

The MORAL.

Of Two Things Equally Good, that's the Best that lasts longest.

REFLEXION.

THE Greatest of Temporal Blessings, are Health, and Long Life; and the most Durable of Good Things must Consequently be the Best. The Question here betwixt the Crow and the Swallow, has somewhat in it of the Case betwixt Virtue and Sensual Pleasures, as (for the purpose) of Youth, Wine, Women, and All other Entertainments whatsoever, that may serve to Gratify a Carnal Appetite. Here's Temporary Oppos'd to Eternal; Joys that shall Endure for Ever, Fresh, and in Vigour; to Satisfactions that are attended with Satiety and Surfeits, and Flatten in the very Tasting.

 


 

FAB. CLXII. A Nightingale and a Bat.

AS a Nightingale was Singing in a Cage at a Window, up comes a Bat to her, and Asks her why she did not sing in the Day, as well as in the Night. Why (says the Nightingale) I was Catch'd Singing in the Day, and so I took it for a Warning: You should have thought of This then says 'Tother, before you were Taken; for as the Case stands now, Y'are in no Danger to be Snapt Singing again.

The MORAL.

A Wrong Reason for the Doing of a Thing is worse then No Reason at all.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S No Recalling of what's Gone and Past; so that After-Wit comes too Late when the Mischief is Done. That is to say, it comes too late for That Bout. But it is not Amiss however, for a Man that has gone astray, to call to mind where he went out of his Way, and to look back Step by Step into All his Miscarriages and Mistakes. The Glass of Life is Behind us, and we must look into what's Past, if we would take a View of what's to Come. A Fault Committed, or a Misfortune Incurr'd, cannot be Recall'd 'tis True; but yet the Meditating upon One False Step may help to Prevent Another. Wherefore 'tis Good, upon the Point of Common Prudence, to be Thoughtful, provided we be not more Sollicitous then the Thing is worth, and that we make a Right Use of Those Reflexions; that is to say, an Use of Repentance, where we did Morally Amiss; an Use of Rectifying our Judgments, where we did Foolishly; and an Use of Caution in Both Cases, never to do the same Thing over again. This is no more then what in Conscience, Equity, and Reason we are Bound to do. But we must have a care all this while, not to run into False Consequences for want of laying Things and Things together; and to Sham Fallacyes upon the World for Current Reason, as the Nightingale was taken Singing in the Day when she was at Liberty. And what's This to her Resolution of Singing only in the Night, now she's in the Cage.

[Page 137]

 


 

FAB. CLXIII. A Boy and Cockles.

SOme People were Roasting of Cockles, and they Hiss'd in the Fire. Well (says a block-headed Boy) These are Villanous Creatures sure, to Sing when their Houses are a-fire over their Heads.

The MORAL.

Nothing can be Well that's out of Season.

REFLEXION.

THERE's a Time for Jest, and a Time for Earnest, and it is a Dangerous Mistake, not to Distinguish the One from the Other. The Fool's Conceit here had both Clownery, and ill Nature in't, for there's Nothing more Brutal, or Barbarous, then the Humour of Insulting over the Miserable; Nothing more Contrary to Humanity, and Common Sense, then this Scandalous Way of Grinning and Jeering out of Season. But a Childish Conceit does well enough out of the Mouth of a Foolish Boy; for it is but Congruous, that Silly People should be pleas'd with Silly Words, and Things.

 


 

FAB. CLXIV. Two Travellers and a Bag of Money.

AS Two Travellers were upon the Way together, One of 'em Stoops, and Takes up Something. Look ye here (says he) I have found a Bag of Money: No says T'other, When Two Friends are together, You must not say [I] have found it, but [WE] have found it. The Word was no sooner Out, but immediately comes a Hue and Cry after a Gang of Thieves that had taken a Purse upon the Road. Lord! Brother (says He that had the Bag) We shall be Utterly Undone. Oh Phy, says T'other, You must not say [WE] shall be undone, but [I] shall be undone; for if I'm to have no Part in the Finding, you must not think I'll go Halves in the Hanging.

The MORAL.

They that will Enter into Leagues and Partnerships, must take the Good and the Bad One with Another.

[Page 138]

REFLEXION.

THE Doctrine of This Fable is according to Reason, and Nature. People that are not Allow'd to be Sharers with their Companions in Good Fortune, will hardly ever agree to be Sharers in Bad. An Open, and an Honest Candor of Mind carries a Body Safe and Dry through all Ways and Weathers; Whereas in shifting and shuffling, a Man puts himself off his Guard; and the same Rule that serves him at One time, will not serve him at Another, Men are willing enough to have Part'ners in Loss, but not in Profit; and 'tis not the Traveller alone that cries [I] have found a Purse of Gold, and then Changes his Note upon the Hue and Cry, and says [WE] shall be Hang'd for't; but 'tis the Course of All People of Intrigue, to give Every thing two Faces, and to Deal with the World, as the Spark did with the Oracle. The Bird shall be dead or living, which himself Pleases.

To Emprove the Moral yet a little farther, we have a Thousand Disappointments in the Ordinary Course of Life to Answer This in the Fable. Many a Man finds this Purse of Gold in a Mistress, in a Bottle, in an Office, and in All other the vain Satisfactions of This World: And what's the End on't at last, but when he has Compass'd his Longing, Gratify'd his Appetite, or, as he fancies, made his Fortune perhaps: He grows presently Sick of his Purchase; His Conscience is the Hue and Cry That pursues him, and when he reckons upon it that he has gotten a Booty, he has only caught a Tartar. The Bag of Money burnt the Poor Fellow's Fingers in the very Taking of it up.

 


 

FAB. CLXV. Two Neighbour-Frogs.

THere were Two Neighbour-Frogs; One of them Liv'd in a Pond, and the Other in the High-way hard-by. The Pond-Frog finding the Water begin to fail upon the Road, would fain have gotten T'other Frog over to her in the Pool; where she might have been Safe; but she was wonted to the Place, she said, and would not Remove. And what was the End on't now, but the Wheel of a Cart drove over her a while after, and Crush'd her to pieces?

The MORAL.

Some People are so Listless and Slothful, that they'l rather lie still and Die in a Ditch, then stir one Finger to Help themselves out on't.

REFLEXION.

CUSTOM is Another Nature; and what betwixt Obstinacy, and Sloth, let it be never so ill, and inconvenient, People are very Hard yet to Quit it. [Page 139] He that does Nothing at all, does Worse then He, that upon the Account of Humane Frailty, does Amiss; for Nothing can be more contrary to God Himself, who is a Pure Act, then the Sleeping and Drowsing away of our Life and Reason, that was given us for so many Better Purposes. The Frog in the High-way here, is the Lively Figure of such a Man; for a Life of Sloth is the Life of a Log, rather then the Life of a Reasonable Creature. 'Tis as much as a Body can well do, even with the Uttermost of his Prudence and Industry, to Rub through the Difficulties of the World, though he should keep himself perpetually a Doing. There is not perchance a more Insupportable Misery in Nature, then it would be, to put the Body into a Frame, that should keep it always in the same Posture. What can be said Worse of Slothfulness now, when the very Vice is Equal to the most Exquisite of Torments? It is odious to God and Man, Useless to the World, Irksome to it Self, Miserable in All Estates, and utterly Incapable, either of Tasting or Enjoying any thing of Comfort. The Frog was us'd to the Place, she said, and rather then Stir to help her self, there she lay till her Guts were pash'd out.

 


 

FAB. CLXVI. A Bee-master.

THere came a Thief into a Bee-Garden in the Absence of the Master, and Robb'd the Hives. The Owner Discover'd it upon his Return, and stood Pausing a while to Be-think himself, how This should come to pass. The Bees, in This Interim, came Laden home out of the Fields from Feeding, and Missing their Combs, they fell Powdering in Swarms upon their Master. Well (says he) you are a Company of Senceless and Ungrateful Wretches, to let a Stranger go away Quietly that has Rifled ye, and to bend All your Spite against your Master, that is at this Instant Beating his Brains how he may Repair and Preserve ye.

The MORAL.

'Tis the Course of the World for People to take their Friends for their Foes, and to Use them accordingly.

REFLEXION.

THE Mistake of a Friend for an Enemy, or of an Enemy for a Friend, is one of the most Pernicious Errors of a Rash Man's Life; for there's Judgment, good Nature, Generosity, Justice, common Prudence, and All at Stake. Nothing can be more Disobliging to a Friend on the One hand, or more Ruinous to my self on the Other. Charity however bids me Hope and Think the Best, provided at the Same Time, that I Secure the main Chance. Now this Caution holds as well in Politiques, as in Morals; [Page 140] and in Publique Cases▪ as well as in Private; for there is Nothing more Frequent, then for People to take their Oppressors for their Protectors, and their Protectors for Oppressors: As the Bees here Spar'd the Thief and fell foul upon their Keeper. This is the very Humour of the Mobile when they Mistake their Man.

 


 

FAB. CLXVII. A Kingsfisher.

THE Kingsfisher is a Solitary Bird, that Wonts commonly by the Water-side, and Nestles in Hollow Banks to be out of reach of the Fowlers. One of These Birds happen'd to be forraging abroad for her Young Ones, and in This Interim, comes a Raging Torrent, that washes away Nest, Birds and all. Upon her Return, finding how 'twas with her, she brake out into This Exclamation: Unhappy Creature that I am! to fly from the bare Apprehension of One Enemy, into the Mouth of Another.

The MORAL.

'Tis many a wise Man's Hap, while he is providing against One Danger to fall into Another: And for his very Providence to turn to his Destruction.

REFLEXION.

MANY People apprehend Danger Where there's None, and fancy themselves to be Out of Danger where there's most of All. As the Fellow gave God Thanks at Sea when the Ship Struck upon a Sand, for bringing him into Shallow Water again, where he could feel the Bottom. This is to Mind us, That there is No State of Life so Secure, as not to lie Open to a Thousand Difficulties and Dangers; and that it is not Possible for the Wit of Man to Provide against All Contingencies. There's No Fence against Inundations, Earth-quakes, Hurricanes, Pestilential Vapours and the like; and therefore it is Our Part, and Duty, to Hope, and Endeavor the Best, and at the Same Time to provide for the Worst that can Befall Us. That which cannot be Helpt, must be Born.

 


 

FAB. CLXVIII. Fishing in Troubled Waters.

A Fisher-man had Order'd his Net, for a Draught, and still as he was Gathering it up, he Dash'd the Water, to Fright the Fish into the Bag. Some of the Neighbourhood that look'd [Page 141] on, told him he did ill to muddle the Water so, and Spoil their Drink. Well (says he) But I must either Spoil your Drink, or have Nothing to Eat my self.

The MORAL.

There's no Engaging the Mobile in a Sedition till their Heads are so muddled first with Frights and Visions, That they can neither See, Hear, nor Understand.

REFLEXION.

THIS Allegory is frequently Applied to those that make Advantage to Themselves by Embroyling the Publique; and set their Country A-fire for the Roasting of their Own Eggs. 'Tis the Only Trade that many People have to Live by, and the most Profitable Trade too, when the Occasion lies Fair for their Purpose. 'Tis with the Common People in this Case, just as 'tis with Fishes: Trouble the Waters, so that they cannot see their Way before them, and you Have 'em Sure in the Bag before they know where they are.

 


 

FAB. CLXIX. An Ape and a Dolphin.

PEople were us'd in the Days of Old, to carry Gamesome Puppies and Apes with 'em to Sea, to pass away the Time withall. Now there was One of these Apes, it seems, aboard a Vessel that was cast away in a very great Storm. As the Men were Paddling for their Lives, and the Ape for Company, a Certain Dolphin that took him for a Man, got him upon his Back, and was making towards Land with him. He had him into a Safe Road call'd the Pyraeus, and took occasion to Ask the Ape, whether he was an Athenian or not? He told him Yes, and of a very Ancient Family there. Why then (says the Dolphin) You know Pyraeus: Oh! exceedingly well, says T'other. (taking it for the Name of a Man) Why Pyraeus is my very Particular Good Friend. The Dolphin, upon This, had such an Indignation for the Impudence of the Buffoon-Ape, that he gave him the Slip from between his Legs, and there was an End of my very Good Friend, the Athenian.

The MORAL.

Bragging, Lying, and Pretending, has Cost many a Man his Life and Estate.

[Page 142]

REFLEXION.

THIS is the Humour of a great many Travelling Men, as well as Travelling Apes: Men that will be Talking of Places that they never Saw, and of Persons that they never Heard of. Their Whole Conversation is made up of Councels and Intrigues, Reasons of State, Embassies, and Negotiations, that they never were skill'd in at all. Neither Men, Books, nor Sciences come Amiss to 'em: And after All This Extravagant Bussle, a Gay Coat and a Grimace is the Upshot of what they can Pretend to. These Phantomes however are Sometimes taken for Men, and born up by the Wellmeaning Ignorant Common People, as the Ape was here by the Dolphin; till in the Conclusion, their Sillyness lays them Open, Their Supporters give them the Slip, and down they Drop, and Vanish. How many of These Empty Chattering Fops have we daily put upon us, for Men of Sense and Bus'ness; that with Balzack's Prime Minister, shall Spend ye Eight and Forty Hours together Poring over a Map, to look for Aristocracy and Democracy, instead of Croatia and Dalmatia, and take the Name of a Country for a Form of Government; Without any more ado, we have Apes in History, as well as in Fiction, and not a Rush matter whether they go on Four Legs, or on Two.

 


 

FAB. CLXX. Mercury and a Statuary.

MErcury had a Great Mind once to Learn what Credit he had in the World, and he knew no Better VVay, then to Put on the Shape of a Man, and take Occasion to Discourse the Matter, as by the By, with a Statuary: So away he went to the House of a Great Master, where, among Other Curious Figures, he saw several Excellent Pieces of the Gods. The first he Cheapen'd was a Iupiter, which would have come at a very Easy Rate. Well (says Mercury) and what's the Price of that Iuno There? The Carver set That a Little Higher. The next Figure was a Mercury, with his Rod and his Wings, and All the Ensigns of his Commission. Why, This is as it should be, says he, to Himself: For here am I in the Quality of Iupiter's Messenger, and the Patron of Artizans, with all my Trade about me: And now will This Fellow ask me Fifteen Times as much for This as he did for T'other: And so he put it to him, what he Valu'd that Piece at: VVhy truly, says the Statuary, you seem to be a Civil Gentleman, give me but my Price for the Other Two, and you shall e'en have That into the Bargain.

[Page 143]

The MORAL.

This is to put the Vanity of Those Men out of Countenance, that by Setting too High a Value upon Themselves, appear by so much the more Despicable to Others.

REFLEXION.

'TIS an Old Saying, That Listners never hear Well of Themselves; and Mercury's Curiosity Sped accordingly in This Fable. All Vain Men that Affect Popularity, are apt to Fancy, that Other People have the same Opinion of Them, that they have of Themselves; but Nothing goes Nearer the Heart of 'em, then to Meet with Contempt, instead of Applause, Esteem, and Reputation. They Muster up All their Commissions and Charters; as Mercury Values himself here, upon the Relation he had to Iupiter; Whose Pimp he is, and What's his Bus'ness. He gives to Understand also what a Friend the Artizans had at Court, and All too Little, to Gain him the Respect, but so much as of a Common Messenger.

 


 

FAB. CLXXI. Mercury and Tiresias.

MErcury had a Great Mind to try if Tiresias was so Famous a Diviner as the World took him for, or not. So he went and Stole Tiresias's Oxen; and Order'd the Matter, to be in the Company with Tiresias, as upon Bus'ness by the By, when the News should be brought him of the Loss of his Oxen. Mercury went to Tiresias in the Shape of a Man, and the Tidings came as Mercury had Contriv'd it: Upon This, he took Mercury up to a High Tower, Hard by, and bad him look Well about him, and tell him what Birds he saw. Why, says Mercury, I see an Eagle upon Wing there, that takes her Course from the Right-hand to the Left. That Eagle (says Tiresias) is nothing to Our Purpose; wherefore Pray look again once. Mercury stood Gazing a while, and then told Tiresias of a Crow he had Discover'd upon a Tree, that was One while looking up into the Air, and Another while Down towards the Ground: That's enough; (says Tiresias) for This Motion of the Crow, is as much as to say, I do Appeal to Heaven, and to Earth, that the Man that is Now with Tiresias, can help him to his Oxen again if He Pleases.

[Page 144]

The MORAL.

This Fable is of a General Application to All Bold and Crafty Thieves and Impostors. It serves also to set forth the Vanity of Wizzards, Fortune-Tellers, and the like.

REFLEXION.

KNAVES Set up these Jugglers, and Fools Maintain them. There must be Forms however, Characters, and Hard Words, Crabbed Looks, and Canting Calculations, for the Colour of the Pretence; but People should have a Care yet, not to take a Confederacy for a Science.

 


 

FAB. CLXXII. A Hound and a Mastiffe.

THere was a Man had Two Dogs; One for the Chace, T'other to look to the House; and whatever the Hound took Abroad, the House-Dog had his Part on't at Home. T'other Grumbled at it, that when He took All the Pains, the Mastiffe should Reap the Fruit of his Labours. Well, says the House-Dog, That's None of my Fault, but my Masters, that has not Train'd me up to Work for my self, but to Eat what others have Provided for me.

The MORAL.

Fathers and Masters have a Great deal to Answer for, if their Children and Servants do not Do as they Should do.

REFLEXION.

MORE People are lost for want of a Good Education and Institution, then for want of Honest and Honourable Inclinations; and These are Miscariages that Parents and Tutors are in a Great Measure to Answer for. We are here given to Understand, that there are Offices of Trust also, as well as Offices of Labour, and the One as Necessary to the Common Good as the Other. The Mastiffe Maintains the Hound, as well as the Hound the Mastiffe; and if the One did not keep the House from being Robb'd, the Other would have Nothing to Eat in't at all. So that This Fable, upon the Whole Matter, will serve for a Political Reading to Princes and Governors, as well as to Masters of Private Families, upon the Reciprocal Use, Benefit, and Necessity of Industry and Protection betwixt Rulers and Subjects, for the Preservation of a Common-wealth: The One Supplies us with what we Want, and the Other Supports Us in the Defence of what we Get, and neither would Signifie any thing to us without the Other.

[Page 145]

 


 

FAB. CLXXIII. An Unhappy Match.

THere was a Man, a Long time ago, that had got a Shrew to his Wife, and there could be No Quiet in the House for her. The Husband was Willing however to make the Best of a Bad Game, and so for Experiment Sake, he sent her away for a While to her Fathers. When he came a little after to take her Home again, Prethee Sweet-heart (says he) How go Matters in the House where thou hast been? Introth, says she, they go I know not How: But there's None of the Family, you must know, can Endure Me: No not so much as the very Hinds and Plough-men; I could Read it in the Faces of Them. Ah Wife! says the Husband, If People that Rise Early and come Home Late, and are all Day out of your Sight, cannot be Quiet for ye, what a Case is your Poor Husband in, that must Spend his Whole Life in your Company.

The MORAL.

When Man and Wife cannot Agree, Prudence will Oblige the One, and Modesty the Other, to put all their Little Controversies into their Pockets, and make the Best of a Bad Game.

REFLEXION.

THERE are more Ways to come to a Right Understanding of Things, then by Question and Answer. There are Certain Contentious Humors that are never to be Pleas'd, and he that Troubles his Head because he cannot Please them, is Worse then a Mad-man. Nay it falls out many times that the very Desire and Endeavour to do it, makes it more Impossible, Especially where People are Imperious and Insulting, as well as Peevish. Now in the Case of this Fable, it may be a Question whether the Wife, or the Woman, was the more Freakish of the Two: For she was still the same Uneasie Fop wherever she was; but the Poor Man however had Enough on't, in Both Capacities; That is to say, as a Common Incumbrance, and as a Particular Ciog.

The Moral is a Piece of Good Councel to All Men that Labour under that Unhappy Circumstance. First, in Prudence, to Try what Help for't: and then in Case of the Last Necessity, to come to some Peremptory Resolution to Deliver Themselves.

[Page 146]

 


 

FAB. CLXXIV. A Wolfe and a Kid.

A Wolfe spy'd out a Straggling Kid, and Pursu'd him. The Kid found that the Wolfe was too Nimble for him, and so turn'd and told him: I perceive I am to be Eaten, and I would gladly Die as Pleasantly as I could: Wherefore, Pray give me but One Touch of Your Pipe before I go to Pot. The Wolfe Play'd, and the Kid Danc'd, and the Noise of the Pipe brought in the Dogs upon him. Well (says the Wolfe) This 'tis when People will be Meddling out of their Profession. My Bus'ness was to Play the Butcher, not the Piper.

The MORAL.

When a Crafty Knave is Infatuated, any Silly Wretch may put Tricks upon him.

REFLEXION.

LET Every Man stick to his Own Part, without Taking Another Man's Trade out of his Hand. This is the Old Moral, but we may Read upon't Another way too. 'Tis a very Unequal Encounter, when Malice, Craft, and Power, are United against the Weak, and the Innocent: Saving where Providence Interposes to the Relief of the one, and to the Infatuation of the Other: As the Wolfe here, that had a Plot upon the Kid, was Confounded by a Counter-Plot of the Kids upon the Wolfe: And such a Counter-Plot it was too, as the Wolfe with All his Sagacity was not able to Smell out. Wherefore let no Man Presume too much upon his Own Strength, either of Body or of Mind; but Consider within himself, that Heaven takes Part with the Oppressed; and that Tyrants Themselves are upon their Behavior to a Superior Power.

 


 

FAB. CLXXV. A Fox and a Crab.

A Fox that was Sharp-set, Surpriz'd a Crab, as he lay out of the Sea upon the Sands, and Carry'd him away. The Crab, when he found that he was to be Eaten, Well (says he) This comes of Meddling where we have Nothing to do; for My Bus'ness lay at Sea, not upon the Land.

The MORAL.

No Body Pities a Man for any Misfortune that Befalls him, in Matters out of his Way, Bus'ness, or Calling.

[Page 147]

REFLEXION.

EVERY Man has his Post Assign'd him, and in That Station he is Well, if he can but Think himself so; and He that cannot keep himself Well, when he is Well, may Thank Himself: But Men of Curiosity and Levity can never be at Rest; for let their Present State be what it will, it never Pleases them. They have a Sickly Uneasiness upon them, which Way soever they lye, or in what Condition soever they are; no Place, no Posture, no State, either of Life or of Fortune agrees with 'em, but they run-on, Shifting, and Changing, from One Error, and from One Qualm, to Another; Hankering after Novelties, and Trying New Experiments. We are Naturally given to be Peeping into Forbidden Secrets, and Groping in the Dark after we know not what. We never Think of the Main Bus'ness of Life, till a Vain Repentance Minds us of it at the Wrong End on't, and then, with the Crab in the Fable, we find that we have been Doing of One thing All this while, when we should have been Doing Another; and Abandoned the Station that God and Nature Allotted us, to our Irreparable Ruine.

 


 

FAB. CLXXVI. A Musician.

A Man that had a very Course Voice, but an Excellent Musique-Room, would be still Practising in that Chamber, for the Advantage of the Eccho. He took such a Conceit upon't, that he must needs be shewing his Parts upon a Publick Theatre, where he Performed So very ill, that the Auditory Hiss'd him off the Stage, and threw Stones at him.

The MORAL.

A Man may Like himself very Well in his Own Glass, and yet the World not Fall in Love with him in Publick. But the Truth on't is, We are Partial in our own Case, and there's no Reading of Our Selves but with Other Mens Eyes.

REFLEXION.

THERE's a Great Difference betwixt an Orator in the Schools, and a Man of Bus'ness upon a Stage of Action. Many a Man that Passes for a Philosopher in Private, behaves himself most Ridiculously in Publick; as what's more Uncouth (with Respect be it spoken) then a Pedant out of his Element? There are Flattering Chambers, as well as Flattering Glasses, and the One Helps out a Bad Voice, as the Other Countenances an ill Favour'd Face: That is to say, the One Drowns the Harshness of the Pipe, as the Other Covers, or Disguises the Coursness of the Complexion. But Men must not think to Walk upon These Stilts, if they come to set up in Publick once; The One, for an Italian Capon, the Other, for an English Beauty: Wherefore [Page 148] it will become All People to Weigh and Measure Themselves, before they Venture upon any Undertaking that may bring their Lives, Honour, or Fortune in Question. Some Songsters can no more Sing in any Chamber but their Own; then some Clarks can Read in any Book but their Own; Put them out of their Road once, and they are Meer Cat-Pipes and Dunces.

 


 

FAB. CLXXVII. Thieves that Stole a Cock.

A Band of Thieves Brake into a House once, and found Nothing in't to Carry away, but One Poor Cock. The Cock said as much for Himself as a Cock could say; but Insisted Chiefly upon the Services of his Calling People up to their Work, when 'twas time to Rise. Sirrah (says one of the Thieves) You had Better have let That Argument Alone; for Your Waking the Family Spoils our Trade, and We are to be Hang'd forsooth for your Bawling.

The MORAL.

That which is One Body's Meat, is Another Body's Poyson; as the Trussing up of Thieves is the Security of Honest Men. One Foolish Word is Enough to Spoil a Good Cause, and 'tis many a Man's Fortune to Cut his Own Throat with his Own Argument.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Hard Matter for a Man that Argues against the Truth, and the Reason of a Thing, to Consist with Himself, for having no Rule to Walk by, 'tis Forty to One but Some time or Other he will lose his Way: Especially when he is to Accommodate his Story to the Various Circumstances of Times, Persons, and Occasions. But it is One Thing to forget Matter of Fact, and Another Thing to blunder upon the Reason of it. It is however, well Worthy of a Sober Man's Care, not to let any thing fall that may be turn'd upon him out of his Own Mouth. This Presence of Mind 'tis true, is not Every bodies Talent; neither does This Consideration Enter into Every bodies Thought; but it were better if it Were so, and so it Ought to be.

 


 

FAB. CLXXVIII. A Crow and a Raven.

YOur Raven has a Reputation in the World for a Bird of Omen, and a kind of small Prophet. A Crow that had Observ'd the Raven's Manner and Way of Delivering his Predictions, [Page 149] sets up for a Foreboder too; and so gets upon a Tree, and there stands Nodding and Croaking, just over the Head of some People that were Passing by. They were a little Surpriz'd at first; but so soon as they saw how 'twas. Come, my Masters (says One of the Company) let's e'en go forward, for This is but the Chattering of a Foolish Crow, and it signifies Nothing.

The MORAL.

How are Superstitious Men Hagg'd Out of their Wits and Senses, with the Fancy of Omens, Forebodings, Old Wives Tales and Visions; and upon a Final Examination of the Matter, Nothing at all in the Bottom on't!

REFLEXION.

THE Affectation of Powers and Faculties, that are Above us, is not only Vain, and Unprofitable, but Ridiculous; for the Matter, upon Examination, will not abide the Test. Your Empyricks, Piss-Pot-Prophets, Fortune-Tellers, and Buffoon-Pretenders to State and Government, fall under the Lash of This Moral. And so do All your little Smatterers in Arts and Siences of what Kind, or Quality soever: But there goes more to the Making of a Prophet, then Nodding, and Croaking. 'Tis not the Gown and the Cap that Makes the Doctor; Neither is it the Supercilious Gravity of Countenances and Forms, that presently Dubbs any Man a Philosopher. Not but that a Fool may Put himself in the Garb, and so far Imitate the Meen, and Motions of a Wise-man, as at first Blush to Put a Body to a Stand what to Make of him: But upon further Consideration, the Original is as Easily known from the Copy, as the Ass in his borrow'd Skin was from the Lyon: Or I might have said, as the Crow here from the Raven: Their Ears and their Tongues Betray them.

 


 

FAB. CLXXIX. A Crow and a Dog.

A Crow Invited a Dog to Joyn in a Sacrifice to Minerva. That will be to no Purpose (says the Dog) for the Goddess has such an A version to ye, that you are Particularly Excluded out of all Auguries. Ay, says the Crow, but I'll Sacrifice the rather to her for That, to try if I can make her my Friend.

The MORAL.

We find it in the Practice of the World, that Men take up Religion more for Fear, Reputation, and Interest, then for True Affection.

[Page 150]

REFLEXION.

THIS Pagan Fable will bear a Christian Moral, for more People Worship for Fear, and for Interest, then for Love and Devotion. As the Indians do the Devils, That they may not Hurt 'em. It Teaches us farther, that we are not to take Pet, or Despond, under any Cross or Calamity that the Almighty is pleased to lay upon us. The Judgments of Heaven are Just, and let them fall never so Heavy, they are yet less then we deserve. The Devil Himself, when he was let loose upon Iob, could not Transport That Patient, Good Man beyond his Temper, or make him Quit his Hold. Resignation and Perseverance are All that a Man has to Trust to in This Extremity. There's no Good to be done by Struggling, nor any way left us to make our Peace with, but to try by Faith, Prayer, and a New Life, if we can make our Offended Master Once again our Friend. So that upon the Upshot, Afflictions are but the Methods of a Merciful Providence, to Force us upon the only Means of setting Matters Right, betwixt Divine Justice and Humane Frailty.

 


 

FAB. CLXXX. A Raven and a Snake.

AS a Snake lay Lazing at his Length, in the Gleam of the Sun, a Raven Took him up, and Flew away with him. The Snake kept a Twisting and Turning, till he Bit the Raven, and made him Curse himself for being such a Fool, as to Meddle with a Purchace that had cost him his Life.

The MORAL.

Nature has made All the Necessaries of Life, Safe and Easie to us, but if we will be Hankering after Things that we Neither Want nor Understand, we must take our Fortune, even if Death it Self should happen to be in the Case.

REFLEXION.

IF Men would but Ballance the Good and the Evil of Things, the Profit and the Loss, they would not Venture Soul, Body, and Reputation, for a Little Dirty Interest. 'Tis much the same Thing betwixt Us, and our Sensual Acquisitions, that it is betwixt the Raven and the Snake here. Men of Eager Appetites Chop at what comes next, and the Purchase seldom fails of a Sting in the Tayl on't. Nor is it to be Expected, that Passion without Reason should Succeed better. Our Senses are Sharp-set upon All Fleshly Pleasures, and if they be but Fair to the Eye, Rellishing to the Palate, Harmonious to the Ear, Gentle to the Touch, and Fragrant to the Smell, 'tis all we Look for, and all we Care for. 'Tis true, all This while, that our very Nature Requires a Dose of These Enjoyments; nay, and that Providence [Page 151] it self does not only Allow, but Prescribe it; for the Common Comfort and Benefit of Humane Society, and of Mankind; for Life would be no longer Life without it. But the Crime and the Danger lies in the Excess, and in the Immoderate Love and Use of them. Was not the Apple in Paradise Fair to the Eye, and Grateful to the Tast, and yet there was Death in't. What were the Poets Sirens, but Figures of our Seducers, that Charm us by the Ear, and Tempt us to leap Over-board: That is to say, by Debauching us into False Doctrines and Opinions, which do but Answer, In the One side, the Moral of the Songs on the Other. And so for the Touch, and the Smell, the Former 'tis true, has made more Havock in the World, but yet a Man may be Poyson'd with a Perfume, as well as with a Nauseous Potion. To Conclude, we have Snakes in our Beds, in our Cups, in our Dishes, and whoever dips too deep, will find Death in the Pot.

 


 

FAB. CLXXXI. A Daw and Pigeons.

A Daw took Particular Notice of the Pigeons in such a Certain Dove-House, that they were very Well Fed, and Provided for: So he Went and Painted himself of a Dove-Colour, and took his Commons with the Pigeons. So long as he kept his Own Counsel, he Pass'd for a Bird of the Same Feather; but it was his Hap once at Unawares, to Cry [KAW,] upon which Discovery, they Beat him out of the House, and when he came to his Old Companions again, They'd have None of him neither; so that he Lost himself Both Ways by This Disguise.

The MORAL.

He that Trims betwixt Two Interests, loses himself with Both, when he comes to be Detected, for being True to Neither.

REFLEXION.

This is to Caution us against All Superfluous and Dangerous Desires. Our Own Lot is Best, and by Aiming at what we have Not, and what is Impossible to be had, we lose what we have already. No Man goes out of Himself but to his Loss. Imitation is Servile, let it be Where, How, and What it will. Nature Points out to us which way Every Man's Talent and Genius lies; and He that keeps to his Own Province, or Biass, speeds Best. The Painting of the Daw like a Pigeon, did not make him One, neither can any Man do himself Right in Another bodies Shape: Besides, that when he is once Out, 'tis Hard to find his Way Home again. The Hypocrite is never so far from being a Good Christian, as when he looks Likest One. 'Tis much a Case with a Faction in a Government, and a Daw in a Pigeon-House. There's a Fraud driven on, and they Assimilate themselves, as much as may be, to the Interest they Propose to be the Better for. They [Page 152] put on all Appearances in Matter of Opinion, Practice and Pretence, Suitable to the Humour they are to Joyn withall: But still Some Unlucky Accident or Other happens to Discover them in the End; and then, when they would go off again, the People of their Own Plume and Colour Beat 'em away, and Refuse to Entertain them. This is no more then what we find to be True in All Turns of State. Double-Dealers may Pass Muster for a While, but All Parties Wash their Hands of them in the Conclusion.

 


 

FAB. CLXXXII. A Daw with a String at's Foot.

A Country Fellow took a Daw and ty'd a String to his Leg; and so gave him to a Little Boy to Play withal. The Daw did not much like his Companion, and upon the First Opportunity gave him the Slip, and away into the Woods again, where he was Shackled and Starv'd. When he came to Die, he Reflected upon the Folly of Exposing his Life in the Woods, rather then Live in an Easie Servitude among Men.

The MORAL.

'Tis Fancy, not the Reason of Things, that makes Life so Uneasie to us as we Find it. 'Tis not the Place, nor the Condition; but the Mind Alone that can make any Body Miserable or Happy.

REFLEXION.

MEN that are Impatient under Imaginary Afflictions, change commonly for Worse, as the Daw did here in the Fable, that Threw himself into a Starving Necessity, rather then he would Submit to the Tolerable Inconvenience of an Easie Restraint. This was a Republican Daw, that Kaw'd for Liberty, not Understanding that he that Lives under the Bondage of Laws, is in a State of Freedom: And that Popular Liberty, when it passes Those Bounds, is the most Scandalous Sort of Slavery. Nothing would serve him, but he must be at his Own Disposal, and so away he goes, Carries his String along with him, and Shackles Himself. This is just the Humour and the Fate of Froward Subjects. They Fancy themselves Uneasie under the Errors of a Male-administration of Government, when their Quarrel strikes, in truth, at the very Root and Conditions of Government it self. It is as Impossible for a Government to be without Faults, as for a Man to be so. But Faults or No Faults, It comes yet much to a Case; for where they cannot Find 'em, they can Create them; And there goes no more to't neither, then the Calling of Necessary Justice by the Name of Oppression. And what's the End on't, more then This now? They Run away from their Masters into the Woods, and there with Esop's Daw, they either Starve, or Hang Themselves.

[Page 153]

 


 

FAB. CLXXXIII. Iupiter and Fraud.

JUpiter Appointed Mercury to make him a Composition of Fraud and Hypocrisie, and to give Every Artificer his Dose on't, The Medicine was Prepar'd according to the Bill, and the Proportions duly Observ'd, and Divided: Only there was a great deal too Much of it made, and the Overplus remain'd still in the Morter. Upon Examining the Whole Account, there was a Mistake it seems, in the Reck'ning; for the Taylors were forgott'n in the Catalogue: So that Mercury, for Brevity sake, gave the Taylors the Whole Quantity that was Left; and from hence comes the Old Saying; There's Knavery in All Trades, but Most in Taylors.

The MORAL.

It is in some sort Natural to be a Knave. We were Made so, in the very Composition of our Flesh and Blood; Only Fraud is call'd Wit in One Case, Good Husbandry in Another, &c. while 'tis the Whole Bus'ness of the World for One Man to Couzen Another.

REFLEXION.

LYING and Couzening is a General Practice in the World, tho' it appears in some Men, and in some Trades, more then in other. Aesop is still Introducing some or other of the Gods, to Countenance the Corruptions of Flesh and Blood: And since Custom and Interest will have it so, that all Tradesmen must use Fraud, more or less, even in their own Defence, the Practice being in some sort so Necessary, 'tis not amiss to bring in Iupiter to justifie it. But why is this False and Double Dealing apply'd to Tradesmen only, when it is Common to Mankind? And why among them, to Taylors above the Rest? when all the Bus'ness that passes in this World betwixt Man and Man is Manag'd by Collusion and Deceit, in as High a Measure: So that the Composition might have been as well Prepar'd for Humane Nature. Are we not False, in Our Pretended Civilities, Formal Complements, and Respects; in our Confidences, and in our Professions? Are we not False, in Promising, and Breaking? Is not He that Robs me of my Good Name, a more Abominable Cheat, then He that Couzens me of a Yard of Damask? Is not He that Betrays me in his Arms, a more Detestable Wretch then He that Contents Himself in the Way of his Trade, to Pick my Pocket? Without any more Words, we are All Jugglers in some Kind, or in some Degree or Other. But there's this to be said for't yet, that we Play Foul by Consent. We Couzen in our Words, and in our Actions; only we are Agreed upon't, that such and such Forms of Civility, like some Adulterate Quoins, shall pass Current for so Much. A Fashionable Imposture, or Hypocrisie, shall be call'd Good [Page 154] Manners, and so we make a shift in some sort to Legitimate the Abuse. In Iupiter's appointing these Frauds, we read the Power of Humane Frailty that Disposes us to Entertain them: For we are False enough by Nature without any need of Prescription.

 


 

FAB. CLXXXIV. Iupiter and Modesty.

MAN was made in such a Hurry (according to the Old Fable) that Iupiter had forgotten to put Modesty into the Composition, among his other Affections; and finding that there was no Way of Introducing it afterwards, Man by Man, he Propos'd the turning of it Loose among the Multitude: Modesty took her self at first to be a Little hardly Dealt withal, but in the End, came over to Agree to't, upon Condition that Carnal Love might not be suffer'd to come into the same Company; for wherever that comes, says she, I'm Gone.

The MORAL.

Sensual Love knows neither Bars nor Bounds. We are all Naturally Impudent; only by Custom, and Fig-leaves, we have been taught to Disguise the Matter, and Look Demurely; and that's it which we call Modesty.

REFLEXION.

THE Extravagant Heats and Transports of Lovers, and Voluptuaries, take away all Shame. This Fable Hints to us the Wild Extravagances of an Unbridled Appetite, and that till that Devil be laid, there can be no Thought of Lodging Carnal Love and Modesty under the same Roof. Iupiter's forgetting Modesty in the Composition of Man, Intimates the Difficulty of Admitting it, till Flesh and Blood has done the Friendly Office towards the Peopling of the World; for there's hardly any Place for Councel, till these Heats are in some Measure taken off; and it is no Wonder, that when Love comes to be without Reason, it should be without Modesty too; for when 'tis once past Government, it is consequently past Shame. When Our Corruptions, in fine, are Strong, and Our Understandings Weak, we are apter to Hearken to the Motions of the Blood, and to the Vain Imaginations of a Deprav'd Affection, then to the Dry Doctrines and Precepts of Authority and Vertue.

This Difficulty of keeping Young and Hot Blood in Order, does mightily Enforce the Necessity of an Early Care for the Training up of Children, and giving them a Tincture, before it be too Late, of those Doctrines and Principles, by which they are afterward to Govern the Whole Frame of their Lives. For in their Tender Years they are more Susceptible of Profitable and Vertuous Impressions, then afterwards, when they come to be Sollicited by the Impulse of Common, and Vulgar Inclinations. They [Page 155] should in Truth, be kept out of Distance, of either Seeing or Hearing Ill Examples: Especially in an Age that is Govern'd more by President then by Reason.

 


 

FAB. CLXXXV. Iupiters Wedding.

WHen the Toy had once taken Iupiter in the Head to Enter into a State of Matrimony, he Resolv'd for the Honour of his Celestial Lady, that the Whole World should keep a Festival upon the Day of his Marriage, and so Invited all Living Creatures, Tag-Rag and Bob-Tail, to the Solemnity of his Wedding. They all came in very Good Time, saving only the Tortoise. Iupiter told him 'twas Ill done to make the Company Stay, and Ask'd him, Why so Late? Why rruly says the Tortoise, I was at Home, at my Own House, my Dearly Beloved House, and [Home is Home, let it be never so Homely. Iupiter took it very Ill at his Hands, that he should think himself Better in a Ditch, then in a Palace, and so he pass'd this Judgment upon him; that since he would not be perswaded to come out of his House upon that Occasion, he should never Stir abroad again from that Day forward, without his House upon his Head.

The MORAL.

There's a Retreat of Sloth and Affectation, as well as of Choice and Virtue; and a Beggar may be as Proud and as Happy too in a Cottage, as a Prince in a Palace.

REFLEXION.

WE are to Learn from hence (says the Old Moral) that there's no Trifling, Dallying, or Delaying with Men in Power: And that Contentment in a Mean Condition at Home, is beyond all the Luxurious Treats in the World, Abroad, with Pomp and Envy. The Danger of Trifling with Great Men does not come up methinks, to the Full Force, and Intent of this Fable, which seems rather to set forth the Mistakes of Impotent Greatness, in Mis-judging the Test and Standard of Humane Happiness. What's a Voluptuous Dinner, and the Frothy Vanity of Discourse that commonly attends these Pompous Entertainments? What is it but a Mortification, to a Man of Sense and Virtue, to spend his time among People that take Good for Evil, and Punish where they should Reward, and Reward where they should Punish! The Tortoise was Forbidden the Court; That is to say, he was Banished from the sight of Vain, Wicked, and Unprofitable Examples. Iupiter gave the Tortoise the Honour of an Invitation, but that Honour was yet to the Poor Tortoise's Loss; for He that's Transported out of his Nature, and out of his Element, let the Change be what it will, is a Loser by the Bargain. A Plain, and a Homely Home, with Competency and Content, [Page 156] is beyond all the Palaces under the Heavens; The Pomp, the Plenty, and the Pleasures of them over and above. To say nothing of the Surfeits that are gotten by Excesses of Eating and Drinking; The Restless Nights, Factious Emulations, Fewds, and Disgusts that Attend them: Beside the Slavery of being Ty'd up to other Peoples Hours, Meals, and Fashions. He that has no Ambition, is Happy in a Cell, or in a Cottage; whereas the Ambitious Man is Miserable, even upon a Throne. He that thinks he has not Enough, Wants, and He that Wants is a Beggar.

The Tortoise came Late, for he came Unwillingly, which is the Case of many a Worthy Man that Sacrifices his Peace to Formalities of Complement, and Good Manners. Iupiter took Snuff at the Contempt, and Punish'd him for't. And what was the Punishment? He sent him Home again. That is to say, He Remanded him to his Lot, and to his Choice. Such, in Short, is the Felicity of a Moderate, and a Steady Mind, that all Comforts are Wrapt up in't; for Providence turns the very Punishment of a Good-Man, into an Equivalence to a Reward, by Improving that to his Advantage, which was intended for his Ruine; and making the Tortoise's Banishment a Blessing to him.

 


 

FAB. CLXXXVI. A Wolfe and a Sheep.

A Wolfe that lay Licking of his Wounds, and Extremely Faint, and Ill, upon the Biting of a Dog, call'd out to a Sheep that was Passing by, Heark ye Friend (says he) if thou wouldst but Help me to a Soup of Water out of that same Brook there, I could make a Shift to get my self somewhat to Eat. Yes, says the Sheep, I make no Doubt on't; but when I bring ye Drink, my Carcass shall serve ye for Meat to't.

The MORAL.

It is a Charitable and a Christian Office to Relieve the Poor and the Distressed; but this Duty does not Extend to Sturdy Beggars, that while they are Receiving Alms with One Hand, are ready to Beat out a Man's Brains with the Other.

REFLEXION.

THAT Sheep has a Blessed Time on't that runs on a Wolves Errand: But Aesop's Sheep have more Wit, I perceive, then many of our Domestique Innocents. 'Tis a Court-Master-Piece, to draw Chesnuts out of the Fire with other Peoples Fingers; and to Complement a Man into a Post of Honour, a-purpose to have him Knock'd o'th' Head in't: Now the Sheep's Case in the Fable, is but an Every-days Case in the World; when People are divided betwixt Charity and Discretion, how far to go, and where to stop. In Offices of This Doubtful Quality, We have only This General Rule to Walk by, that when we have to do with [Page 157] Known Wolves, we Know likewise that they are not to be Consided in. But this Wolfe (I must Confess) with a Lambskin over his Shoulders, might have past Muster for a Gospeller in Sheeps Cloathing; which would have made it a more Dangerous Imposture. We are to Gather from hence, that there's no Trusting to the Fair Words and Appearances of a False, and a Malicious Enemy; for their very Kindnesses are no better then Snares. Treachery is a kind of a Lay-Hypocrisy, and they are Equally Odious both to God and Man: Over and above the Corrupting of our Manners, the Hardening of our Hearts; the Dissolving of all the Bonds of Faith, Confidence and Society, and the Extinguishing of Good Nature it self: And all This in our own Defence too.

 


 

FAB. CLXXXVI. Hares, Foxes, and Eagles.

THere goes an Old Story of a Bloudy War betwixt the Hares, and the Eagles; and the Hares would fain have drawn the Foxes into their Alliance, but very Franckly and Civilly, they gave them this Answer, That they would serve them with all their Hearts, if they did not Perfectly Understand both the Hares themselves, and the Enemy they were to Cope withal.

The MORAL.

There's no Ent'ring into any League, without well Examining the Faith, and Strength of the Parties to't.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Folly, to the Highest Degree, for Men to run the Risque of their Lives and Fortunes, by Entring into Leagues with the Weak, against an Adversary that is Manifestly too Strong for them Both. 'Tis Hazzardous to Contract Unequal Friendships and Alliances, and there's an Inequality of Disposition and Humour, as well as of Power. The False are as Dangerous as the Fearful: Only with this Difference, that the One will do a Man Hurt, and the Other can do him no Good. The End of Leagues is Common Assistance and Defence; And he that joyns Interest with those that cannot Help him, stands as single as he did before; which destroys the End of Common Union; for where there's no Hope of a Reciprocal-Aid, there can be no Reason for a Mutual Obligation: And it is the same Thing in Bus'ness, Councel, and Commerce, that it is in Arms and Force. The Case of the Hares and Foxes in a Confederacy against the Eagles, is a Common Case betwixt Kingdoms and Common-wealths.

[Page 158]

 


 

FAB. CLXXXVIII. An Ant formerly a Man.

THE Ant, or Pismire, was formerly a Husband-man, that secretly Filch'd away his Neighbour's Goods and Corn, and stor'd all up in his own Barn. He drew a General Curse upon his Head for't, and Iupiter, as a Punishment, and for the Credit of Mankind, turn'd him into a Pismire; but this Change of Shape wrought no Alteration, either of Mind, or of Manners; for he keeps the same Humour and Nature to This very Day.

The MORAL.

That which Some call Good Husbandry, Industry and Providence, Others call Raking, Avarice, and Oppression: So that the Vertue and the Vice, in Many Cases, are hardly Distinguishable but by the Name.

REFLEXION.

WHEN Vicious Inclinations are brought once, by Custom, and Practice, to be Habitual, the Evil is Desperate, for Nature will be still True to her self, through all Forms and Disguises. And Custom is a Second Nature. By the Poetical Fictions of Men turn'd into the Shape of Beasts, and Insects, we are given to Understand that they do effectually Make themselves so, when they Degenerate from the Dignity of their Kind: So that the Metamorphosis is in their Manners, not in their Figure. When a Reasonable Soul descends to keep Company in the Dirt with Ants, and Beetles, and to Abandon the Whole Man to the Sensuality of Brutal Satisfactions he forfeits his Peerage, and the very Privilege of his Character and Creation; for he's no longer a Man that gives himself wholly up to the Works of a Beast. Only one Word more now, upon the Judgment that Befell the Husband-man, which bids us have a Care of Avarice, Rapine and Oppression; for the Curse of Heaven Attends them.

 


 

FAB. CLXXXIX. Travellers by the Sea-side.

A Company of People that were walking upon the Shore, saw somewhat come Hulling toward them a great Way off at Sea. They took it at first for a Ship, and as it came Nearer, for a Boat only; but it prov'd at last to be no more then a Float of Weeds and Rushes: Whereupon they made this Reflexion within Themselves, We have been Waiting here for a Mighty Bus'ness that comes at last to just Nothing.

[Page 159]

The MORAL.

We Fancy things to be Greater or Less at a Distance, according to Our Interest or Inclination to have them either the One or the Other.

REFLEXION.

THE Doctrine of this Fable is held forth to us in a Thousand Cases of Curiosity, Novelty, &c. We make a Wonderful Matter of Things at a Distance, that Signify Little or Nothing at all, nearer hand. And we are as much Impos'd upon in the Prospect of our Hopes and Fears: The Dangers, and the Blessings that we either Dread, or Propose to our selves, look a great Deal Bigger afar off, then in Effect they are. And what's the Mystery of All this now, but that we judge of Things by False Images and Appearances, without Entring into the True State and Reason of them? So that at this Rate, we divide our Lives betwixt Flattering Illusions, and Restless Apprehensions: Never at Ease, either on the One side, or on the Other. The Mischief is, that we are Over-solicitous about Matters that are out of our Power, and Star-gazing after Futurities; when in truth, our Bus'ness lies just under our Noses; That is to say, in the Attending, and Emproving of Present Opportunities. In few Words, a Wise Man Counts his very Minutes: He lets no Time slip him; for Time is Life: which he makes Long, by the Good Husbandry of a Right Use and Application of it, from One Moment to Another. This is not yet to Exclude the Providence of Tracings Premisses into Consequences, or Causes into their Effects; but to Caution us not to look at the Wrong End of the Glass; and so Invert the Prospect. We see Thing at hand, as they really are, but at a Distance, only as they seem to be Patience and Consideration will set us Right in our Judgments and in our Measures. It is much thereabouts with the Common People too, in the Matter of Remote Grievances. They Represent, and Fancy to Themselves, Hell, Slavery and Damnation, at a Distance, in many a Case, which at hand signifies not so much as a Flea-biting.

 


 

FAB. CLXXXX. A Wild Ass and a Tame.

AS a Tame Ass was Airing himself in a Pleasant Meadow, with a Coat and Carcass in very Good Plight, up comes a Wild one to him from the next Wood, with this short Greeting. Brother (says he) I Envy your Happiness; and so he left him; It was his Hap some short time after this Encounter, to see his Tame Brother, Groaning under a Unmerciful Pack, and a Fellow at his Heels Goading him forward. He Rounds him in the Ear upon't, and Whispers him, My Friend (says he) your Condition is not I Perceive, what I took it to be, for a body may buy Gold too Dear: And I am not for Purchasing Good Looks and Provender at this Rate.

[Page 160]

The MORAL.

Betwixt Envy and Ingratitude, we make Our Selves twice Miserable; out of an Opinion, First, that our Neighbour has too Much; and Secondly, that We our Selves have too Little.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to Caution us against running the Risque of Disappointments that are greater then the Present Inconveniences; and where the Misery, and Hazzard, does more then Countervail the Benefit.

In the Fable of the Horse and the Ass, (Numb. 38.) The Ass finds himself Mistaken in his Opinion, both of the Foundation of Happiness, and of the Stability of it. His Mistake in This, looks another way; for he took his Brother to be Happy when he was not so; Even according to his own Standard: But we are too too apt to think other People more Happy, and our selves Less, then in Truth, They, or We are: Which Savours of a Malevolence on the One hand, and an Ingratitude on the Other. Nay it falls out many times, that the Envious Persons are rather to be Envy'd of the Two. What had the Wild Ass here to Complain of, or the Tame One to be Envy'd for? The Former was but in the Plight that Wild Asses usually are; and in truth ought to be. When they are in the Woods they are at Home, and a Forrest-Life, to them, is but according to Nature. As to the State and Rudeness of his Body, 'tis but Answerable to the Condition of his Lot. The Tame Ass, 'tis true, was Better Fed, but then he was Harder Wrought, and in the Carrying of Packs, he did but serve Mankind in the Trade that Providence had Assign'd him; for he was made for Burdens. 'Tis a Fine Thing to be Fat and Smooth; but 'tis a Finer Thing to Live at Liberty and Ease.

To speak Properly, and to the Point, there is no such Thing as Happiness or Misery in this World (commonly so Reputed) but by Comparison; neither is there any Man so Miserable, as not to be Happy, or so Happy as not to be Miserable, in some Respect or Other: Only we are apt to Envy our Neigbours the Possession of Those Advantages that we Want, without ever giving Thanks for the Blessings that They Want, and We our selves Enjoy. Now This Mixture in the Distributions of Providence, duly Consider'd, serves to make us Easy, as well as Necessary One to Another; and so to Unite us in a Consistence both of Friendship, and of Civil Convenience: For it is no less Requisite to Maintain a Truck in the Matter of Moral Offices, and Natural Faculties, then in the Common Bus'ness of Negotiation, and Commerce; and Humane Society can no more Subsist without the One, then without the Other. One Man furnishes Brains, Another Mony, a Third, Power, Credit, Mediation, Intelligence, Advice, Labour, Industry: (to say Nothing of a Thousand other Instances Reducible to This Head) so that the Rule of Communication holds as well betwixt Man and Man; as betwixt Country and Country; What One has Not, Another Has, and there is not That Man Living, but in some Case, or Other, stands in Need of his Neighbour. Take away This Correspondence, and the very Frame of all Political Bodies drops to pieces. Every thing is Best in fine, As God has Made it, and where God [Page 161] has Plac'd it. The Tame Ass Wrought Hard, for his Fine Coat, and the Wild one Far'd Hard, to Ballance the Comfort of his Freedom.

 


 

FAB. CXCI. Asses to Iupiter.

THE Asses found themselves once so Intolerably Oppressed, with Cruel Masters, and Heavy Burdens, that they sent their Ambassadors to Iupiter with a Petition for Redress. Iupiter found the Request Unreasonable, and so gave them This Answer, That Humane Society could not be Preserv'd without Carrying Burdens some way or other: So that if they would but Joyn, and Piss up a River, that the Burdens which they now Carry'd by Land might be carried by Water, they should be Eas'd of That Grievance. This set them All a Pissing Immediately, and the Humour is kept up to This very Day, that whenever One Ass Pisses, the Rest Piss for Company.

The MORAL.

'Tis the Uttermost Degree of Madness and Folly, to Appeal from Providence and Nature.

REFLEXION.

THE Decrees and Appointments of Heaven are Unchangeable, and there's no Contending. How many Popular Counter-parts of the Asses Petition to Iupiter for Redress of Grievances, have we liv'd to see within our own Memory, and all, for Things, not only Unreasonable, but utterly Impossible. We read however in the Answer, the Quality, and the Reproach of the Prayer, which is Granted upon Conditions as Impracticable, as the Thing desir'd is Ridiculous.

The Asses are here Complaining (after the Way of the Mobile) for being put to the very Use and Bus'ness they were Made for; as if it were Cruelty and Oppression to Employ the Necessary Means, which God and Nature has given us, for the Attaining of Necessary Ends. If we Confound Higher and Lower, the World is a Chaos again, and a Level. Is not a Labourer as much a Tool of Providence as the Master-Builder? Are not the Meanest Artisans, of the same Institution with Ministers of Counsel and State? The Head can no more be without the Body, then the Body without the Head; and neither of them without Hands and Feet to Defend, and Provide, both for the One, and for the Other. Government can no more Subsist without Subjection, then the Multitude can Agree without Government: And the Duty of Obeying, is no less of Divine Appointment, then the Authority of Commanding.

[Page 162] Here's a Petition to Iupiter, in Truth, against Himself; and in the Moral, a Complaint to God against Providence; as if the Harmony of Nature, and of the World; The Order of Men, Things, and Bus'ness, were to be Embroil'd, Dissolv'd, or Alter'd, for the sake of so many Asses. What would become of the Universe if there were not Servants as well as Masters? Beasts to Draw, and Carry Burdens, as well as Burdens to be Drawn and Carry'd? If there were not Instruments for Drudgery, as well as Offices of Drudgery: If there were not People to Receive and Execute Orders, as well as others to Give and Authorize them? The Demand, in fine, is Unnatural, and Consequently both Weak and Wicked; And it is likewise as Vain, and Unreasonable, to Ask a Thing that is wholly Impossible. But 'tis the Petition of an Ass at last, which keeps up the Congruity of the Moral to the Fable.

The Ground of the Request, is the Fiction of a Complaint, by reason of Intolerable Burdens. Now we have Grievances to the Life, as well as in Fancy; and Asses in Flesh and Blood too, and in Practice, as well as in Emblem. We have Herds in Society, as well as in the Fields, and in the Forests; And we have English too, as well as Arcadian Grievances. What? (Cries the Multitude) are not our Bodies of the same Clay; and our Souls of the same Divine Inspiration with our Masters? Under These Amusements, the Common People put up so many Appeals to Heaven, from the Powers and Commands of their Lawful Superiors, under the Obloquy of Oppressors; and what Better Answer can be return'd to All their Clamorous Importunities, then This of Iupiter? Which most Emphatically sets forth the Necessity of Discharging the Asses Part; and the Vanity of Proposing to have it done any Other Way. As who should say, the Bus'ness of Humane Nature must be done. Lay your Heads together, and if you can find any way for the doing it, without one sort of People under Another. You shall have Your Asking. But for a Conclusion, He that's born to Work, is out of his Place and Element when he is Idle.

 


 

FAB. CXCII. An Ass and the Frogs.

AN Ass Sunk down into a Bog among a Shoale of Frogs, with a Burden of Wood upon his Back, and there he lay, Sighing and Groaning, as his Heart would Break: Hark ye Friend (says one of the Frogs to him) if you make such a Bus'ness of Lying in a Quagmire, when you are but just fall'n into't, what would you do I Wonder, if You had been here as long as we have been?

The MORAL.

Custom makes things Familiar and Easy to us; but every thing is Best yet in it's own Element.

[Page 163]

REFLEXION.

NATURE has Assign'd Every Creature it's Proper Place and Station; and an Ass in a Bog is out of his Element, and out of his Province. The Fable it self has not Much in't; but it may serve to Teach us in the Moral, that it is a High Point of Honour, and Christianity, to bear Misfortunes, with Resolution, and Constancy of Mind: And that Steadiness, is a Point of Prudence, as well as of Courage; for People are the Lighter, and the Easier for't. But it was an Ass, we see, that Complain'd, and (if a Body may play the Fool with him) he was but an Ass for Complaining: First, of what he could not Help; and 2ly, to be never the Better for't. 'Tis with a Man in Goal, much at the Rate as it was with this Ass in the Bog. He's Sullen and out of Humour at his first coming In; the Pris'ners Gather about him, and there He tells 'em his Case Over and Over I warrant ye. Some make Sport with him; Others Pity him, and this is the Trade they drive for the First Four or Five Days perhaps; but so soon as the Qualm is over, the Man comes to himself again; makes merry with his Companions, and since he cannot be in his Own House, he reckons Himself as good as at Home in the very Prison. 'Tis the same Thing with a Bird in a Cage; when she has Flutter'd her self a Weary, she sits down and Sings. This 'tis to be Wonted to a Things. And were it not a Scandal now, if Philosophy should not do as much with us as Custom, without leaving it to Necessity to do the Office of Vertue. It might be added to this Moral, that what's Natural to One may be Grievous to Another. The Frogs would have been as much at a Loss in the Stable, as the Ass was in the Bog.

 


 

FAB. CXCIII. A Gall'd Ass and a Raven.

AS an Ass with a Gall'd Back was Feeding in a Meadow, a Raven Pitch'd upon him, and there Sate, Jobbing of the Sore. The Ass fell a Frisking and Braying upon't; which set a Groom that saw it at a Distance, a Laughing at it. Well! (says a Wolfe that was Passing by) to see the Injustice of the World now! A Poor Wolfe in that Ravens Place, would have been Persecuted, and Hunted to Death presently; and 'tis made only a Laughing-Matter, for a Raven to do the Same Thing that would have Cost a Wolfe his Life.

The MORAL.

One Man may better Steal a Horse, then Another Look over the Hedge.

[Page 164]

REFLEXION.

THE Same Thing in One Person or Respect, is not always the Same Thing in Another? The Grooms Grinning at the Gambols of the Ass, tells us that there are Many Cases that may make People Laugh without Pleasing them, as when the Surprize, or Caprice of some Fantastical Accident happens to strike the Fancy: Nay a Body cannot forbear Laughing Sometimes, when he is yet Heartily Sorry for the Thing he Laughs at; which is, in Truth, but an Extravagant Motion, that never comes near the Heart: Wherefore the Wolfe was Out in his Philosophy, when he call'd it a Laughing-Matter; Besides, that he should have Distinguish'd upon the Disproportion betwixt the Worrying of a Wolfe, and the Pecking of a Raven; That is to say, betwixt a Certain Death on the One Hand, and only a Vexatious Importunity on the Other. The Raven understood what sort of Spark he had to do withal, and the Silly Ass stood Preaching to Himself upon the Text of No Remedy but Patience.

 


 

FAB. CXCIV. A Lyon, Ass and Fox.

AS an Ass and a Fox were together upon the Ramble, a Lyon Meets them by the Way. The Foxes Heart went Pit-a-Pat; but however, to make the Best of a Bad Game, he sets a Good Face on't, and up he goes to the Lyon. Sir, says he; I am come to Offer Your Majesty a Piece of Service, and I'll Cast my self upon Your Honour for my Own Security. If you have a Mind to my Companion, the Ass here, 'tis but a Word Speaking, and You shall have him Immediately. Let it be Done then says the Lyon. So the Fox Trepann'd the Ass into the Toyl, and the Lyon, when he found he had Him sure, began with the Fox Himself, and after that, for his Second Course, made up his Meal with the Other.

The MORAL.

We Love the Treason, but we hate the Traytor.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable Advises Every Man in Prudence to be sure of Knowing his Company before he Embarque with them in any Great Matter; Tho He that Betrays his Companion, has the Fortune commonly to be Betray'd Himself.

[Page 165] Here's the Folly of the Ass in Trusting the Fox that he knew to be a Treacherous Companion; and here's the Knavery of the Fox in Betraying the Ass, which was but according to his Nature. Now this does not Hinder yet, but that the Lyon Forfeited a Point of Honour in the Worrying of him; And this Fiction throughout is but the Emblem of Things that are Familiar to us in the World. The I yon might have been Allow'd an Aversion to the Fox, as a Perfidious Creature, but the Devouring of him upon these Terms, was Another Treachery in Himself. There may be this said at last for the Congruity of the Fancy, that a Just and a Generous Lyon, would not have Sunk so Low as to hold any Communication with a Fox, much less to Concett with him in his False Dealing. But this Lyon was meant for the Figure of a Wicked Governor, Conferring upon Frauds with Wicked Ministers. Now if he had spar'd the Ass, for his Simplicity, and Pinch'd the Fox for his Perfidy, the Proceeding might have had some Semblance of a Generous Equity: But an Honourable Mind will scorn to make Advantage of a Treacherous Instrument. That is to say, by Assenting to the Treachery: So that the Moral seems to carry more Force with this Biass. Upon the Whole Matter, here's the Silly Ass pays Dear for the Credulity and Folly of Keeping Ill Company. The Fox is Met withal in his Own Way, for Breaking the Faith of Society; but still there wants some Judgment Methinks, to Attend the Lyon; for He that Encourages once Treason, does not only Practice, but Promote Another; and lays the Foundation of a Doctrine, that will come Home to Himself in the Conclusion. When a Prince fails in Point of Honour and Common Iustice, 'tis enough to Stagger his People in their Faith, and Allegance. But the Lyon here in the Fable, came off better then our Political Lyons usually do in the World.

 


 

FAB. CXCV. A Hen and a Swallow.

THere was a Foolish Hen that sat Brooding upon a Nest of Snakes Eggs. A Swallow, that Observ'd it, went and told her the Danger on't. Little do you think, says she, what you are at this instant a Doing, and that You are just now Hatching Your Own Destruction; for This Good Office will be your Ruine.

The MORAL.

'Tis the Hard Fortune of many a Good Natur'd Man to breed up a Bird to Peck out his Own Eyes, in despite of All Cautions to the Contrary.

[Page 166]

REFLEXION.

THIS is the Case of Many People in the World, that spend their Time in Good Offices for Others, to the Utter Ruine of Themselves: And there's No Better to be Expected from a Wicked Age, and an Ill Natur'd People. They that want Foresight, should do well to Hearken to Good Council. He that thinks to Oblige Hard-Hearted People by an Officious Tenderness, and to fare the Better Himself for putting it into Their Power to Hurt him, will find only so much Time, Pains, and Good-Will, utterly cast away, at the Foot of his Account. 'Tis Good however, to Hope, and to Presume the Best, provided that a Man be Prepar'd for the Worst: Not forgetting the Old Proverb, That many a Man brings up a Bird to Peck out his Own Eyes. The Mistake lies in This, that the Charity begins Abroad that Ought to begin at Home. They that cannot see into the End of Things, may well be at a Loss in the Reason of them; and a Well-Meaning Piety is the Destruction of many an Honest Man, that sits Innocently Brooding upon the Political Projects of Other People, tho' with the Heart all the While, of a Patriot, and a True Friend to the Publique. Tell him the Consequences of Matters, and that he is now Hatching of Serpents, not of Chickens: A Misguided Zeal makes him Deaf and Blind to the True State, and Issue of Things. He sits his Time out, and what's the End on't; but the Plot Naturally Discloses it self in a Common Ruine? It is a Great Infelicity to make a Wrong Choice of a Friend: But when Men are Advertis'd of the Danger beforehand, it is as Great a Fault if they will take No Warning. The Hen was told on't, but the Swallow had the Fate, as well as the Gift of Cassandra; to speak Truth, and not to be believ'd: Which has been the Misfortune of many an Honest Man in All Times, and particularly in the very Age we live in.

 


 

FAB. CXCVI. A Pigeon and a Picture.

A Pigeon saw the Picture of a Glass with Water in't, and taking it to be Water indeed, flew Rashly and Eagerly up to't, for a Soup to Quench her Thirst. She broke her Feathers against the Frame of the Picture, and falling to the Ground upon't, was taken up by the By-Standers.

The MORAL.

Rash Men do many things in Hast that they Repent of at Leisure.

[Page 167]

REFLEXION.

'TIS not Good to be Over-Fierce upon any Thing, for fear of Mistaking, or Misunderstanding the Matter in Question. Moderation is a High Point of Wisdom, and Temerity on the Other Hand, is ever Dangerous: For Men are Subject to be Couzen'd with Outward Appearances, and so take the Vain Images, and Shadows of Things, for the Substance. All Violent Passions have somewhat in them of the Rashness of This Pigeon; and if That Rashness be not as Fatal in the One Case, as This was in the Other, 'tis a Deliverance that we are more Indebted for, either to the Special Grace of an Over-ruling Providence, or to the Mediation of That which we call Chance, then to any thing of our own Government and Direction. One Man may have the Advantage of Another in the Benefit of a Presence of Mind, which may serve in a Great Measure, to Fortifie us against Surprizes, and Difficulties not to be foreseen: But a sound Judgment is the Result of second Thoughts, upon Due Time and Consideration, which way to bring Matters to a Fair Issue. This Precipitate Temper is little better then a Physical Madness; for there is somewhat of an Alienation in't, when People proceed, not only Without, but Contrary to Reason. How many Instances do we see daily, of People that are Hurry'd on, without either Fear or Wit, by Love, Hatred, Envy, Ambition, Revenge, &c. to their Own Ruine: which comes to the very Case of the Pigeons breaking her Wing against the Picture; and the Miscarriage is Every jot as Ridiculous.

 


 

FAB. CXCVII. A Pigeon and a Crow.

A Pigeon that was brought up in a Dove-House, was Bragging to a Crow how Fruitful she was. Never Value Your self says the Crow upon That Vanity; for the More Children, the more Sorrow.

The MORAL.

Many Children are a Great Blessing; but a Few Good Ones are a Greater; All Hazzards Consider'd.

REFLEXION.

THE Care, Charge, and Hazzard of a Brood of many Children, in the Education and Proof of them, does, in a Great Measure, Countervail the Blessing: Especially where they are gotten in a State of Slavery. Sorrow and Vexation is Entail'd upon the whole Race of Mankind. We are Begotten to't We are Born to't; and as it has Descended to us, so it is by us to be Handed down to Those that come after us. The Stress of the Fable lies upon the Hazzard of having a Numerous Stock of Children, [Page 168] which must of Necessity, whether they Live or Dye, furnish Matter of Great Anxiety to the Parents. The Loss of them is Grievous to us. The Miscarriage of them, by falling into Lew'd and Vicious Courses, is much Worse: And one such Disappointment is sufficient to Blast the Comfort of All the Rest. Nay the very Possibility, or rather the Likelihood and Odds, that some out of such a Number will Prove Ungracious and Rebellious, makes our Beds Uneasie to us; Fills our Heads and our Hearts with Carking Thoughts, and keeps us in Anxiety Night and Day for fear they should be so, and prove like Vipers, to Eat out the Belly of their Own Mothers.

 


 

FAB. CXCVIII. A Woman and her Two Daughters.

A Woman that had Two Daughters, Bury'd one of them, and Mourners were Provided to Attend the Funeral. The Surviving Daughter Wonder'd to see Strangers so Much concern'd at the Loss of her Sister, and her Nearest Relations so Little. Pray Mother, says she, What's the Reason of This? Oh, says the Mother, We that are a-Kin to her, are never the Better for Crying, but the Strangers have Money for't.

The MORAL.

Mourners are as Mercenary as Common Prostitutes; They are at His Service that bids Most for them.

REFLEXION.

FUNERAL Tears are only Civilities of Course, but there must be Wringing of Hands yet, and Ejulations, some where or Other; and where the Relations are not in humour for't, 'tis the Fashion to Provide Mercenaries to do the Office. The Moral of This will reach to All the Pompous Solemnities of our Mourning Processions, which upon the Whole, Amount to no more then Dress and Pageantry, to make the Show look Dismal, and so many Sowre Faces that are Hir'd to Adorn the Hipocrisie. This was the Widows Case, that Cry'd her self Half Mad and Blind with a Thousand Passionate Interjections, for the Loss of her Dear Husband. [Never so Dear, so Dear a Man!] This Woman, I say (when she had done All This, and Renounc'd the World, the Flesh and the Devil, with as much Solemnity as ever she did in her Baptism) was at the Long-Last prevail'd upon to hear the Will read: But when she found in the Conclusion, that the Dear Man she so often call'd upon, had left her Nothing that he could keep from her, but her Wedding-Ring and her Apron-Strings, Up she started, Wip'd her Eyes, Rais'd her Voice, [And is This all with a Pex] she cry'd; and with Those Words in her Mouth, she came to her self again. Now This Widow, in the Pure Strength of Flesh and Blood; cry'd as Arrantly for Money as the Mercenaries in the Fable.

[Page 169]

 


 

FAB. CXCIX. A Shepherd and his Sheep.

IN Old time when Sheep fed like Hogs upon Acorns, a Shepherd drove his Flock into a Little Oak-Wood, spread his Coat under a Tree, and up he went to shake 'em down some Mast. The Sheep were so Keen upon the Acorns, that they Gobbled up now and then a Piece of the Coat along with 'em. When the Shepherd took Notice of it: What a Company of Ungrateful Wretches are you, says he, that Cloath all Other People that have No Relation to you, and yet Strip Your Master, that gives ye both Food and Protection!

The MORAL.

The Belly has no Ears; and a Ravenous Appetite Guttles up whatever is Before it, without any regard either to Things or Persons.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Freak mightily in Fashion among some People to Affect a Singularity in their Lives and Manners, and to Live in a Direct Opposition to the Ordinary Rules of Prudence and Good Nature, As in returning Evil for Good for the Purpose; Nay, and in some Cases, Good for Evil too; where 'tis done more to be seen of Men then for God sake, and where the Vanity of Doing it Destroys the Merit of the Vertue. The Fable will also bear This Moral, That Eager Appetites have not a Right Tast of Things; for the Coat goes down as well as the Acorns: But the main Stress of it falls upon Those that Rob Peter, as we say, to Pay Paul, and take the Bread out of their Masters Mouths to give it to Strangers. And the Kindness of the Master is yet a Further Aggravation of the Crime. We have abundance of Cases in Practice, as well as in Story, that strike upon This Topique. Have we never read of a Sacrilegious Convocation of Divines, that at the same Time that they liv'd upon the Altar, Betray'd it; and while they Robb'd God himself of his Due, Divided the Spoils of the Church among the Rabble. Have we never heard of Men that Gobbled the Privileges and Revenues of the Crown, and then Squander'd them away in Donatives upon the Common People? Or, What shall we say of the Scoffing Atheist, that turns all the Powers and Faculties of his Soul, as much as in him lies, to the Reproach of his Maker, and yet at the same time too as Pleasant Company to the World as the Wit of a Libertine can make him. What is all This now but a Sheep Stripping his Master, and Cloathing Strangers.

[Page 170]

 


 

FAB. CC. Iupiter and a Herds-man.

A Herds-man that had lost a Calf out of his Grounds, sent up and down after it; and when he could get No Tydings on't, he betook himself at last to his Prayers, according to the Custom of the World, when People are brought to a Forc'd-Put. Great Iupiter (says he) Do but shew me the Thief that stole my Calf, and I'll give thee a Kid for a Sacrifice. The Word was no sooner pass'd; but the Thief appear'd; which was indeed a Lyon. This Discovery put him to his Prayers once again. I have not forgotten my Vow, says he, but now thou hast brought me to the Thief, I'll make That Kid a Bull, if thou'lt but set me Quit of him again.

The MORAL.

We cannot be too Careful, and Considerate what Vows, and Promises we make; for the very Granting of our Prayers turns many times to our Utter Ruine.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable Condemns All Rash Vows and Promises, and the Unsteadyness of Those Men that are first mad to have a Thing, and as soon Weary of it. Men should Consider well before hand what they Promise, what they Vow; nay, and what they Wish for, least they should be Taken at their Words, and afterward Repent. We make it Half our Bus'ness to Learn out, Gain, and Compass those Things, which when we come to Understand, and to have in our Possession, we'd give the whole Earth to be Rid of again: Wherefore he that Moderates his Desires without laying any Stress upon Things Curious, or Uncertain; and Resigns himself in All Events to the Good Pleasure of Providence, succeeds Best in the Government of his Fortune, Life, and Manners. The Herds-man was in a State of Freedom, we see, till he made himself a Voluntary Slave, by Entering into a Dangerous, and Unnecessary Vow; which he could neither Contract without Folly, nor Keep without Loss and Shame; For Heaven is neither to be Wheedled, nor Brib'd. Men should so Pray as not to Repent of their Prayers, and turn the most Christian and Necessary Office of our Lives into a Sin. We must not Pray in One Breath to Find a Thief, and in the Next to get shut of him.

[Page 171]

 


 

FAB. CCI. A Gnat Challenges a Lyon.

AS a Lyon was Blustering in the Forrest, up comes a Gnat to his very Beard, and Enters into an Expostulation with him upon the Points of Honour and Courage. What do I Value your Teeth, or your Claws, says the Gnat, that are but the Arms of Every Bedlam Slut? As to the Matter of Resolution; I defy ye to put That Point immediately to an Issue. So the Trumpet Sounded and the Combatants Enter'd the Lists. The Gnat Charg'd into the Nostrils of the Lyon, and there Twing'd him, till he made him Tear himself with his Own Paws. And in the Conclusion he Master'd the Lyon. Upon This, a Retreat was Sounded, and the Gnat flew his way: But by Ill-hap afterward, in his Flight, he struck into a Cobweb, where the Victor fell a Prey to a Spider. This Disgrace went to the Heart of him, after he had got the Better of a Lyon to be Worsted by an Insect.

The MORAL.

'Tis in the Power of Fortune to Humble the Pride of the Mighty, even by the most Despicable Means, and to make a Gnat Triumph over a Lyon: Wherefore let no Creature, how Great or how Little soever, Presume on the One side, or Despair on the Other.

REFLEXION.

THERE is Nothing either so Great, or so Little, as not to be Lyable to the Vicissitudes of Fortune, whether for Good or for Evil. A Miserable Fly is sufficient we see, to take down the Stomach of a Lyon: And then to Correct the Insulting Vanity of That Fly, it falls the next Moment into the Toyl of a Spider. 'Tis Highly Improvident not to Obviate small Things; and as Ridiculous to be Baffled by them; and it is not the Force neither, but the Importunity that is so Vexatious and Troublesom to us. The very Teizing of the Lyon Gall'd him more then an Arrow at his Heart would have done. The Doctrine is This, That no Man is to Presume upon his Power and Greatness, when Every Pityful Insect may find out a Way to Discompose him. But That Pityful Insect again is not to Value himself upon his Victory neither; for the Gnat that had the Better of the Lyon, in the very next Breath was Worsted by a Spider.

 


 

[Page [unnumbered]] [Page 173]

THE FABLES OF BARLANDUS, &c.

FAB. CCII. A Lyon and a Frog.

A Lyon that was Ranging about for his Prey, made a Stop all on a Sudden at a Hideous Yelling Noise he heard, which not a little Startled him. The Surprize put him at first into a Shaking Fit; but as he was looking about, and Preparing for the Encounter of some Terrible Monster, what should he see but a Pityful Frog come Crawling out from the Side of a Pond. And is This All? (says the Lyon) and so betwixt Shame and Indignation he put forth his Paw, and Pash'd out the Guts on't.

The MORAL.

There's no Resisting of First Motions; but upon Second Thoughts we come Immediately to our selves again.

REFLEXION.

THE Surprize of the Lyon is to teach us that no Man living can be so Present to Himself, as not to be put beside his Ordinary Temper upon some Accidents or Occasions; but then his Philosophy brings him to a Right Understanding of Things, and his Resolution carries him thorough All Difficulties. It is Another Emphatical Branch of This Emblem, that as the Lyon Himself was not Thorough-Proof against This Fantastical Alarum; so it was but a Poor Wretched Frog all this while, that Discompos'd him, to shew the Vain Opinion and False Images of Things, and how apt we are to be Transported with Those Fooleries, which, if we did but Understand, we should Despise. Wherefore 'tis the Part of a Brave, and a Wise-Man to Weigh, and Examine Matters without Delivering up himself to the Illusion of Idle Fears, and Panick Terrors. It was in truth. [Page 174] below the Dignity of a Lyon to Kill the Poor Creature, but This, however may be said in Plea for't, that he was asham'd to leave behind him a Witness of his Weakness.

 


 

FAB. CCIII. An Ant and a Pigeon.

AN Ant drop Unluckily into the Water as she was Drinking at the Side of a Brook. A Wood-Pigeon took Pity of her, and threw her a little Bough to lay hold on. The Ant sav'd her self by that Bough, and in That very Instant, spies a Fellow with a Birding-Piece, making a Shoot at The Pigeon. Upon This Discovery, she presently runs up to him and Stings him. The Fowler starts, and breaks his Aim, and away flies the Pigeon.

The MORAL.

All Creatures have a Sense of Good Offices, and Providence it self takes Care, where Other Means fail, that they may not Pass Unrewarded.

REFLEXION.

THE Practice of Requiting Good Offices is a Great Encouragement to the Doing of them; and in truth, without Gratitude there would be Little Good Nature; for there is not One Good Man in the World that has not need of Another. This Fable of the Ant is not All-together a Fiction, for we have many Instances of the Force of Kindness; even upon Animals and Insects: To pass over the Tradition of Androdus's Lyon, the Gratitude of Elephants, Dogs and Horses is too Notorious to be Deny'd. Are not Hawks brought to the Hand, and to the Lure? And in like manner, are not Lyons, Tygers, Bears, Wolves, Foxes, and other Beasts of Prey Reclaim'd by Good Usage? Nay, I have seen a Tame Spider, and 'tis a Common Thing to have a Lizzard come to Hand. Man only is the Creature, that to his Shame, no Benefits can Oblige, no nor Secure, even from seeking the Ruine of his Benefactor: So that This Pismire sets us a Lesson here in her Thankfulness to her Preserver.

[Page 175]

 


 

FAB. CCIV. A Peacock and a Pye.

IN the Days of Old, the Birds liv'd at Random in a Lawless State of Anarchy; but in time they began to be Weary on't, and Mov'd for the Setting up of a King. The Peacock Valu'd himself upon his Gay Feathers, and put in for the Office: The Pretenders were heard, the Question Debated; and the Choice fell upon the Poll to King Peacock: The Vote was no sooner pass'd but up stands a Pye with a Speech in his Mouth to This Effect: May it please your Majesty, says he, We should be glad to Know, in Case the Eagle should fall upon us in your Reign, as she has formerly done, how will you be able to Defend us?

The MORAL.

In the Bus'ness of either Erecting, or Changing a Government, it ought to be very well Consider'd before hand, what may be the Consequences, in case of such a Form, or such a Person.

REFLEXION.

KINGS are not to be Chosen for the Beauty or the Gracefulness of their Persons, but for the Reputation they have in the World, and the Endowments of their Minds. This Fable shews likewise the Necessity of Civil Order, and the Danger of Popular Elections, where a Factious Majority commonly Governs the Choice. Take the Plurality of the World, and they are neither Wise, nor Good; and if they be left to Themselves, they will Undoubtedly Chuse such as They Themselves Are. 'Tis the Misery of Elective Governments, that there will be Eternally Corruption and Partiality in the Choice; for there's a Kind of a Tacit Covenant in the Case, that the King of their Own making shall make his Makers Princes too: So that they Work for Themselves all this while not for the Publique: But the Pyes Question stopt all their Mouths, and it was Wisely let fall too without a Reply, to Intimate that it was Unanswerable.

[Page 176]

 


 

FAB. CCV. An Impertinent Dr. and his Patient.

A Physician was told One Morning that a Certain Patient of his was Dead, why then the Lord's Will be Done, says he: We are All Mortal; but if This Man would have forborn Wines, and Us'd Clysters, I'd have Warranted his Life This Bout for God-a-Mercy. Well, says one, but why did you not rather give him This Advice when it might have done him Good, then stand Talking of it to no manner of Purpose Now the Man is Dead?

The MORAL.

'Tis to no Purpose to think of Recalling Yesterday; and when the Steed is Stoll'n, of Shutting the Stable Door.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable Recommends to us the Doing of Every thing in its Due Season, for either too Soon or too Late signifies Nothing. It is but making Almanacks for the Last Year, to stand Talking what Might have been done; when the Time of Doing it is past. When a Battle is Lost, This or That, we say, might have Prevented it. When a Tumult is Emprov'd into a Rebellion, and a Government Over-turn'd by't, 'tis just to as much purpose to say, This or That might have Sav'd All; As for our Dr. here to say, when his Patient was Dead, that it was for want of going such or such a way to Work. We have abundance of These Wise-Men in the World that are still looking backward without seeing One Inch of the way before them. Not but that the Experience of Things Past, may be very Instructive to us toward the Making of a Right Judgment upon Things to come, but in such a Case as This, it is wholly Vain and Unprofitable to all manner of Intents. 'Tis the Bus'ness of a Substantial and Well-Grounded Wisdom, to be still looking forward from the First Indispositions into the Growth and Progress of the Disease. It Traces the Advance of Dangers step by step, and shews us the Rise and Gradations of the Evil, and gives us Light, either toward the Preventing, or the Suppressing of it. We have in such an Instance as This, the means before us of a True and an Useful Perception of Things, whereas Judgments that are made on the Wrong-side of the Danger, Amount to no more then an Affectation of Skill, without either Credit or Effect. Let Things be done when they May be done, and When, and As they Ought to be done: As for the Doctor's Iffing upon the Bus'ness, when his Patient was Dead, it was just to as much purpose as if he had Blown Wind in's Breech.

[Page 177]

 


 

FAB. CCVI. A Lyon, Ass and Fox.

THere was a Hunting-Match agreed upon betwixt a Lyon, an Ass, and a Fox, and they were to go Equal Shares in the Booty. They ran down a Brave Stag, and the Ass was to Divide the Prey; which he did very Honestly and Innocently into Three Equal Parts, and left the Lyon to take his Choice: Who never Minded the Dividend; but in a Rage Worry'd the Ass, and then bad the Fox Divide; who had the Wit to make Only One Share of the Whole, saving a Miserable Pittance that he Reserv'd for Himself. The Lyon highly approv'd of his Way of Distribution; but Prethee Reynard, says he, who taught thee to Carve? Why truly says the Fox, I had an Ass to my Master; and it was His Folly made me Wise.

The MORAL.

There must be no Sharers in Sovereignty. Court-Conscience is Policy. The Folly of One Man makes Another Man Wise; as one Man Grows Rich upon the Ruines of Another.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable is sufficiently Moralliz'd Elsewhere; but it gives us further to Understand, that Experience is the Mistress of Knaves as well as of Fools. Here was the Innocence of the Ass, and the Craft of the Fox, Both in One. He sav'd his Skin by the Modesty of the Division, and left enough for himself too, over and above! For Asses are No great Venson Eaters.

 


 

FAB. CCVII. A Wolfe and a Kid.

AS a Wolfe was passing by a Poor Country Cottage, a Kid spy'd him through a Peeping-Hole in the Door; and sent a Hundred Curses along with him. Sirrah (says the Wolfe) if I had ye out of your Castle, I'd make ye give Better Language.

[Page 178]

The MORAL.

A Coward in his Castle, makes a Great Deal more Bluster then a Man of Honour.

REFLEXION.

THE Advantages of Time and Place are enough to make a Poultron Valiant. There's Nothing so Couragious as a Coward if you put him out of Danger. This way of Brawl and Clamour, is so Arrant a Mark of a Dastardly Wretch, that he does as good as Call himself so that Uses it The Kid behind the Door has the Priviledge of a Lord Mayors Fool. He's under Protection: the One is Scurrilous, and the Other Saucy; and yet These are the Two Qualities that pass but too frequently in the World for Wit and Valour.

 


 

FAB. CCVIII. An Ass to Iupiter.

A Certain Ass that serv'd a Gard'ner, and did a great deal of Work for a very Little Meat, fell to his Prayers for Another Master. Iupiter Granted his Request, and turn'd him over to a Potter, where he found Clay and Tile so much a Heavyer Burden then Roots and Cabbage, that he went to his Prayers once again for Another Change. His next Master was a Tanner; and there, over and above the Encrease of his Work, the very Trade went against his Stomach: For (says he) I have been only Pinch'd in my Flesh, and Well Rib-Roasted sometimes under my Former Masters; but I'm In now for Skin and All.

The MORAL.

A Man that is ever Shifting and Changing, is not, in truth, so Weary of his Condition, as of Himself; And He that still Carries about him the Plague of a Restless Mind, can never be pleas'd.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a High Point of Prudence for any Man to be Content with his Lot. For 'tis Forty to One that he that Changes his Condition out of a Present Impatience and Dissatisfaction, when he has try'd a New one, Wishes for his Old One again; and Briefly, the more we shift the Worse Commonly we Are. This Arises from the Inconstancy of our Minds, and One Prayer does but make way for Another. Those People, in fine, that [Page 179] are Destin'd to Drudgery may well Change their Masters; but never their Condition.

He that finds himself in any Distress either of Carcass or of Fortune, should do well to Deliberate upon the Matter, before he Prays for, or Resolves upon a Change. As for Example now, what is it that Troubles me? Is there any Help for't or no? What do I want? Is it Matter of Necessity or Superfluity? Where am I to look for't? How shall I come at it? &c.

Now All our Grievances are either of Body or of Mind, or (in Complication) of Both, and either the Remedy is in our Own Power, or it is not. There are some Things that we cannot do for our selves without the Help of Others: There are some Things again that Other People Cannot do for Us, nor are they any way else to be done but by Our selves. In the One Case we are to seek abroad for Relief, and in the Other, Whoever Consults his Reason, and his Duty, will find a Certain Cure at Home: So that it goes a Great way in the Philosophy of Humane Life, to Understand the Just Measures of what we are Able to do, and what we are Oblig'd to do, in Distinction from the Contrary; for Otherwise we shall spend our Days with Aesop's Ass in Hunting after Happiness where it is not to be found, without ever Looking for't where it is. 'Tis allow'd us, to be sensible of Broken Limbs, and Diseased Bodies: And Common Prudence sends us to Surgeons and Physicians, to Piece, and Patch them up again. But in These Cases we Examine the Why, the What, and the How of Things, and Propose Means Accommodate to the End. 'Tis Natural to be Mov'd with Pain, and as Natural to Seek Relief; And it is well done at last, to do That which Nature bids us do; But for Imaginary Evils, Every Man may be his Own Doctor. They are Bred in our Affections, and we may Ease our selves. If the Question had been a Spavin, or a Gall'd Back, and the Ass had Petition'd to Iupiter for Another Farryer, it might have been a very Reasonable Request. Now if he had but Pitch'd upon such or such a Particular Master, it might have done well enough too: But to grow Weary of One Master, or of One Condition, and then to be presently Wishing in General Terms for Another: This is only an Inconsiderate Ejaculation thrown off at Random, without either Aim or Reason. Upon the Whole Matter, it is but laying our own Faults at the Door of Nature and Providence, while we Impute the Infirmities of our Minds to the Hardship of our Lot.

To proceed according to the Distribution of my Matter; it is much with Us in This Case, as it was with the Man that fell from his Horse and could not get up again. He was sure he was Hurt, he said, but could not tell Where. That is to say, first our Grievances are Fantastical where they are not Corporal. 2ly. It is Another Error in us, that in All our Fantastical Disappointments, we have Recourse to Fantastical Remedies. 3ly. Providience has Allotted Every Man a Competency for his State and Bus'ness. All beyond it is Superfluous, and there will be Grumbling without End, if we come to reckon upon't, that we want This or That because we Have it Not, instead of Acknowledging that we Have This or That, and that we want Nothing. These Things duly Weigh'd, what can be more Providential then the Blessing of having an Antidote within our selves against all the Strokes of Fortune! That is to say, in the Worst of Extremities, we have yet the Comfort left us of Constancy, Patience, and Resignation.

[Page 180] 'Tis not for a Wise and an Honest Man, to stand Expostulating with the Nature of Things. As for Instance▪ Why should not I be This or That, or be so or so, as well as He or T'other? But I should rather say to my self after This manner. Am not I the Creature of an Almighty Power; and is it not the Same Power and Wisdom that Made and Order'd The World, that has Assign'd me this Place, Rank or Station, in't? This Body, This Soul, This every Thing? What I am, I must be, and there's no Contending with Invincible Necessity; No Disputing with an Incomprehensible Wisdom: To say Nothing of the Impiety of Appealing from an Inexplicable Goodness. If I can Mend my Condition by any Warrantable Industry and Vertue, the Way is Fair and Open; And That's a Priviledge that Every Reasonable Creature has in his Commission: But without Fixing upon some Certain Scope, and Prescribing Just and Honourable Ways to't, there's Nothing to be done. 'Tis a Wicked Thing to Repine; and 'tis as Bootless, and Uneasy too; for One Restless Thought, Begets, and Punishes Another. We are not so Miserable in our Own Wants, as in what Others Enjoy: And then our Levity is as Great a Plague to us as our Envy, so that we need Nothing more then we have, but Thankfulness, and Submission, to make us Happy. It was not the Ground of the Asses Complaint, that it was Worse with Him then with Other Asses; but because he was an Ass: And he was not so Sick of his Master, as of his Work. His Fortune was well enough for such an Animal, so long as he kept himself within his Proper Sphere and Bus'ness: But if the Stones in the Wall will be taking upon them to Reproach the Builder; and if Nothing will please People unless they be Greater then Nature ever Intended them; What can they Expect, but the Asses Round of Vexatious Changes, and Experiments; and at last, when they have made Themselves Weary and Ridiculous, e'en glad to set up their Rest upon the very Spot were they Started.

 


 

FAB. CCIX. A Woman and her Maids.

IT was the Way of a Good Housewifely Old Woman, to call up her Maids Every Morning just at the Cock-Crowing. The Wenches were loth to Rise so soon, and so they laid their Heads together, and Kill'd the Poor Cock: for, say they, if it were not for his Waking our Dame, she would not Wake us: But when the Good Woman's Clock was gone, she'd Mistake the Hour many times, and call 'em up at Midnight: So that instead of Mending the Matter, they found themselves in a Worse Condition Now then Before.

[Page 181]

The MORAL.

One Error makes way for Another. First, we Complain of small things: Then we Shift, and instead of Mending the Matter, we find it Worse, till it comes at last to the Tinker's Work of Stopping One Hole, and making Ten.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Common Thing for People that are Uneasy, to fly to Remedies that are Worse then the Disease; Wherefore Men should Deliberate before they Resolve; and say to Themselves, This we suffer at Present, and This or That we Propose to Get by such and such a Change; and so set the One against the Other. The Wenches were call'd up too Early, they thought, and so for fear of having too Little Sleep, they ran the Risque of having no Sleep at all. And it fares much at the same Rate in Publique Grievances that it does in Private; When rather then bear the Importunity of a Flea-biting, we are apt to run our selves Hand over Head into a Bed of Scorpions; which is such another kind of an Expedient, as if a Body should Beat out his Brains to Cure the Head-Ach. Flesh and Bloud is Naturally Impatient of Restraint; beside the Itch and Curiosity that we have, to be Prying and Searching into Forbidden Secrets; and to see (as one says) What Good is in Evil. 'Tis Natural to us to be Weary of what we have, and still to be Hankering after something or other that we have Not: And so our Levity Pushes us on from One Vain Desire to Another, in a Regular Vicissitude, and Succession of Cravings and Satiety. We want (as I say) what we have not, and grow Sick on't when we have it. Now the Wise Man Clears the Whole Matter to us, in Pronouncing All things under the Sun (That is to say, the Pomp, the Pleasures, and the Enjoyments of This World) to be Vanity of Vanities, and All, Vanity. The Truth of it is, we Govern our Lives by Fancy, rather then by Judgment. We Mistake the Reasons of Things, and Impute the Issue of them to Wrong Causes. So that the Lesson given us here, is Preceptive to us, not to do any thing but upon due Consideration. The Wenches Kill'd the Cock for calling them up so soon, whereas the Crowing of the Cock was the Cause, in Truth, that they were call'd up no sooner.

 


 

FAB. CCX. A Lyon and a Goat.

A Lyon spy'd a Goat upon the Crag of a High Rock, and so call'd out to him after this Manner: Hadst not thou better come Down now, says the Lyon, into This Delicate Fine Meadow? Well, says the Goat, and so perhaps I would, if it were not for the Lyon that's there Before me: But I'm for a Life of Safety, rather then for a Life of Pleasure. Your Pretence is [Page 182] the Filling of My Belly with Good Grass; but your Bus'ness is the Cramming of your Own Guts with Good Goats-Flesh: So that 'tis for your Own Sake, not Mine, that you'd have me come down.

The MORAL.

There's no Trusting to the Formal Civilities and Invitations of an Enemy, and his Reasonings are but Snares when he pretends to Advise us for our Good.

REFLEXION.

HE that Advises Another to his Own Advantage, may be very Reasonably Suspected to give Councel for his Own Ends. It may so fall Out, 'tis True, as to be Profitable for Both: But all Circumstances would be Well Examin'd in such a Case before we Trust. This is the Song of your Men of Prey, as well as of your Beasts of Prey, when they Set up for the Good of the Goats and the Common People. How many Fine Things have we had told us in the Memory of Man, upon the Subject of our Liberties, Properties, and Religion, and the Delivering of us from the Fears and Iealousies of Idolatry, and Arbitrary Power! And what was the Fruit of All This in the End, but Vision and Romance on the Promising Hand, and an Exchange of Imaginary Chains, for Real Locks and Bolts, on the Other: But Aesop's Beasts saw further into a Mill-stone then our Mobile: And that the Lyon's Invitation of the Goat from the Rocks into the Fool's Paradise of a Delicate Sweet Meadow, signify'd no more in Plain English, then Come down that I may Eat ye.

 


 

FAB. CCXI. A Uultur's Invitation.

THE Vultur took up a Fit of very Good Humour once, and Invited the Whole Nation of the Birds to make Merry with him, upon the Anniversary of his Birth-Day. The Company came; The Vultur shuts the Doors upon them, and Devours his Guests instead of Treating them.

The MORAL.

There's no Meddling with any Man that has neither Faith, Honour, nor Good Nature in him.

[Page 183]

REFLEXION.

'TIS Dangerous Trusting to specious Pretexts of Civility and Kindness, where People are not well assur'd of the Faith and Good Nature of Those they have to do withall; In which case, the Butchery, and the Breach of Hospitality Represented in This Fable, under a Masque of Friendship, was no more, then what might Reasonably enough be Expected under such Circumstances. There are Men of Prey as well as Beasts and Birds of Prey, and for Those that Live upon, and Delight in Bloud, there's no Trusting of them: for let them pretend what they will, they Govern themselves, and take their Measures according to their Interests, and Appetites. 'Tis a Hard Case yet, for Men to be forc'd upon Ill Nature, in their Own Defence, and to suspect the Good Faith of Those, that give us All the Protestations and Assurance of Friendship, and Fair Dealing that One Man can give Another. Nay the very Suspicion is an Affront, and almost sufficient to Authorize some sort of Revenge. He that Violates the Necessary Trust and Confidence that One Man ought to Repose in Another, does what in Him lies, to Dissolve the very Bond of Humane Society; for there's no Treachery so Close, so Sure, and so Pernicious, as That which Works under a Veil of Kindness. We set Toyls, Nets, Gins, Snares, and Traps for Beasts and Birds 'tis True; and we Bait Hooks for Fishes; But All This is done in their Own Haunts, and Walks, and without any Seal of Faith and Confidence in the Matter: but to break the Laws of Hospitality, and Tenderness; To Betray our Guests under our Own Roofs, and to Murder them at our Own Tables; This is a Practice only for Men and Vulturs to be Guilty of.

 


 

FAB. CCXII. Bustards and Cranes.

SOme Sports-men that were abroad upon Game, spy'd a Company of Bustards and Cranes a Feeding together, and so made in upon 'em as fast their Horses could carry them. The Cranes that were Light, took Wing immediately, and sav'd themselves, but the Bustards were Taken; for they were Fat, and Heavy, and could not Shift so well as the Other.

The MORAL.

Light of Body and Light of Purse, comes much to a Case in Troublesome Times; Only the One saves himself by his Activity, and the Other scapes because he is not worth the Taking.

[Page 184]

REFLEXION.

CAMERARIUS makes This to be an Emblem of the Taking of a Town, where the Poor scape better then the Rich; for the One is let go, and the Other is Plunder'd and Coop'd up. But with Favour of the Moralists, it was not at the Fowler's Choice, which to Take, and which to Let go; for the Cranes were too Nimble, and got away inspite of him: So that This Phansie seems rather to Point at the Advantages that some have over Others, to make Better shift in the World then their Fellows, by a Felicity of Make, and Constitution, whether of Body or of Mind: Provided always, that they Play Fair, and Manage all Those Faculties with a Strict Regard to Common Honesty and Justice.

 


 

FAB. CCXIII. Iupiter and an Ape.

JUpiter took a Fancy once to Summon All the Birds and Beasts under the Canopy of Heaven to appear before him with their Brats, and their Little ones, to see which of 'em had the prettiest Children: And who but the Ape to put her self Foremost, with a Brace of her Cubbs in her Arms, for the Greatest Beauties in the Company.

 


 

FAB. CCXIV. An Eagle and an Owl.

A Certain Eagle that had a mind to be well serv'd, took up a Resolution of Preferring Those that she found most agreeable, for Person and Address; and so there past an Order of Council for All Her Majesty's Subjects to bring their Children to Court. They came accordingly, and Every One in their Turn was for Advancing their Own: Till at last the Owl fell a Mopping, and Twinkling, and told her Majesty, that if a Gracious Meen and Countenance might Entitle any of her Subjects to a Preference, she Doubted not but her Brood would be look'd upon in the First Place; for they were as like the Mother, as if they had been spit out of her Mouth. Upon This, the Bord fell all into a Fit of Laughing, and call'd Another Cause.

[Page 185]

The Moral of the Two Fables above.

No body ever saw an Ill-savour'd Fool in the World yet, Man, or Woman, that had not a Good Opinion of it's Own Wit and Beauty.

REFLEXION.

SELF Love is the Root of All the Vanities that are struck at in These Two Fables, and it is so Natural an Infirmity, that it makes us Partial even to Those that come of us, as well as to our selves: And then it is so Nicely Divided, betwixt Piety, Pride, and Weakness, that in Many Cases 'tis a hard Matter to Distinguish the One from the Other. 'Tis a Frailty for a Man to Think Better of his Children then they Deserve: But then there is an Impulse of Tenderness, and of Duty, that goes along with it, and there must be some sort of an Esteem in the Case too, for the setting of That In-bred Affection at Work. The Difficulty lies in the Moderating of the Matter, and in getting the True Medium betwixt being Wanting to our Own Flesh and Blood, once Remov'd, and Assuming too much to our selves. Let the Attachment be what it will, we must not suffer our Judgments to be either Perverted, Blinded, or Corrupted by any Partiality of Prepossessions whatsoever.

The Moral here before us, Extends to the Fruits and Productions of the Brain, as well as of the Body; and to Deformities in the matter as well of Understanding, as of Shape. We are Taught here Principally, Two Things; First, how Ridiculous it is for a Man to Dote upon Fops and Buffoons, tho' never so much the Issue of his Own Head and Loins; And yet 2ly. How Prone we are to Indulge our Own Errors, Follies and Miscarriages, in Thought, Word, and Deed. The World has Abundance of These Apes and Owls in't: So that Whoever does but look about him, will find so many Living Illustrations of This Emblem, that more Words upon the Subject would be needless.

[Page [unnumbered]] [Page 187]

THE FABLES OF ANIANUS, &c.

 


 

FAB. CCXV. An Oak and a Willow.

THere happen'd a Controversie betwixt an Oak and a Willow, upon the Subject of Strength, Constancy and Patience, and which of the Two should have the Preference. The Oak Upbraided the Willow, that it was Weak and Wavering, and gave way to Every Blast. The Willow made no Other Reply, then that the next Tempest should Resolve That Question. Some very little while after This Dispute, it Blew a Violent Storm. The Willow Ply'd, and gave way to the Gust, and still recover'd it self again, without receiving any Damage: But the Oak was Stubborn, and chose rather to Break then Bend.

The MORAL.

A Stiff and a Stubborn Obstinacy, is not so much Firmness, and Resolution, as Willfullness. A Wise and a Steady Man bends only in the Prospect of Rising again.

REFLEXION.

THERE are Many Cases, and Many Seasons, wherein, Men must either Bend or Break: But Conscience, Honour, and Good Manners, are first to be Consulted. When a Tree is Press'd with a strong Wind, the Branches may Yield, and yet the Root remain Firm. But Discretion is to Govern us, where and when we may be Allow'd to Temporize, and where, and when not. When Bending or Breaking is the Question, and Men have No Other Choice before them, then either of Complying, or of being Undone; 'tis No Easie Matter to Distinguish, Where, When, How, or to What Degree, to Yield to the Importunity of the Occasion, or the Difficulty [Page 188] of the Times. It is a Certain Rule, 'tis true (but a General One) That No Ill is to be done that Good may come of it: Now the Point will be at last. what's Simply Good or Evil; What in the Contemplation; and how far the Intention, or the Probable Consequences of such, or such an Action, may Qualifie the Case: Taking This Consideration along with us too, that we are under a Great Temptation to be Partial in favour of our selves, in the Matter of Ease, Profit, or Safety.

The First Point to be Preserv'd Sacred, and from whence a Man is never to Depart, though for the Saving of his Life, Liberty, Popular Credit, or Estate; That First Point, I say, is Conscience. Now All Duties are Matter of Conscience, respectively to the Subject that they are Exercis'd upon; Only with This Restriction, that a Superior Obligation Discharges, or at least Suspends the Force of an Inferior: As to such a Circumstance for the Purpose, such a Degree, or such a Season. Now there are other Niceties also, as of Honour, Decency, and Discretion, Humanity, Modesty, Respect, &c. that Border even upon the Indispensable Tyes of Religion it self; and though they are Not Matter of Conscience, Simply, and Apart, they are yet so Reductively, with a Regard to Other Considerations: That is to say, though they are Not so in the Abstract, they Become so by Affinity and Connexion: And such Civil Matters they are, as fall within the Purlews of Religion. There are Tryals of Men, as well as Tryals of Trees. Storms or Inundations are the same Thing to the One, that the Iniquity of such or such an Age, or Conjuncture, is to the Other. Now'tis not Courage but Stomach, that makes many People Break, rather then they will Bend; even though a Yielding upon That Puntillo (and with a Good Conscience too) might perhaps have sav'd a State. Fractures Undoubtedly are Dangerous, where the Publick is to be Crush'd under the Ruine: But yet after All This Descanting, and Modifying upon the Matter, there's no less Hazzard on the Yielding-side too, then there is on the other. Men may be Stiff and Obstinate, upon a Wrong Ground, and Men may Ply, and Truckle too, upon as False a Foundation. Our Bodies may be forc'd, but our Minds Cannot: So that Humane Frailty is No Excuse for a Criminal Immorality. Where the Law of God and Nature Obliges me, the Plea of Humane Frailty can Never Discharge me. There's as much Difference betwixt Bending and Sinking, as there is betwixt Breaking and Bending. There must be no Contending with Insuperable Powers on the One Hand, and no Departing from Indispensable Duties on the Other: Nor is it the Part, either of a Christian, or of a Man, to Abandon his Post. Now the Just Medium of This Case lies betwixt the Pride, and the Abjection of the Two Extreams. As the Willow, for the Purpose, Bows, and Recovers, and the Resignation is Crown'd and Rewarded in the Success. The Oak is Stubborn, and Inflexible, and the Punishment of That Stiffness, is One Branch of the Allegory of This Fable.

[Page 189]

 


 

FAB. CCXVI. A Fisherman and a Little Fish.

AS an Angler was at his Sport, he had the Hap to Draw up a very Little Fish from among the Fry. The Poor Wretch begg'd heartily to be thrown in again; for says he, I'm not come to my Growth yet, and if you'l let me alone till I am Bigger, Your Purchase will turn to a Better Account. Well! says the Man, but I'd rather have a Little Fish in Possession, then a Great One in Reversion.

The MORAL.

'Tis Wisdom to take what we May, while 'tis to be Had, even if it were but for Mortality sake.

REFLEXION.

THERE's no Parting with a Certainty for an Uncertainty. But This Fable is abundantly Moraliz'd Elsewhere.

 


 

FAB. CCXVII. An Ant and a Grasshopper.

AS the Ants were Airing their Provisions One Winter, Up comes a Hungry Grasshopper to 'em, and begs a Charity. They told him that he should have Wrought in Summer, if he would not have Wanted in Winter. Well says the Grasshopper, but I was not Idle neither; for I Sung out the Whole Season. Nay then, said they, You shall e'en do Well to make a Merry Year on't, and Dance in Winter to the Tune that You Sung in Summer.

The MORAL.

A Life of Sloth is the Life of a Brute; but Action and Industry is the Bus'ness of a Great, a Wise, and a Good Man.

[Page 190]

REFLEXION.

HERE's a Reproof to Men of Sensuality, and Pleasure. The Moral Preaches Industry, and Beats down Sloth, and Shews that After-wit is Nothing Worth. It must be an Industrious Youth that provides against the Inconveniencies, and Necessities of Old Age; And He that Fools away the One, must either Beg or Starve in the Other. Go to the Ant thou Sluggard; (says the Wise-man) which in Few Words Summs up the Moral of This Fable. 'Tis Hard to say of Laziness, or Luxury, whether it be the more Scandalous, or the more Dangerous Evil. The very Soul of the Slothful, does Effectually but lie Drowzing in his Body, and the Whole Man is Totally given up to his Senses: Whereas the Profit and the Comfort of Industry, is Substantial, Firm, and Lasting; The Blessings of Security and Plenty go along with it, and it is never out of Season. What's the Grasshoppers Entertainment now, but a Summers Song? A Vain. and an Empty Pleasure? Let it be Understood however, that we are not to Pass Avarice upon the World under the Title of Good Husbandry, and Thrift: and under That Cover to Extinguish Charity by not Distributing the Fruits of it. We are in the First Place, to Consult our Own Necessities, but we are Then to Consider in the Second Place, that the Necessities of our Neighbours have a Christian Right to a Part of what we have to Spare. For the Common Offices of Humanity, are as much Duties of Self-Preservation, as what Every Individual Contributes to it's Own Well-Being. It is in short, the Great Interest and Obligation of Particulars, to Advance the Good of the Community.

The Stress of This Moral lies upon the Preference of Honest Labour to Idleness; and the Refusal of Relief on the One Hand, is intended only for a Reproof to the Inconsiderate Loss of Opportunity on the Other. This does not Hinder yet, but that the Ants, out of their Abundance, ought to have Reliev'd the Grasshopper in her Distress, though 'twas her Own Fault that brought her to't: For if One Man's Faults could Discharge Another Man of his Duty, there would be no longer any Place left for the Common Offices of Society. To Conclude, We have our Failings, Every Mothers Child of us, and the Improvidence of my Neighbour must not make Me Inhumane. The Ant did well to Reprove the Grasshopper for her Slothfulness; but she did Ill then to refuse her a Charity in her Distress.

[Page 191]

 


 

FAB. CCXVIII. A Bull and a Goat.

A Bull that was Hard Press'd by a Lyon, ran directly toward a Goat-Stall, to Save Himself. The Goat made Good the Door, and Head to Head Disputed the Passage with him. Well! says the Bull, with Indignation, If I had not a more Dangerous Enemy at my Heels, then I have Before me, I should soon Teach you the Difference betwixt the Force of a Bull, and of a Goat.

The MORAL.

'Tis no Time to Stand Quarrelling with Every Little Fellow, when Men of Power are Pursuing us upon the Heel to the very Death.

REFLEXION.

IT is Matter of Prudence, and Necessity; for People in many Cases to put up the Injuries of a Weaker Enemy, for fear of Incurring the Displeasure of a Stronger. Baudoin fancies the Bull to be the Emblem of a Man in Distress, and the Goat Insulting over him; and Moralizes upon it after This Manner. [There's Nothing that a Courtier more Dreads and Abhors, then a Man in Disgrace; and he is presently made All the Fools and Knaves in Nature upon't: For He that's Unfortunate is Consequently Guilty of All manner of Crimes.] He Applies This Character to those that Persecute Widows and Orphans, and Trample upon the Afflicted; though not without some Violence Methinks, to the Genuine Intent of This Figure; for the Goat was only Passive; and his Bus'ness was, without any Insolence, or Injustice, to Defend his Free-Hold

 


 

FAB. CCXIX. A Nurse and a Wolfe.

AS a Wolfe was Hunting up and down for his Supper, he pass'd by a Door where a Little Child was Bawling, and an Old Woman Chiding it. Leave your Vixen-Tricks, says the Woman, or I'l throw ye to the Wolfe. The Wolfe Over-heard her, and Waited a pretty While, in hope the Woman would be as good as her Word; but No Child coming, away goes the Wolfe for That Bout. He took his Walk the Same Way again toward the Evening, and the Nurse he found had Chang'd her Note; for [Page 192] she was Then Muzzling, and Cokesing of it. That's a Good Dear, says she, If the Wolfe comes for My Child, We'll e'en Beat his Brains out. The Wolfe went Muttering away upon't. There's No Meddling with People, says he, that say One Thing and Mean Another.

The MORAL.

'Tis Fear more then Love that makes Good Men, as well as Good Children, and when Fair Words, and Good Councel will not Prevail upon us, we must be Frighted into our Duty.

REFLEXION.

THE Heart and Tongue of a Woman are commonly a Great way asunder. And it may bear Another Moral; which is, that 'tis with Froward Men, and Froward Factions too, as 'tis with Froward Children, They'll be sooner Quieted by Fear, and Rough Dealing, then by any Sense of Duty or Good Nature. There would be no Living in This World without Penal Laws, and Conditions. And Do or Do not, This or That at your Peril, is as Reasonable, and Necessary in Families as it is in Governments. It is a Truth Imprinted in the Hearts of All Mankind, that the Gibbets, Pillories, and the Whipping-Posts make more Converts then the Pulpits: As the Child did more here for fear of the Wolfe, then for the Love of the Nurse.

 


 

FAB. CCXX. An Eagle and a Tortoise.

A Tortoise was thinking with himself, how Irksom a sort of Life it was, to spend All his Days in a Hole, with a a House upon his Head, when so many Other Creatures had the Liberty to Divert Themselves in the Free, Fresh Air, and to Ramble about at Pleasure. So that the Humor took him One Day, and he must needs get an Eagle to Teach him to Fly. The Eagle would fain have put him off, and told him 'twas a Thing against Nature, and Common Sense; but (according to the Freak of the Wilful Part of the World) the More the One was Against it, the More the Other was For it: And when the Eagle saw that the Tortoise would not be said Nay, she took him up a matter of Steeple-high into the Air, and there turn'd him Loose to shift for Himself. That is to say; she dropt him down, Squab upon a Rock, that Dash'd him to Pieces.

[Page 193]

The MORAL.

Nothing can be either Safe, or Easy that's Unnatural.

REFLEXION.

THIS shews us, how Unnatural a Vanity it is, for a Creature that was Made for One Condition, to Aspire to Another. The Tortoise's Place was upon the Sands, not among the Stars; and if he had kept to his Station, he would have been in No Danger of Falling. Many a Fool has Good Councel Offer'd him, that has not either the Wit, or the Grace to Take it; and his Willfulness commonly Ends in his Ruine.

Every thing in Nature has it's Appointed Place, and Condition, and there's No putting a Force upon any thing, contrary to the Biass and Intent of it's Institution. What Bus'ness has a Tortoise among the Clouds? Or why may not the Earth it self as well Covet a Higher Place, as any Creature that's Confin'd to't? It is, in short, a Silly, an Extravagant, and in Truth, so Impious a Fancy, that there can hardly be a Greater Folly then to Wish, or but so much as to Suppose it: But there's an Ambition in Mean Creatures, as well as in Mean Souls. So many Ridiculous Upstarts as we find Promoted in the World, we may Imagine to be so many Tortoises in the Air; and when they have Flutter'd there a While, like Paper-Kites, for the Boys to stare at, He that took them up, grows either Asham'd, or Weary of them, and so lets them Drop again; and, with the Devil Himself, e'en leaves them where he found them. This may serve to put a Check to the Vanity and Folly of an Unruly Ambition; that's Deaf, not only to the Advice of Friends, but to the Councels and Monitions of the very Spirit of Reason it self: For Flying without Wings is All one with Working without Means. We see a Thousand Instances in the World, Every jot as Ridiculous as This in the Fable. That is to say of Men that are Made for One Condition, and yet Affect Another. What Signifies the Fiction of Phaeton in the Chariot of the Sun? The Frog vying Bulk with an Oxe; or the Tortoise Riding upon the Wings of the Wind; but to Prescribe Bounds and Measures to our Exorbitant Passions; and at the same time, to shew us upon the Issue that All Unnatural Pretensions are Attended with a Certain Ruine?

 


 

FAB. CCXXI. An Old Crab and a Young.

CHild, (says the Mother) You must Use your self to Walk Streight, without Skewing, and Shailing so Every step you set: Pray Mother (says the Young Crab) do but set the Example your self, and I'll follow ye.

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FAB. CCXXII. The Goose and Gosselin.

WHY do you go Nodding, and Waggling so like a Fool, as if you were Hipshot? says the Goose to her Gosselin. The Young One try'd to Mend it, but Could not; and so the Mother ty'd Little Sticks to her Legs, to keep her Upright: But the Little One Complain'd then, that she could neither Swim, nor Dabble with 'em. Well, says the Mother, Do but hold up your Head at least. The Gosselin Endeavour'd to do That too; but upon the Stretching out of her Long Neck, she complain'd that she could not see the Way before her: Nay then, says the Goose, if it will be no Better, e'en carry your Head and your Feet, as your Elders have done before ye.

The Moral of the Two Fables above.

Ill Examples Corrupt even the Best Dispositions, but we must Distinguish betwixt Natural and Moral Actions.

REFLEXION.

IT is Time Lost to Advise Others to do what we either Do not, or Cannot do Our Selves. There's no Crossing of Nature; but the Best way is to rest Contented with the Ordinary Condition of Things. 'Tis but so much Labour thrown away, to Attempt the Altering of Instincts, or the Curing of Ill Habits.

Example Works a great Deal more then Precept; for Words without Practice, are but Councels without Effect. When we Do as we say, 'tis a Confirmation of the Rule; but when our Lives and Doctrines do not Agree, it looks as if the Lesson were either too Hard for us, or the Advice, not worth the While to Follow. We should see to Mend our Own Manners, before we Meddle to Reform our Neighbours, and not Condemn Others for what we do our Selves: Especially where they follow the Nature of their Kind, and in so doing, Do as they Ought to do. Let Every thing Move, March, and Govern it self, according to the Proper Disposition of the Creature; for it would be Every Jot as Incongruous, for a Crab to Walk like a Man, as for a Man to Walk like a Crab. This may be apply'd to the Lessons that are given us for the Ordering of our Lives and Families. But above All Things, Children should not be Betray'd into the Love and Practice of any thing that is Amiss, by Setting Evil Examples before them; for their Talent is only Imitation; and 'tis Ill Trusting Mimicks in such a Case, without a Judgment to Distinguish.

This Allegory may pass for a very Good Lecture to Governors, Parents, and Tutors, to behave themselves Reverently both in Word and Deed, before their Pupils, with a kind of Awful Tenderness for [Page 195] the Innocency and Simplicity of Youth. For Examples of Vices, or Weaknesses, have the same Effect upon Children, with Examples of Vertue; Nay it holds in Publique too as well as in Private, that the Words and Actions of our Superiors have the Authority and Force of a Recommendation. Regis ad Exemplum, is so True, that 'tis Morally Impossible to have a Sober People under a Mad Government. For where Lewdness is the Way to Preferment, Men are Wicked by Interest, as well by Imitation: But to Return to the Stress of the Fable, Let a Goose Walk like a Goose, and leave Nature to do her Own Bus'ness her Own Way.

 


 

FAB. CCXXIII. The Sun and the Wind.

THere happen'd a Controversy betwixt the Sun and the Wind, which was the Stronger of the Two; and they put the Point upon This Issue: There was a Traveller upon the Way, and which of the Two could make That Fellow Quit his Cloak should carry the Cause. The Wind fell presently a Storming, and threw Hail-Shot over and above in the very Teeth of him. The Man Wraps himself up, and keeps Advancing still in spight of the Weather: But This Gust in a short Time Blew over; and then the Sun Brake out, and fell to Work upon him with his Beams; but still he Pushes forward, Sweating, and Panting, till in the End he was forc'd to Quit his Cloak, and lay himself down upon the Ground in a Cool Shade for his Relief: So that the Sun, in the Conclusion, carry'd the Point.

The MORAL.

Reason and Resolution will Support a Man against All the Violences of Malice and Fortune; but in a Wallowing Qualm, a Man's Heart and Resolution fails him, for want of Fit Matter to Work upon.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Part of Good Discretion in All Contests, to Consider over and over, the Power, the Strength, and the Interest of our Adversary; and likewise again, that though One Man may be more Robust then Another, That Force may be Baffled yet by Skill and Address. It is in the Bus'ness of Life as it is in a Storm, or a Calm at Sea: The Blast may be Impetuous; but seldom lasts long; and though the Vessel be Press'd never so Hard, a Skilful Steers-man will yet bear up against it: But in a Dead Calm, a Man loses his Spirits, and lies in a Manner Expos'd, as the Scorn and Spectacle of Ill Fortune.

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FAB. CCXXIV. An Ass in a Lyon's Skin.

THere was a Freak took an Ass in the Head, to Scoure abroad upon the Ramble; and away he goes into the Woods, Masquerading up and down in a Lyon's Skin. The World was his Own for a while, and wherever he went, Man and Beast Fled before him: But he had the Hap in the Conclusion, partly by his Voice, and partly by his Ears, to be Discover'd, and consequently Uncas'd, well Laugh'd at, and well Cudgell'd for his Pains.

The MORAL.

The World abounds in Terrible Fansarons, in the Masque of Men of Honour: But These Braggadocio's are Easy to be Detected; for no Counterfeit of any Good Quality or Vertue whatsoever, will abide the Test.

REFLEXION.

THERE's Nothing more Frequent, or more Ridiculous in the World, then for an Ass to Dress himself up like a Lyon: A Dunce sets up for a Doctor; a Beggar for a Man of Estate; a Scoundrel for a Cavalier; a Polrcon for a Sword-man: But Every Fool still has some Mark or other to be Known by, thorough All Disguises; and the More he takes upon him, the Arranter Sot he makes Himself, when he comes to be Unmasqu'd.

Every Fool, or Fools Fellow, carries More or Less, in his Face, the Signature of his Manners, though the Character may be much more Legible in some, then in Others; As the Ass was found out by his Voice and by his Ears. Let him keep his Words betwixt his Teeth, and he may pass Muster perhaps for a Man of some Sense; but if he comes to Open once, he's Lost: For Nature never put the Tongue of a Philosopher into the Mouth of a Coxcomb: But however, let him be, in truth, what he Will, he is yet so Conscious of what he Ought to be, that he makes it his Business to pass for what he is not: And in the Matter of Counterfeits, it is with Men, as it is with False Mony: One Piece is more or less Passable then Another, as it happens to have more or less Sense, or Sterling in the Mixture. One General Mark of an Impostor is This; That he Out-does the Original; As the Ass here in the Lyon-skin, made Fifty times more Clutter then the Lyon would have done in his Own; And Himself Fifty times the more Ridiculous for the Disguise.

If a Man turn his Thoughts now from This Fancy in the Forrest, to the Sober Truth of Daily Experience in the World, he shall find Asses in the Skins of Men, Infinitely more Contemptible then This Ass in the Skin of a Lyon. How many Terrible Asses have we seen in the Garb of Men of Honour! How many Insipid, and Illiterate Fops, that take upon them to Retail Politiques, and sit for the Picture of Men of State! How [Page 197] many Iudas's with Hail Master in their Mouths! How many Church-Robbers that Write themselves Reformers! In One Word, Men do Naturally love to bethought Greater, Wiser, Holier, Braver, and Juster then they Are; and in fine, Better Qualify'd in All Those Faculties that may give them Reputation among the People, then we find 'em to be.

The Moral of This Fable Hits all sorts of Arrogant Pretenders, and runs Effectually into the Whole Bus'ness of Humane Life. We have it in the very Cabinets, and Councels of State, the Bar, the Bench, the Change, the Schools, the Pulpits; All Places, in short, are full of Quacks, Jugglers and Plagiaries, that set up for Men of Quality, Conscience, Philosophy, and Religion. So that there are Asses with Short Ears, as well as with Long, and in Robes of Silk and Dignity, as well as in Skins of Hair. In Conclusion, An Ass of the Long Robe, when he comes once to be Detected, looks Infinitely Sillier, then he would have done in his own Shape: Neither is Aesop's Ass Laugh'd at here for his Ears, or for his Voice, but for his Vanity, and Pretence; for T'other is but according to his own Kind and Nature; and Every thing is Well and Best, while it Continues to be as God made it.

 


 

FAB. CCXXV. A Fox and a Worm.

A Worm put forth his Head out of a Dunghil, and made Proclamation of his Skill in Physick. Pray, says the Fox, Begin with your Own Infirmities before you Meddle with other Peoples.

The MORAL.

Physician Cure thy Self.

REFLEXION.

SAYING and Doing are Two Things. Physician Cure thy self, Preaches to us upon This Fable. Every Man does Best in his own Trade, and the Cobler is not to go beyond his Last. We have of These Dunghil-Pretenders, in All Professions, and but too many of them that Thrive upon their Arrogance. If This Worm had met with an Ass to Encourage his Vanity, instead of a Fox to Correct it, he might have been Advanc'd to a Doctor of the College perhaps: Or to some more Considerable Post of Honour, either in Church or State.

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FAB. CCXXVI. A Curst Dog.

THere was a very Good House-Dog, but so Dangerous a Cur to Strangers, that his Master put a Bell about his Neck, to give People Notice before-hand when he was a Coming. The Dog took this Bell for a Particular Mark of his Master's Favour, till One of his Companions shew'd him his Mistake. You are Mightily Out (says he) to take This for an Ornament, or a Token of Esteem, which is in truth, no Other then a Note of Infamy set upon you for your Ill Manners.

The MORAL.

This may serve for an Admonition to Those that make a Glory of the Marks of their Shame, and Value themselves upon the Reputation of an Ill-Character.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Bad World, when the Rules and Measures of Good and Evil, are either Inverted, or Mistaken; and when a Brand of Infamy passes for a Badge of Honour. But the Common People do not Judge of Vice or Vertue, by the Morality, or the Immorality of the Matter, so much as by the Stamp that is set upon't by Men of President and Figure. What's more Familiar then an Ostentation of Wickedness, where Impiety has the Reputation of Vertue? As in the Excesses of Wine, and Women, and the Vanity of bearing up against all the Laws of God and Man. When Lewdness comes once to be a Fashion, it has the Credit in the World that other Fashions have; as we see Many times an Affectation even of Deformity it self, where some Exemplary Defect has brought that Deformity to be a Mode. The Fancy of This Dog was somewhat like the French Womans Freak, that stood up for the Honour of her Family: Her Coat was Quarter'd, she said, with the Arms of France; which was so far True, that she had the Flower-de-Luce Stamp'd, we must not say Branded upon her Shoulder.

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FAB. CCXXVII. Two Friends and a Bear.

TWO Friends that were Travelling together, had the Fortune to Meet a Bear upon the Way. They found there was no Running for't. So the One Whips up a Tree, and the Other throws himself Flat with his Face upon the Ground. The Bear comes directly up to Him, Muzzles, and Smells to him, puts his Nose to his Mouth, and to his Ears, and at last, taking for Granted that 'twas only a Carcass, there he leaves him. The Bear was no sooner gone, but Down comes his Companion, and ask'd him, what it was the Bear Whisper'd him in the Ear. He bad me have a Care, says he, how I keep Company with those, that when they find themselves upon a Pinch, will leave their Friends in the Lurch.

The MORAL.

Every Man for Himself, and God for us All.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable has in a Few Words a Great many Useful, and Instructive Morals. The Man upon the Tree Preaches to us upon the Text of [Charity begins at Home] According to the False and Perverse Practice of the World when their Companions are in Distress. The Bear passes a Judgment upon the Abandoning of a Friend in a Time of Need, as an Offence both to Honour and Vertue; And moreover, Cautions us, above All Things, to have a Care what Company we keep. There's no Living in This World without Friendship; No Society; No Security without it; Beside that the Only Tryal of it is in Adversity. And yet nothing Commoner in times of Danger, then for States-men, Sword-men, Churchmen, Law-men, and intruth, all sorts of Men, more or less, to leave their Masters, Leaders, or Friends, to Bears and Tygers; Shew them a Fair pair of Heels for't, and cry, The Devil Take the Hindmost.

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FAB. CCXXVIII. A Horse-man's Whig Blown off.

THere was a Horse-man had a Cap on with a False Head of Hair Tack'd to't. There comes a Puff of Wind, and Blows off Cap and Whig together. The People made sport he saw with his Bald Crown, and so very fairly he put In with them to Laugh for Company. Why Gentlemen (says he) would you have me keep other Peoples Hair Better then I did my Own?

The MORAL.

Many a Man would be Extremely Ridiculous, if he did not Spoil the Iest by Playing upon Himself first.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Turn of Art, in many Cases, either of Deformity, or Mischance, where a Man lies open to a Reproach to Anticipate an Abuse, and to make Sport with Himself first. A Man may be Shame-Fac'd, and a Woman, Modest, to the Degree of Scandalous. I knew a Lady had one of the most Bashful, Scrupulous Persons to her Daughter that ever was Born. Well, says she, I am mightily afraid, This Girl will prove a Whore; for she is so Infinitely Modest, that in my Conscience if any Man should ever Ask her the Question, she would not have the Face to Deny him. A Frank Easy way of Openness and Candor agrees Best with All Humours; and He that's Over-solicitous to Conceal a Thing, does as good as make Proclamation of it. Wherefore the Horse-man here Laugh'd first; and so Prevented the Iest.

 


 

FAB. CCXXIX. Two Pots.

THere were Two Pots that stood near One Another by the Side of a River, the One of Brass, and the other of Clay. The VVater overflow'd the Banks, and Carry'd them Both away: The Earthen Vessel kept Aloof from T'other as much as Possible. Fear Nothing, says the Brass Pot, I'll do you No Hurt: No, No, says T'other, not willingly; but if we should happen to Knock by Chance, 'twould be the same Thing to Me: So that You and I shall never do well together.

[Page 201]

The MORAL.

Unequal Fellowships and Alliances are Dangerous. Not but that Great and Small, Hard, and Brittle, Rich and Poor, may sort Well enough together so long as the Good Humour Lasts; but wherever there are Men there will be Clashing some time or other, and a Knock, or a Contest spoils All.

REFLEXION.

THERE can be no True Friendship, properly so Call'd but betwixt Equals. The Rich and the Poor, the Strong and the Weak will never agree together: For there's Danger on the One side, and None on the Other, and 'tis the Common Interest of All Leagues and Societies, to have the Respective Parties Necessary to One Another. And there needs no Ill Will, or Malice neither, to do the Mischief, but the Disparity, or Disproportion Alone is enough to do the Work. The same Quantity of Wine that makes One Man Drunk, will not Quench Another Man's Thirst. The same Expence that breaks One Man's Back is not a Flea-biting to Another: Wherefore, Men should sort themselves with their Equals; for a Rich Man that Converses upon the Square with a Poor Man, shall as certainly Undoe him, as a Brass Pot shall break an Earthen One, if they Meet and Knock together.

 


 

FAB. CCXXX. Good Luck and Bad Luck.

THere was a Middling sort of a Man that was left well enough to pass by his Father, but could never think he had enough, so long as any Man had more. He took Notice what Huge Estates many Merchants got in a very short Time; and so Sold his Inheritance, and betook himself to a way of Traffique and Commerce. Matters succeeded so Wonderfully well with him, that Every body was in Admiration to see how Mighty Rich he was grown all on a Sudden. Why Ay, says he, This 'tis for a Man to Understand his Bus'ness; for I have done All This by my Industry. It would have been well if he had stopt there: But Avarice is Insatiable, and so he went Pushing on still for More; till, what by Wrecks, Bankrupts, Pyrates, and I know not how many other Disappointments, One upon the Neck of Another, he was reduc'd in Half the Time that he was a Rising, to a Morsel of Bread. Upon These Miscarriages, People were at him over, and over again, [Page 202] to know how This came About. Why says he, My Damn'd Fortune would have it so. Fortune happen'd to be at That Time within Hearing, and told him in his Ear, that he was an Arrogant, Ungrateful Clown; to Charge Her with All the Evil that Befell him, and to take the Good to Himself.

 


 

FAB. CCXXXI. A Country-man and Fortune.

AS a Labourer was at his Work a Digging, he Chops his Spade upon a Pot of Money; Takes it up, Blesses the Place where he found it, and away he goes with his Treasure. It so fell out, that Fortune Saw and Heard All that Past, and so she call'd out to him upon the Way. Heark ye Friend, says she; You are very Thankful, I perceive, to the Place where you found This Money; but 'tis the Iade Fortune, I warrant ye, that's to be Claw'd away for't: if you should happen to Lose it again. Pray tell me now why should not you Thank Fortune for the One, as well as Curse her for the Other.

 


 

FAB. CCXXXII. An Old UUoman and the Devil.

'TIS a Common Practice, when People draw Mischiefs upon their Own Heads, to cry, the Devil's in't, and the Devil's in't. Now the Devil happen'd to spy an Old Woman upon an Apple-Tree. Look ye (says he) You shall see that Beldam Catch a Fall there by and by, and Break her Bones, and then say 'twas all long of me. Pray Good People will you bear me Witness, that I was None of her Adviser. The Woman got a Tumble, as the Devil said she would, and there was she at it. The Devil Ought her a Shame, and the Devil put her upon't: But the Devil Clear'd himself by sufficient Evidence that he had no Hand in't at all.

[Page 203]

 


 

FAB. CCXXXIII. A Boy and Fortune.

THere was a Boy fast asleep upon the very Brink of a River. Fortune came to him, and wak'd him. Child, says she, prethee get up, and go thy ways, thou't Tumble in and be Drown'd else, and then the Fault will be laid upon Me.

The Moral of the Four Fables Above.

We are apt to Ascribe our Successes in This World, and to Impute our Misfortunes, to Wrong Causes. We Assume the One to our Selves, and Charge the Other upon Providence.

REFLEXION.

THESE Four Fables run upon the same Biass; That is to say, the Moral is a Lash at the Vanity of Arrogating That to our selves, which succeeds Well, and the Ingratitude of making Providence the Author of Evil, which seldom scapes without a Judgment in the Tayle on't. But our Hearts are so much set upon the Value of the Benefits we receive, that we never Think of the Bestower of them, and so our Acknowledgments are commonly paid to the Second Hand, without any Regard to the Principal. We run into Mistakes, and Misfortunes, of our Own Accord; and then when we are once Hamper'd, we lay the Blame of our Own Faults and Corruptions upon Others. This is much the Humour of the World too in Common Bus'ness. If any thing Hits, we take it to our Selves; if it Miscarries, we shuffle it off to our Neighbours. This Arises, partly from Pride, and in part from a Certain Canker'd Malignity of Nature. Nay rather then Impute our Miscarriages and Disappointments to our Own Corruptions, or Frailties, we do not Stick to Arraign Providence it self, though under Another Name, in all our Exclamations against the Rigour, and the Iniquity of Fortune. Now This Fortune in the Fable, is Effectually, God Himself, in the Moral. We are apt to Value our selves upon our Own Strength and Abilities, and to Entitle Carnal Reason to the very Works of Grace: And where any thing goes Wrong with us, we lay our Faults, as we do our Bastards, at Other Peoples Doors. This or That was not well done, we say, but alas it was none of our Fault. We did it by Constraint, Advice, Importunity, or the Authority perhaps of Great Examples, and the Like. At This rate do we Palliate our Own Weaknesses and Corruptions, and at the same Rate do We likewise Assume to our selves Other Peoples Merits. The Thing to be done, in fine, is to Correct the Arrogance of Claiming to our selves the Good that does not belong to us on the One Hand, and of Imputing to our Neighbors the Ill that they are not Guilty of, on the Other. This is the Sum of the Doctrine that's Pointed at in the Case and Custom of Dividing our Miscarriages betwixt Fortune and the Devil.

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FAB. CCXXXIV. A Peacock and a Crane.

AS a Peacock and a Crane were in Company together, the Peacock spreads his Tail, and Challenges the Other, to shew him such a Fan of Feathers. The Crane, upon This, Springs up into the Air, and calls to the Peacock to Follow him if he could. You Brag of your Plumes, says he, that are Fair indeed to the Eye, but no way Useful or Fit for any manner of Service.

The MORAL.

Heaven has provided not only for our Necessities, but for our Delights and Pleasures too; but still the Blessings that are most Useful to us, must be preferr'd before the Ornaments of Beauty.

REFLEXION.

NO Man is to be Despis'd for any Natural Infirmity, or Defect; for Every Man has something or other in him of Good too, and That which One Man Wants, Another Has. And it is all according to the Good Pleasure of Providence. Nature is pleas'd to Entertain her self with Variety. Some of her Works are for Ornament, others for the Use and Service of Mankind. But they have All Respectively, their Proprieties, and their Vertues; for she does nothing in Vain. The Peacock Values himself upon the Gracefulness of his Train. The Crane's Pride is in the Rankness of her Wing: Which are only Two Excellencies in several Kinds. Take them apart, and they are Both Equally Perfect: but Good Things Themselves have their Degrees, and That which is most Necessary and Useful, must be Allow'd a Preference to the Other.

 


 

FAB. CCXXXV. A Tyger and a Fox.

AS a Huntsman was upon the Chace, and the Beasts flying before him; Let Me alone, says a Tyger, and I'll put an end to This War my self: At which Word, he Advanced toward the Enemy in his Single Person. The Resolution was no sooner Taken, but he found himself Struck through the Body with an Arrow. He Fasten'd upon it presently with his Teeth, and while he was Trying to Draw it out, a Fox Ask'd him, from what Bold Hand it was that he Receiv'd This Wound. I know [Page 205] Nothing of That, says the Tyger, but by the Circumstances, it should be a Man.

The MORAL.

There's No Opposing Brutal Force to the Stratagems of Humane Reason.

REFLEXION.

BOLDNESS without Counsel, is no better then an Impetus, which is commonly Worsted by Conduct and Design. There's No Man so Daring but some time or Other he Meets with his Match. The Moral, in short, holds forth This Doctrine, that Reason is too Hard for Force; and that Temerity puts a Man off his Guard. 'Tis a High Point of Honour, Philosophy and Vertue, for a Man to be so Present to Himself as to be always Provided against All Encounters, and Accidents whatsoever; but This will not Hinder him from Enquiring Diligently into the Character, the Strength, Motions, and Designs of an Enemy. The Tyger lost his Life for want of This Circumspection.

 


 

FAB. CCXXXVI. A Lyon and Bulls.

THere was a Party of Bulls that Struck up a League to Keep and Feed together, and to be One and All in case of a Common Enemy. If the Lyon could have Met with any of them Single, he would have done His Work, but so long as they Stuck to This Confederacy, there was No Dealing with them. They fell to Variance at last among Themselves: The Lyon made his Advantage of it, and then with Great Ease he Gain'd his End.

The MORAL.

This is to tell us the Advantage, the Necessity, and the Force of Union; And that Division brings Ruine.

[Page 206]

REFLEXION.

THERE's No Resisting of a Common Enemy; No Maintaining of a Civil Community, without an Union for a Mutual Defence; and there may be also, on the Other Hand, a Conspiracy of Common Enmity and Aggression. There are Cases indeed of Great Nicety that fall under the Topique of the Right and Lawfulness of Joyning in such Leagues. He that is not Sui Iuris, must not Enter into any Covenants or Contracts to the Wrong of his Master: But there are Certain Rules of Honesty, and Methods of Government, to Direct us in all Agreements of This Quality. A Thing simply Good in it self, may become Unjust and Unrighteous, under such and such Circumstances. In a Word, the Main Bond of All Bodies and Interests is Union, which is No Other in Effect then a Common Stock of Strength and Counsel Joyn'd in One. While the Bulls kept together, they were Safe; but so soon as ever they separated, they became a Prey to the Lyon.

 


 

FAB. CCXXXVII. A Fir and a Bramble.

THere goes a Story of a Fir-Tree, that in a Vain spiteful Humour, was mightily upon the Pin of Commending it self, and Despising the Bramble. My Head (says the Fir) is advanc'd among the Stars. I furnish Beams for Palaces. Masts for Shipping: The very Sweat of my Body is a Sovereign Remedy for the Sick and Wounded: Whereas the Rascally Bramble runs creeping in the Dirt, and serves for No Purpose in the World but Mischief. Well, says the Bramble (that Over-heard all This) You might have said somewhat of your Own Misfortune, and to My Advantage too, if Your Pride and Envy would have suffer'd you to do it. But pray will you tell me however, when the Carpenter comes next with his Axe into the Wood to Fell Timber, whether you had not rather be a Bramble then a Fir-Tree.

The MORAL.

Poverty Secures a Man from Thieves, Great and Small: Whereas the Rich, and the Mighty are the Mark of Malice, and Cross Fortune, and still the Higher they Are, the Nearer the Thunder.

[Page 207]

REFLEXION.

THERE is no State of Life without a Mixture in't of Good and Evil; and the Highest Pitch of Fortune is not without Dangers, Cares, and Fears. This Doctrine is Verify'd by Examples Innumerable, thorough the Whole History of the World, and that the Mean is Best, both for Body, Mind, and Estate. Pride is not only Uneasie, but Unsafe too, for it has the Power and Justice of Heaven, and the Malicious Envy of Men to Encounter at the same Time; and the Axe that Cuts down the Fir, is Rightly Moralliz'd in the Stroke of Divine Vengeance, that brings down the Arrogant, while the Bramble Contents it self in its Station: That is to say; Humility is a Vertue, that never goes without a Blessing.

 


 

FAB. CCXXXVIII. A Covetous Man and an Envious.

THere was a Covetous, and an Envious Man, that Joyn'd in a Petition to Iupiter, who very Graciously Order'd Apollo to tell them that their Desire should be Granted at a Venture; provided only, that whatever the One Ask'd, should be Doubled to the Other. The Covetous Man, that thought he could never have enough, was a good While at a Stand: Considering, that let him Ask Never so much, the Other should have Twice as much: But he came however by Degrees, to Pitch upon One Thing after Another, and his Companion had it Double. It was now the Envious Man's turn to Offer up His Request, which was, that One of his Own Eyes might be put out, for his Companion was then to lose Both.

The MORAL.

Avarice and Envy are Two of the most Diabolical, and Insociable Vices under Heaven. The One Assumes All to it self, and the Other Wishes Every bit it's Neighbour Eats may Choak him.

REFLEXION.

THERE are some Pestilent Humours and Froward Natures, that Heaven it self has much ado to please. Envy Places it's Happiness in the Misery and Misfortune of Others; and Avarice is never to be Pleas'd, unless it can get All to it self. They may seem to be nearer a-Kin then in truth they Are, though the One is seldom or never to be found without the Other. The Best Use of This Application, is to Possess us with a True Sense of the Restlesness of these Two Passions; and Consequently to make Those Weaknesses Odious to our selves, that are so Troublesome to the World; and in truth, no Better then the Common Pest of Mankind.

[Page 208]

 


 

FAB. CCXXXIX. A Crow and a Pitcher.

A Crow that was Extream Thirsty, found a Pitcher with a Little Water in't, but it lay so Low he could not come at it. He try'd first to Break the Pot, and then to Over-turn it, but it was both too Strong, and too Heavy for him. He Bethought Himself However of a Device at last that did his Bus'ness; which was, by Dropping a great many Little Pebbles into the Water, and Raising it That Way, till he had it within Reach.

The MORAL.

There is a Natural Logick in Animals, over and above the Instinct of their Kinds.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Kind of a School Question that we find started in This Fable, upon the Subject of Reason and Instinct: And whether This Deliberative Proceeding of the Crow was not rather a Logical Agitation of the Matter, then the Bare Analogy, as we call it, of a Simple Impulse. It will be Objected, that we are not to Draw Conclusions from the Fictions of a Case, but whoever Consults his Experience, may satisfie Himself in many Instances that come up to This Supposition. We are also taught, that what we cannot Compass Directly, by the Force of Natural Faculties, may be brought to pass many times by Art and Invention.

 


 

FAB. CCXL. A Lyon and a Man.

THere was a Gontroversie Started betwixt a Lyon and a Man, which was the Braver, and the Stronger Creature of the Two. VVhy look ye, says the Man (after a Long Dispute) we'll Appeal to That Statue there, and so he shew'd him the Figure of a Man Cut in Stone, with a Lyon under his Feet. VVell! says the Lyon, if We had been brought up to Painting and Carving, as You are, where you have One Lyon under the Feet of a Man, you should have had Twenty Men under the Paw of a Lyon.

[Page 209]

The MORAL.

'Tis against the Rules of Common Iustice for Men to be Iudges in their Own Case.

REFLEXION.

THE Fancies of Poets, Painters, and Gravers, are No Evidences of Truth; for People are Partial in their Own Cases, and Every Man will make the Best of his Own Tale. 'Tis against Common Equity for the same People to be both Parties and Judges, and That's the Case here betwixt the Man and the Lyon. Now the Lyon is much in the Right, that Characters, Pictures, and Images, are All as the Painter, the Carver, or the Statuary pleases; and that there's a Great Difference betwixt a Flight of Fancy, and the History of Nature. 'Tis much Easier for a Man to make an Ass of a Lyon upon a Pedestal, then in a Forrest; and where it lies at his Choice, whether the Giant shall Kill the Squire, or the Squire the Giant. Argument is not the Work of the Chissel; neither does the Design of the Artist conclude the Truth of the Fact: But there is somewhat Heroical yet in the Imagination, though the Piece was never Drawn from the Life.

 


 

FAB. CCXLI. A Boy and a Thief.

A Thief came to a Boy, that was Blubbering by the Side of a VVell, and Ask'd him what he cry'd for. VVhy, says he, the String's Broke here, and I've dropt a Silver Cup into the VVell. The Fellow presently Strips, and down he goes to search for't. After a while, he comes up again, with his Labour for his Pains, and the Roguy Boy, in the Mean time, was run away with his Cloaths.

The MORAL.

Some Thieves are Ripe for the Gallows sooner then Others.

[Page 210]

REFLEXION.

IT must be a Diamond that Cuts a Diamond, and there is No Pleasanter Encounter then a Tryal of Skill betwixt a Couple of Sharpers to Over-reach one Another. The Boy's beginning so Early, tells us that there are Cheats by a Natural Propensity of Inclination as well as by a Corruption of Manners. It was Nature that taught This Boy to Shark; not Discipline, or Experience. And so it was with Two Ladies that I have known (and Women of Plentiful Fortunes too) they could not for their Bloods keep themselves Honest of their Fingers, but would still be Nimming something or other for the very Love of Thieving. 'Tis an Unhappy Thing, that the Temperament of the Body should have such an Influence upon our Manners, according to the Instance of the Boy in This Fable: For the Morality, or Immorality of the Matter, is not the Whole of the Case.

 


 

FAB. CCXLII. A Country-man and an Oxe.

A Country-man had got a Stubborn Oxe, that would still be Pushing and Flinging, whenever they went to Yoak, or to Tye him up. The Man Cuts off his Horns, and puts him to the Plough, and by That Means Secures Himself, both against his Head and his Heels; and in the Mean time, He Himself Guids the Plough: But though the Oxe, when he was thus Shackled and Disarmed, could not either Strike, or Gore him, he made a shift yet to throw Dust enough into his Eyes, and his Mouth, almost to Blind, and to Choak him.

The MORAL.

A Malicious Man may be Bound Hand and Foot, and put out of Condition of doing Mischief, but a Malicious Will is never to be Master'd.

REFLEXION.

THERE are some Natures so Untractable, that there's No Good to be done upon them by Generosity, Kindness, Artifice, or Councel, nay the more pains a man takes to Reclaim them, the Worse they are; and when they are put out of Condition to do Mischief by Violence, they will find a Way yet to Teize and Plague People with Restless, and Vexatious Importunities. They Love to be Troublesome, and with the Shrew upon the Cucking-stool, when their Mouths are Stopt, they'll call Pricklouse still with their very Thumbs.

[Page 211]

 


 

FAB. CCXLIII. A Man and a Satyr.

THere was a Man and a Satyr that kept much together. The Man Clapt his Fingers one day to his Mouth, and Blew upon 'em. What's That for? (says the Satyr) why says he, My Hands are Extream Cold, and I do't to VVarm 'em. The Satyr, at Another time, found This Man Blowing his Porridge: And pray, says he, What's the Meaning of That now? Oh! says the Man, My Porridge are Hot, and I do't to Cool 'em. Nay, says the Satyr, if you have gotten a Trick of Blowing Hot and Cold out of the same Mouth, I have e'en Done with ye.

The MORAL.

There's No Conversing with any Man that Carries Two Faces under One Hood.

REFLEXION.

THE Moral of this Fable must be Abstracted from the Philosophy of it, and taken in the Sense of carrying Two Faces under One hood. It sets forth, however, the Simplicity of the Satyr in Not Understanding how Two such Contrary Effects should come from the same Lips: But it was Honestly done in him yet, to Renounce the Conversation of One that he tool for a Double-Dealer; and that could Accommodate himself to make Fair with All Companies, and Occasions, without any regard to Truth, or Justice. It was This Fable that gave Rise to the Old Adage of Blowing Hot and Cold; which is taken for the Mark and Character of a Dissembler.

 


 

FAB. CCXLIV. A Country-man and a Boar.

A Country-man took a Boar in his Corn once, and Cut off One of his Ears. He took him a Second Time, and cut off T'other. He took him a Third Time, and made a Present of him to his Landlord. Upon the Opening of his Head, they found he had no Brains, and Every body fell a Wond'ring, and Discoursing upon it. Sir, says the Clown, If This Boar had had any Brains, he would have taken the Loss [Page 212] of Both his Ears for a Warning never to come into My Corn again. These Words of the Silly Bumpkin set the whole Company a Laughing.

The MORAL.

An Incorrigible Fool that will take no Warning; there's no Hope of him.

REFLEXION.

THE Life and Conversation of some Men is so Brutal, as if they had only the Shape, without the Faculties of Reasonable Creatures. What's He better then the Boar in This Fable now, that Abandons himself wholly to his Appetites, and Pleasures; and after so many Repeated Poxes, and Qualms, One upon the Neck of Another, Drinks and Whores on still, in Despite of all Punishments, and Warnings. The Boar's Intemperance, and the Note upon him afterwards, on the Cutting of him up, that he had no Brains in's Head, may be Moraliz'd into the Figure of a Sensual Man, that has neither Grace, nor Knowledge, but runs headlong on to his Ruine, without either Conscience, or Consideration.

 


 

FAB. CCXLV. A Bull and a Mouse.

A Mouse Pinch'd a Bull by the Foot, and then slunk into her Hole. The Bull Tears up the Ground upon't, and Tosses his Head in the Air, looking about, in a Rage, for his Enemy, but sees None. As he was in the Height of his Fury, the Mouse puts out her Head, and Laughs at him. Your Pride (says she) may be brought down I see, for all Your Blustering, and your Horns; for here's a Poor Mouse has got the Better of ye, and You do not know how to Help your self.

The MORAL.

There's no such way of Revenging an Affront upon a Creature that's below an Honest Man's Anger, as Neglect and Contempt.

[Page 213]

REFLEXION.

NO Man lives without Enemies, and no Enemy is so Despicable, but some time or other he may do a Body a shrewd Turn. 'Tis Prudence to pass over Those Indignities, which are either too Little for our Consideration, or out of our Power to Reach, and Punish. For there's Nothing more Ridiculous, then an Impotent Anger, that spends it self to no manner of Purpose: and there's no Better way of Dealing with it, then to Laugh it Out of Countenance. All Men in the World that we see Transported into Outrages, for small Trivial Matters, fall under the Innuendo of This Bull in the Fable, that ran Tearing Mad for the Pinching of a Mouse.

 


 

FAB. CCXLVI. A Country-man and Hercules.

A Carter that had laid his Wagon Fast in a Slough, stood Gaping and Bawling to as many of the Gods and Goddesses as he could Muster-up, and to Hercules Especially, to Help him out of the Mire. Why ye Lazy Puppy you, says Hercules, lay your Shoulder to the Wheel, and Prick your Oxen first, and Then's your Time to Pray. Are the Gods to do your Drudgery, d'ye think, and you lie Bellowing with Your Finger in Your Mouth.

The MORAL.

Men in Distress must Work as well as Pray, they shall be never the Better else.

REFLEXION.

THIS is but after the Common Guise of the World, for people when they are put to a Plunge, to cry out to Heaven for Help, without Helping Themselves; whereas Providence Assists No Body that does not put his Own Shoulders to the Work. Prayers without Works, are Nothing Worth, either for Other People, or for our selves [For Other People] I say, because there is a Double Duty Incumbent upon us in the Exercise of Those Powers, and Abilities, which Providence has given us for the Common Good of Both. There must be the Penny as well as the Pater-Noster. 'Tis not a Bare Lord have Mercy upon us, that will help the Cart out of the Mire, or our Neighbour out of the Ditch, without putting our Hands to the Work. What signifies the Sound of Words in Prayer, without the Affection of the Heart, and a sedulous Application of the Proper Means that may Naturally lead to such an End. This is to say, Body and Soul must go together, in All the Offices of a Christian, as well [Page 214] as of a Civil Life, where there is place for the Exercise of the Faculties of Both.

There is also a Pompous, and a Noisie Devotion, that cries aloud to be heard of Men; which is by so much the more Odious in the sight of God then the Other, as an Hypocritical Affectation of Religion, is Worse then a Drowsie Heartlessness of Duty, The Moral of This Fable may be Understood to look Both Ways, but Care must be Taken however, not to let the Scandals of Theatrical Appearances, Divert, or Deter us from the Practice of Holy Offices, within the Bounds of Piety and Good Conscience: after the Example of Those, that set up for Atheists, for fear they should be taken for Enthusiasts. He, in fine, that Made Body and Soul will be Serv'd and Glorify'd by Both. Beside that Hercules helps no Body that will not Help himself.

 


 

FAB. CCXLVII. A Hen and Golden Eggs.

A Certain Good VVoman had a Hen, that Laid her Golden Eggs, which could not be, she thought, without a Mine in the Belly of her. Upon This Presumption she Cut her up to Search for Hidden Treasure: But upon the Dissection found her just like Other Hens, and that the Hope of Getting more had betray'd her to the Loss of what she had in Possession.

The MORAL.

This is the Fate, Folly and Mischief of Vain Desires, and of an Immoderate Love of Riches. Content wants Nothing, and Covetousness brings Beggery.

REFLEXION.

THEY that would still have more and more, can never have Enough; No, Not if a Miracle should Interpose to Gratify their Avarice; for it makes Men Unthankful to the Highest Degree, not only in General, for the Benefits they Receive, but in particular also to the very Benefactors Themselves. If the Nearest Friend a Covetous Man has in the World, had really a Mine in his Guts, he'd Rip him up to Find it: For his Bus'ness is to make the Most of what he has, and of what he can get, without any regard to the Course of Providence, or of Nature: And what's the End of All These Unreasonable Desires, but Loss, Sorrow, and Disappointment? The True Intent of This Fable is to Possess us with a Just Sense of the Vanity and Folly of these Craving Appetites. If the Woman could have been Contented with Golden Eggs, she might have kept That Revenue on still; but when Nothing less then the Mine it self would serve her, she lost Hen, Eggs and all.

[Page 215]

 


 

FAB. CCXLVIII. An Ape and her Two Brats.

THERE was an Ape that had Two Twins. She Doted upon One of them, and did not much Care for T'other. She took a sudden Fright once, and in a Hurry whips up her Darling under her Arm, and carries the Other a Pick-a-Pack upon her Shoulders. In This Haste and Maze, Down she comes, and beats out her Favourites Brains against a Stone; but That which she had at her Back came off Safe and Sound.

The MORAL.

Fondlings are Commonly Unfortunate.

REFLEXION.

PARTIALITY in a Parent is commonly Unlucky, if not a little Unnatural, for Fondlings are in danger to be made Fools, by the very Error of their Education, and we find it Experimentally that the Children that are least Cocker'd make the Best, and Wisest Men. 'Tis well to be Tender, but to set the Heart too much upon any thing, is what we cannot Justify, either in Religion, or in Reason. I was Saying that Partiality was a little Unnatural too. I do not mean a Partiality of Inclination; for we cannot Command our Likings, or our Aversions; but I speak of a Partiality that shews it self in a Distinguishing Preference of One to the Other, and therefore what Hankering Dispositions soever we may have, That Fondness should not Ttansport us beyond the Bounds of a Discreet Affection: And Other Circumstances apart, we should no more be Kinder to One Child then to Another, then we are Tender of One Eye more then of the Other; for they are Both our Own Flesh and Bloud alike. Children are Naturally Jealous, and Envious, and the Quenching of their Spirits so Early, Hazzards the Damping of them for ever. Beside, that there is no such Fop in Fine, as my Young Master that has the Honour to be a Fool of his Lady Mothers Making. She Blows him up with a Conceit of Himself. and there he Stops without ever Advancing One Step further. In short, she makes a Man of him at Sixteen, and a Boy all the Days of his Life after. And what is All This now, but the True Moral of the Ape with her Brats here in the Fable? The Cub that she carry'd at her Back had the Wit to Shift for it self; but the Other, that she Hugg'd as the Devil did the Witch, Perish'd in her very Arms.

[Page 216]

 


 

FAB. CCXLIX. An Oxe and a Heifer.

A Wanton Heifer that had little Else to do then to Frisk up and down in a Meadow, at Ease and Pleasure, came up to a Working Oxe with a Thousand Reproaches in her Mouth; Bless me, says the Heifer, what a Difference there is betwixt your Coat and Condition, and Mine! Why, What a Gall'd Nasty Neck have we here! Look ye, Mines as Clean as a Penny, and as smooth as Silk I warrant ye. 'Tis a Slavish Life to be Yoak'd thus, and in Perpetual Labour. What would you give to be as Free and as Easy now as I am? The Oxe kept These Things in his Thought, without One Word in Answer at present; but seeing the Heifer taken up a While after for a Sacrifice: Well Sister, says he, and have not you Frisk'd fair now, when the Ease and Liberty you Valu'd your self upon, has brought you to This End?

The MORAL.

'Tis No New Thing for Men of Liberty and Pleasure, to make Sport with the Plain, Honest Servants of their Prince and Country: But Mark the End on't, and while the One Labours in his Duty with a Good Conscience, the Other, like a Beast, is but Fatting up for the Shambles.

REFLEXION.

THERE was never any thing gotten by Sensuality and Sloth, either in Matter of Profit or of Reputation, whereas an Active, Industrious Life, carries not only Credit and Advantage, but a Good Conscience also along with it. The Lazy, the Voluptuous, the Proud, and the Delicate are Struck at in This Fable: Men that Set their Hearts only upon the Present, without either Entring into the Reason, or looking forward into the End of Things: Little Dreaming that all this Pomp of Vanity, Plenty, and Pleasure, is but a Fattening of them for the Slaughter. 'Tis the Case of Great and Rich Men in the World; the very Advantages they Glory in are the Cause of their Ruine. The Heifer that Valu'd it self upon a Smooth Coat, and a Plump Habit of Body was taken up for a Sacrifice; but the Oxe that was Despis'd for his Drudgery, and his Raw-Bones, went on with his Work still in the Way of a Safe and an Honest Labour.

[Page 217]

 


 

FAB. CCL. A Dog and a Lyon.

WHat a Miserable Life dost thou lead, says a Dog to a Lyon, to run Starving up and down thus in Woods and Deserts, without either Meat, or Ease. I am Fat and Fair you see, and it Costs me neither Labour, nor Pains. Nay, says the Lyon, you have many a Good Bit no Doubt on't; but then like a Fool you subject your self to the Clogs and Chains that go along with it: But for my Own Part, let him serve that serve Can, and serve Will, I'll Live and Die Free.

The MORAL.

That Man deserves to be a Slave, that Sacrifices his Liberty to his Appetite.

REFLEXION.

THE Moral of This is the Same with That of Dog and Wolfe, Fab. 69.

 


 

FAB. CCLI. A River-Fish and a Sea-Fish.

THere was a Large Over-grown Pike that had the Fortune to be Carry'd out to Sea by a Strong Current, and he had there the Vanity to Value himself above All the Fish in the Ocean. We'l refer That (says a Sturgeon) to the Judgment of the Market, and see which of the Two Yields the Better Price.

The MORAL.

Every Man has his Province Assign'd him, and none but a Mad-man will pretend to Impose; and to give Laws where he has Nothing to do.

REFLEXION.

THERE's no Folly like That of Vain Glory, nor any thing more Ridiculous then for a Vain Man to be still Boasting of Himself: For 'tis against All Law and Equity, for a Body to be admitted a Judge in ones Own Case. A second Doctrine may be This (and we find it True by Experience) that Money Governs the World; and that the Market Price is the [Page 218] Measure of the Worth of Men as well as of Fishes: As the Sturgeon left it to the Fish-monger to Determine the Controversy betwixt Him and the Pike.

 


 

FAB. CCLII. A Fox and a Leopard.

AS a Leopard was Valuing himself upon the Lustre of his Party-colour'd-Skin, a Fox gave him a Jog, and Whisper'd him, that the Beauty of the Mind was an Excellence, Infinitely to be Preferr'd above That of a Painted Out-side.

The MORAL.

A Good Understanding is a Blessing Infinitely beyond All External Beauties.

REFLEXION.

THERE are Degrees in Good Things. There are Blessings of Fortune, and Those are of the Lowest Rate. The Next above Those Blessings are the Bodily Advantages of Strength, Gracefulness and Health; but the Superlative Blessings, in fine, are the Blessings of the Mind: Fools 'tis true may be allow'd to Brag of Foolish Things; but the Leopard's Beauty without the Foxes Wit is no better then a Fop in a Gay Coat.

[Page 219]

THE FABLES OF ABSTEMIUS, &c.

 


 

FAB. CCLIII. Demades the Orator.

THIS Demades was a very Famous Orator, and taking Notice as he was in the Middle of a Discourse to the People upon a Subject of Great Importance, that their Thoughts were Wand'ring upon Something else, he slipt from his Text into This Digression. Ceres, (says he) a Swallow, and an Eele, were Travelling together upon the Way: They came to a River, it seems, and the Swallow flew over it; The Eele made a shift to Swim thorough it;—And there he stopt. Well (says some of the Company) and what became of Ceres? Why (says Demades) The Goddess was mightily Offended, to find so many People in the World that are Deaf to any thing they may be the Better for, and yet have their Ears Open to Fooleries.

The MORAL.

People are sooner Reclaim'd by the Side-Wind of a Surprize, then by Downright Admonition and Councel; for they'l lend an Ear to a Parable when Nothing else will Down with them.

[Page 220]

REFLEXION.

MEN Mind the Pleasure, and the Satisfaction of a Fancy, or a Loose Appetite more then they do Better Things; and they are sooner brought to Themselves, and set Right by the Innuendo of a Parable, then by the Dint of direct Reason. There are many Men that are Infinitely Tender in Point of Honour, and have very little Regard yet upon the Main, to Truth and Equity. Now such People as These are sooner Wrought upon by Shame then by Conscience, when they find themselves Fool'd and Shamm'd (as we say) into a Conviction. This Fable tells us what we Ought to do in the Case of Attending to Instructive and Profitable Counsels. It tells us also what we are apt to do, in Heark'ning after Fooleries: and losing the Opportunity of Hearing and Learning Better Things. And it shews us in fine, the force of an Allegory betwixt Jest and Earnest; which in such a Case as This, is certainly the most Artificial, Civil, and Effectual Manner of Reproach. I call it a Reproach; for 'tis an Affront to Good Manners as well as to Ordinary Prudence, not to Hearken to a Man of Authority; That is to say, to the Voice of Wisdom, when she speaks to us out of the Mouth of a Philosopher. Men that have Wand'ring Thoughts at such a Lecture, deserve as well to be Whipt, as Boys for Playing at Push-Pin, when they should be Learning their Lesson: Beside, that it is only Another way of calling a Man Fool, when no Heed is given to what he says. Now Demades that Understood both his Bus'ness, and the Weak side of Humane Nature perfectly Well, never troubled his Head to bring his Auditory to their Wits again by the Force of Dry and Sober Reason; but Circumvented them by a Delicate Figure, into a Curiosity that led them Naturally to a Better Sense of their Interest, and their Duty.

 


 

FAB. CCLIV. A Fox and a Hedge-Hog.

AESop brought the Samians to their Wits again out of a most Desperate Sedition with This Fable.

A Fox, upon the Crossing of a River, was forc'd away by the Current into an Eddy, and there he lay with Whole Swarms of Flies, Sucking and Galling of him. There was a Water Hedge-Hog (we must Imagine) at hand, that in Pure Pity Offer'd to Beat away the Flies from him. No, No, says the Fox, Pray let 'em Alone, for the Flies that are upon me now are e'en Burstingfull already, and can do me little more Hurt then they have done: But when These are gone once, there will be a Company you shall see of Starv'd Hungry Wretches to take their Places, that will not leave so much as One Drop of Blood in the Whole Body of me.

[Page 221] Tiberius Caesar made a very Pertinent Application of This Fancy to a Case of his Own. The Question was, whether or no he should Casheir some of his Corrupt Governors of Provinces, for Oppressing the People? He gave the World to Understand his Mind by This Fable.

There was a Man lay Miserably Wounded upon the Highway, and Swarms of Flies upon him, Sucking his Sores. A Traveller that was passing by, Pity'd his Condition, and Offer'd him his Service, in Pure Charity to Drive them away. No, No, says T'other, pray let them alone; for when These are gone, I shall have VVorse in Their Places. This will be the Case of My Subjects if I Change their Governors.

The MORAL.

The Force of a Fable.

REFLEXION.

IF (says Aesop) You shall once Destroy your Present Governor, that is Full and Wealthy, you must of Necessity Chuse Others when he is gone, who will be sure to Fill their own Coffers out of What the Other has left ye. This Fable upon the Whole is very Instructive how People should Behave themselves in the Case of Male-Administration, or Oppression; where there is any Colour to Complain of Cruelty, or Injustice under the Cover of Sovereign Power. The Foxes Resolution here is mightily to the Purpose: That is to say, where the Grievance is only the Unrighteous Exercise of a Lawful Authority. The Removal of Blood-suckers that are already as Full as their Skins will hold, serves only to make way for Others that are Greedy and Empty. This is no Redress of the Evil, No, nor so much as a Change; but in Truth an Augmentation of it.

It is again to be Consider'd, that as Government is Necessary, Sacred, and Unaccountable, so it is but Equal for us to bear the Infelicities of a Male-Exercise of it, as we Enjoy the Blessings of Authority and Publique Order. There's Nothing Pure that's Sublunary, but somewhat still of Good Blended with the Bad, and of Bad with the Good: And This Natural Mixture runs thorough the Whole Course and Condition of Humane Affairs. We are not to be either our Own Carvers, or our Own Chusers, and the Man puts out his Own Eyes that does not see the Folly, and the Iniquity of Struggling with Insuperable Powers, which is Impious in the Practice, and Miserable in the Conclusion. Where Government is Accounted a Bondage, the Exercise of it shall never fail of being call'd Persecution or Opprssion: But to put Matters at Worst, Let us for Arguments sake, suppose Pilling and Polling Officers, as Busie upon the People as These Flies were upon the Fox: Better bear a Tolerable Present Calamity then Exchange it for a Worse; and the Fox had the Wit rather to suffer the Galling of a Parcel of Flies that were Full already, then by Beating them off, to make way for a New set of Hungry Sharpers that would do him Fifty times the Mischief.

[Page 222]

 


 

FAB. CCLV. A Mouse in a Chest.

A Mouse that was bred in a Chest, and had liv'd all her days there upon what the Dame of the House laid up in't, happen'd one time to drop out over the Side, and to Stumble upon a very Delicious Morsel, as she was Hunting up and down to find her way In again. She had no sooner the Taste of it in her Mouth, but she brake out into Exclamations, what a Fool she had been thus Long, to Perswade her self that there was No Happiness in the World but in That Box.

The MORAL.

A Contented Mind and a Good Conscience will make a Body Happy whereever he is.

REFLEXION.

'TIS well to be Content in what Place and Condition soever we are; without being yet so Fond of it as not to be prepar'd for any Change or Chance that may Befall us. A Good Patriot loves his Own Country Best, but yet in case of Necessity, or a Fair Convenience, the Whole Globe of the Earth is an Honest Man's Country, and he reckons himself at home whereever he is. The Mouse was Well in the Chest; but she found her self Better afterwards in the World, which serves to tell us that we may be Happy in a Private Life, as well as in a Publique, and that by the Benefit either of a Christian, or a Philosophical Resignation to our Lot, whatever it is, we may be so wherever we are.

 


 

FAB. CCLVI. A Husbandman and Ceres.

A Certain Farmer complain'd that the Beards of his Corn Cut the Reapers and the Thrashers Fingers sometimes, and therefore he desired Ceres that his Corn might grow hereafter without Beards. The Request was Granted, and the Little Birds Eat up all his Grain. Fool that I was (says he) rather to lose the Support of my Life, then venture the Pricking of my Servants Fingers.

[Page 223]

The MORAL.

There must be no Resining upon the Works of Providence; for He that thinks to Mend them, Forfeits his Right to the Blessing and Benefit of them.

REFLEXION.

NO Man can be perfectly Happy; but if he be either Curious, or Unsteady, he shall Live and Die Craving, and in a Restless Want of something or other that is never to be had. Wherefore we should do well to Weigh our Present Inconveniences against Those that may probably arise in the Future, and not so much as to think of Changing our Condition till we have Ballanc'd the Accounts. We may lay down This, in short, for a Rule without any Exception that Nothing but a Fool or a Madman will Wish any thing to be Other then as God has Made it. Let us Reform our Lives, and Mend our Manners, and set Every thing Right at Home first, before we Take upon us to Correct the Works of Providence and Nature. The Husbandman thought Corn would do better without Beards, 'till he found that according to the Way he went to Work, he should have neither One nor T'other.

 


 

FAB. CCLVII. A Country-man and a Hawk.

A Country Fellow had the Fortune to take a Hawk in the Hot Pursuit of a Pigeon. The Hawk Pleaded for her self, that she never did the Country-man any Harm, and therefore I hope, says she, that You'l do Me None. Well! says the Countryman, and pray what Wrong did the Pigeon ever do you? Now by the Reason of Your own Argument, you must e'en Expect to be Treated Your self, as You your self would have Treated This Pigeon.

The MORAL.

'Tis good to Think before we Speak, for fear of Condemning our selves out of our Own Mouths.

[Page 224]

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable holds forth to us several Morals. Rapine and Injustice, Meet in the End with Violence. One Murderer is Kill'd by Another. Adulterers are paid in kind; and One Wicked Man Punishes Another. It is but according to the Course of the World for the Stronger to Oppress the Weaker, and for Thieves Themselves to Rob one Another: But the more Mighty do well however in Avenging Those that are Oppress'd by the Less Mighty. And the Fable has This Prospect too, that Princes are as much Ty'd to Vindicate their Subjects Cause as if it were their Own.

'Tis no News for the Weak and the Poor to be a Prey to the Strong, and the Rich, and the Vindication of the Innocent is no Ill Plea, or Masque for the Oppressing of the Guilty. Birds of Prey are an Emblem of Rapacious Officers. A Superior Power takes away by Violence from Them, That which by Violence they took away from Others: But it falls out too often that the Equity of Restitution is forgotten, after the Execution of the Punishment. Now what is This way of Proceeding, but Drinking the Blood of the Widow and the Orphan at second hand? For He that takes away from a Thief, That which the Thief, to his Knowledge, took from an Honest Man, and Keeps it to Himself, is the Wickeder Thief of the Two, by how much the Rapine is made yet Blacker by the pretence of Piety and Justice, Here's a Country-man takes a Hawk in the Chace of a Pigeon, The Hawk Reasons the Case with him; The Country-man Pleads the Pigeons Cause, and upon a Fair Hearing; The Hawk stands Condemn'd out of her own Mouth, and the Innocent is consequently deliver'd from her Oppressor. Now here's One Violence Disappointed by Another; A Poor Harmless Wretch Protected against a Powerful Adversary; Justice done upon a Notorious Persecutor; and yet after All This Glorious semblance of a Publique Spirited Generosity, and Tenderness of Nature, the Man only sav'd the Pigeon from the Hawk, that he might Eat it Himself: And if we look Well about us we shall find This to be the Case of Most Mediations, we meet with in the Name of Publique Justice.

 


 

FAB. CCLVIII. A Swallow and a Spider.

A Spider that Observ'd a Swallow Catching of Flies, fell Immediately to Work upon a Net to Catch Swallows, for she lookt upon't as an Encroachment upon Her Right: But the Birds without any Difficulty, brake through the Work, and flew away with the very Net it self. Well, says the Spider, Bird-Catching is none of My Talent I perceive; and so she return'd to her Old Trade of Catching Flies again.

[Page 225]

The MORAL.

A Wise Man will not Undertake any thing without Means Answerable to the End.

REFLEXION.

LET Every Man Examine his Own Strength, and the Force of the Enemy he is to Cope withal before he comes to Close, and Grapple with him: For he's sure to go by the Worst that Contends with an Adversary that is too Mighty for him. 'Tis Good Advice not to Contend with Those that are too Strong for us, but still with a saving to Honesty and Justice, for the Integrity of the Mind must be supported against All Violence and Hazzards whatsoever. This of the Spider was a very Foolish Undertaking, and as Unjust a Pretence; for the Equity of the Case is Clearly Mistaken. The Intent of the Fable is to set us Right in the Understanding, and Interpreting of Injuries. 'Tis an Unhappy Error to take things for Injuries that are Not so: And then supposing an Injury done, 'tis a Nice Point to Proportion the Reparation to the Degree of the Indignity; and to take a True Measure of our Own Force. It was a Ridiculous Project to think of Catching a Swallow in a Cobweb; and the Spider was as much Out too in thinking to Restrain the Common Air to its own Particular Use. The Swallow was a Fly-Catcher as well as the Spider, and no more an Inter-loper upon the Spider's Right, then the Spider was upon the Swallows; for the Flies were in Common to Both. Those People, in short, deserve to be Doubly Laugh'd at, that are Pevish, and Angry; First for Nothing, and 2ly. to no manner of Purpose.

This Envious Injustice is Frequent in the World, for why should People think to Engrose and Appropriate the Common Benefits of Fire, Air, and Water to Themselves; Not but that there are Swarms and Swarms of This sort of State-Spiders in the World, that Reckon Every Fly that's taken out of the Common-Stock, as a Penny out of their Own Pockets. The Bounties of God and of Princes ought to be Free, both Alike, without making Every Morsel of Bread that an Honest Man puts in his Mouth to be the Robbing of a Minion. Wherefore let Every Man Compute, first what he ought to do. 2ly. What he is Able to do. Provided 3ly. That he Govern himself by the Rules of Vertue and Discretion. This Consideration before hand, would have sav'd the Foolish Spider the Trouble of Setting Nets for Swallows.

[Page 226]

 


 

FAB. CCLIX. A Country-man and a River.

A Country-man that was to Pass a River, Sounded it up and down to try where it was most Fordable; and upon Tryal he made This Observation on't: Where the Water ran Smooth, he found it Deepest; and on the contrary, Shallowest where it made most Noise.

The MORAL.

There's More Danger in a Reserv'd and Silent, then in a Noisy, Babbling Enemy.

REFLEXION.

GREAT Talkers are not always the Greatest Doers, and the Danger is Greatest, where there's least Blustering and Clamour.

Much Tongue, and much Judgment seldom go together, for Talking and Thinking are Two Quite Differing Faculties, and there's commonly more Depth where there's Less Noise. We find it to be Thus betwixt your superficial Men, and Men that are well Founded in Any Art, Science, or Profession. As in Philosophy, Divinity, Arms, History, Manners. The very Practice of Babbling is a Great Weakness, and not only the Humour, but the Matter shews it so: tho' upon the Main, it is not Capable either of Much Good, or of Much Evil; for as there's No Trusting in the Case, so there's No Great Danger from them, in the Manage of any Design; for Many and Rash Words Betray the Speaker of them. As to the Man of Silence and Reserve, that keeps himself Close, and his Thoughts Private, He Weighs, and Compares Things, and Proceeds upon Deliberation. It is good to see and sound however, before a Man Plunges; for a Body may as well be Over-born by the Violence of a Shallow, Rapid Stream, as Swallow'd up in the Gulph of a smooth Water. 'Tis in This Case with Men, as 'tis with Rivers.

[Page 227]

 


 

FAB. CCLX. A Pigeon and a Pye.

A Pye was Wond'ring once to a Pigeon, why she would Breed still in the same Hole, when her Young Ones were constantly taken away from her before they were able to fly. Why That's my Simplicity, says the Pigeon. I mean no Harm, and I suspect None.

The MORAL.

Do as You would be done by, is a Better Rule in the Doctrine, then in the Practice: For Trust as you would be Trusted, will not hold betwixt a Knave and an Honest Man. There's no Dealing with a Sharper but at his Own Play.

REFLEXION.

THE Truer Hearted any Man is, the more Lyable is he to be Impos'd upon: And then the World calls it Out-witting of a Man; when, in truth, he's only Out-knav'd: And oblig'd, even in Charity and Good Nature, to Believe till he be Couzen'd. And we find the Country-man's Observation Confirm'd by Daily Experience. This does not yet Hinder a sincere Singleness of Heart from being a Vertue so necessary for the Comfort and Security of Mankind, that Humane Society cannot subsist without it. And therefore 'tis a Thousand Pities it should be so Discountenanc'd, and Abus'd, as in the Common Practice of the World we find it is. But it stands Firm however to the same Tenor of Life, As the Pigeon kept still to the same Hole to lay her Eggs in what'ere she Lost by't.

 


 

FAB. CCLXI. A Cuckow and a Hawk.

BY the Beak, and the Claws of a Cuckow, one would take her for a kind of Hawk; only the One Lives upon Worms, and the Other upon Flesh: Insomuch that a Hawk Twitted a Cuckow One day with her Course Way of Feeding. If you'l Look like a Hawk, Why don't you Live like a Hawk? The Cuckow took This a little in Dudgeon; but passing by a Pigeon-House some short time after, what should she see but the Skin of This very Hawk upon a Pole, on the Top of the Dove. [Page 228] House: Well! says the Cuckow (in Conceit) to the Hawk, and had not you as good have been Eating Worms now, as Pigeons?

The MORAL.

Pride is an Abomination in the Sight of God, and the Iudgment is Iust upon us, when the Subject of our Vanity becomes the Occasion of our Ruine.

REFLEXION.

A Safe Mediocrity is much better then an Envy'd, and a Dangerous Excellency. They that in their Prosperity Despise Others, shall be sure in their Adversity to be Despis'd Themselves. It is much the same Case with Men of Prey, that it is with Birds of Prey. They take it for a Disparagement to Sort themselves with any Other then the Enemies of the Publique Peace: But Men that Live upon Rapine, are set up for a Marque, as the Common Enemy; and all Heads and Hands are at Work to Destroy them.

 


 

FAB. CCLXII. A Country-man and an Ass.

AS a Country-man was Grazing his Ass in a Meadow, comes a Hot Alarum that the Enemy was just falling into their Quarters. The Poor Man calls presently to his Ass, in a Terrible Fright, to Scoure away as fast as he could Scamper: for, says he, we shall be Taken else. Well, quoth the Ass, and what if we should be Taken? I have One Pack-Saddle upon my Back already, will they Clap Another a top of that d'ye Think? I can but be a Slave wherever I am: So that Taken, or not Taken, 'tis all a Case to Me.

The MORAL.

It's some Comfort for a Body to be so Low that he cannot fall: And in such a Condition already that cannot well be Worse. If a Man be Born to be a Slave, no matter to what Master.

[Page 229]

REFLEXION.

HERE's a Fiction of an Alarum, and we'll suppose it to be a False One too; for the Inventer has not Determin'd the Point. Now the Fancy will have more Force and Quickness in't that Way, then T'other; and the Asses Reasoning upon the Case, will hold good both Ways alike: Only the Asses in the Moral are more Frightful then the Asses in the Fable▪ We shall be Taken else, is the Song of All Popular Male-Contents, when they design a Change of Government: And so they Hurry the Mobile Headlong, upon the very Dread of Imaginary Chains and Shackles, into the Slavery they Fear'd: But some Asses are Wiser then Others; for the Multitude would Answer their Masters else in the One Instance, as the Animal here in the Emblem Answer'd His, in the Other: Here was no Scampering away at a Venture, without Fear, or Wit; No Sollicitous Enquiry whether the News was True or No: But the Mythologist has prudently, and for our Instruction, Cast those Two Circumstances out of the Question, and laid the Stress of it upon This single Issue. As who should say; In all Governments there must be Burdens to be Born, and People to Bear them: And who so Proper to bear Those Burdens, as Those that Providence and Policy have Appointed and Design'd for that Office and Station? So that 'tis all one to the Common People who's Uppermost (That is to say, upon the Matter of Ease and Liberty) for Asses must be Asses still whoever Rides them; And Providence will keep the World in Order still, whoever Grumbles at it.

 


 

FAB. CCLXIII. A Fox and a Knot of Gossips.

A Fox that was taking a Walk one Night Cross a Village spy'd a Bevy of Iolly, Gossipping Wenches, making Merry over a Dish of Pullets. Why Ay, says he; Is not this a Brave World now? A Poor Innocent Fox cannot so much as Peep into a Hen-Roost, though but to Keep Life and Soul together, and what a Bawling do you make on't presently with your Dogs, and your Bastards! And yet You your selves can lie Stuffing your Guts here with your Hens, and your Capons, and not a Word of the Pudding. How now Bold-Face, crys an Old Trot. Sirrah, we Eat our Own Hens, I'd have you know; and what you Eat, you Steal.

[Page 230]

The MORAL.

There are Men of Prey as well as Beasts of Prey, that Account Rapine as good a Title as Propriety.

REFLEXION.

THIS gives us to Understand, first, that a Man may do what he will with his Own; but he has Nothing to do with the Propriety of Another Body. 2dly, That People may do any Thing with Impunity where there's No body to call 'em to Account for't; And that which is Death for One to do is Lawful for Another.

There are several Starts of Fancy, that Off-hand look well enough; but bring them to the Test, and there's Nothing in 'em. The Foxes Reproach here upon the Gossips, was a Frolique Pleasant enough; but without any Colour, or Congruity of Reason; and the Fallacy lies, from the same Thing done by several Persons, to the same Right of Doing it; though under Circumstances so Different, that there's no Parity at all betwixt them upon the Collation. This Freak has somewhat of the Air in't of the Young Fellow's Conceit to his Father, when he took him Ruffling his Grand-mother. Why may not I lie with your Mother, says he, as well as You lie with Mine? These Foxes should do well to Consider, that High-Way-Men, and Other Criminals have as much to say for themselves, where there's a Breach of Law, and Common Justice in the Case. This Instance of the Fox and the Gossips, comes to the Old Proverb; that One may better Steal a Horse then Another look over the Hedge.

 


 

FAB. CCLXIV. Capons Fat and Lean.

THere were a Great many Cramm'd Capons together in a Coop; some of 'em very Fair and Fat, and Others again that did not Thrive upon Feeding. The Fat ones would be ever and anon making sport with the Lean, and calling them Starvelings; till in the End, the Cook was Order'd to Dress so many Capons for Supper, and to be sure to take the Best in the Pen: when it came to That once, they that had most Flesh upon their Backs, wish'd they had had Less, and 'twould have been Better for 'em.

[Page 231]

The MORAL.

Prosperity makes People Proud, Fat, and Wanton; but when a Day of Reck-ning comes, They are the First still that go to Pot.

REFLEXION.

THE Fat Capons in This Fable, are the Rich, the Great, and the (Externally) Happy Men in the World. People Weigh Vertue, in Common Reputation, as they do Flesh in the Market, at so much a Pound. They Agree too in the Contempt of Men of a Less Size and Quality, and they Meet with the Same Fate in the End too, by a Just Judgment upon them for their Insulting Vanity. They are made the very Mark for Envy, and Avarice to shoot at: and Equally in danger of being Sacrific'd, either to Tyranny, or to Faction. The Poor, in fine, have This Consolation, that their Condition is safer, and Easier, then That of the Rich: And All People in the World will agree with Those Capons in the Fable, that it is better to Live Leaner then to Dye Fat.

 


 

FAB. CCLXV. Oxen and a Piece of Timber.

THE Timber was Complaining of the Ingratitude of the Oxen. How often, says the Timber, have I fed ye with my Leaves, and Reliev'd ye under My Shadow? and for You to Drag me now at This rate, over Dirt and Stones! Alas! cry'd the Oxen: Do not you see how we Pant and Groan, and how we are Goaded on, to do what we Do? The Timber Consider'd how Unwillingly they did it, and so Forgave them.

The MORAL.

What we are forc'd to do by an Over-ruling Power and Necessity, is not properly our Own Act.

REFLEXION.

'TIS not the Thing that is Done, but the Intention in the Doing of it, that makes the Action Good, or Evil. There's a Great Difference betwixt what we do upon Force, and what upon Inclination; and the Good Will is never the less Obliging, though by some Unlucky Accident it should be Diverted to my Ruine. Where there is neither Privity, nor Consent, there can be no Malice, and Consequently No Crime, or Disobligation. For All other Misadventures Amount to no more in Truth, then That which we call Ill Luck, in the Common Accidents of Life, wherefore the Timber was in the Right to Forgive the Oxen here, and so shall We be too, if after the Doctrine, and Example of This Fable, we forgive one Another.

[Page 232]

 


 

FAB. CCLXVI. Trees Streight and Crook'd.

THere was a Delicate Plantation of Trees that were All Well-grown, Fair and Smooth, save only One Dwarf among them that was Knotty, and Crooked, and the Rest had it in Derision. The Master of the Wood, it seems, was to Build a House, and Appointed his Workman to supply the Timber out of That Grove, and to Cut down Every Stick on't that they found fit for Service. They did as they were Order'd, and This Ill-Favour'd Piece was left Alone.

The MORAL.

Celebrated Beauties are seldom Fortunate.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Felicity to be Plain, and Inconsiderable, where 'tis Dangerous to be Otherwise. There are a Thousand Inconveniences that Attend Great Beauties and Fortunes, which the Poor and Deformed are Free from; Not but that it is Better to fall Honourable in the Service of the Publique, then to Survive, in the Scandal of an Unprofitable, and an Inglorious Life. The Moral gives us also to Understand, that Pride will have a Fall, and that No Personal Advantages can either Justifie, or Protect Great Men in their Insolence over their Inferiors. The Beautiful Trees go all to Wrack here, and only the Mis-shapen, and Despicable Dwarf is left Standing.

 


 

FAB. CCLXVII. A Swan and a Stork.

A Stork that was Present at the Song of a Dying Swan, told her 'twas contrary to Nature to Sing so much out of Season; and Ask'd her the Reason of it? Why, says the Swan, I am now Entering into a State where I shall be no longer in Danger of either Snares, Guns, or Hunger: and who would not joy at such a deliverance.

[Page 233]

The MORAL.

Death is but the Last Farewell to All the Difficulties, Pains, and Hazzards of Life.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Great Folly to Fear that which it is Impossible to Avoid; and it is yet a Greater Folly to Fear the Remedy of All Evils: For Death Cures All Diseases, and Frees us from All Cares. It is as Great a Folly again, not to Prepare our selves, and Provide for the Entertainment of an Inevitable fate. We are as sure to go Out of the World, as we are that ever we came In to't; and Nothing but the Conscience of a Good Life can Support us in That Last Extremity. The Fiction of a Swan's Singing at her Death, does, in the Moral, but Advise, and Recommend it to us, to make ready for the Chearful Entertainment of our Last Hour, and to Consider with our Selves, that if Death be so Welcome a Relief even to Animals, barely as a Deliverance from the Cares, Miseries, and Dangers of a Troublesome Life, how much a Greater Blessing, ought All Good Men to Account it then, that are not only Freed by it from the Snares, Difficulties and Distractions of a Wicked World, but put into Possession (over and above) of an Everlasting Peace and the Fruition of Joys that shall never have an End!

 


 

FAB. CCLXVIII. The Inconsolable Widow.

THere was a Poor Young Woman that had brought her self e'en to Death's door with Grief for her Sick Husband, but the Good Man, her Father, did All he could to Comfort her. Come, Child, says he, We are, all Mortal: Pluck up a Good Heart my Girl; for let the Worst come to the Worst, I have a Better Husband in store for thee, when This is gone. Alas Sir, says she, what d'ye talk of Another Husband for? why you had as good have Struck a Dagger to my Heart. No, No; If ever I think of Another Husband may—Without any more ado the Man dies, and the Woman Immediately breaks out into such Transports of Tearing her Hair, and Beating her Breast, that Every body thought she'd have run Stark-Mad upon't: But upon second Thoughts, she Wipes her Eyes; Lifts 'em up, and cries Heaven's Will be done; and then turns to her Father, Pray Sir, says she, About T'other Husband you were speaking of, Is he here in the House?

[Page 234]

The MORAL.

This Fable gives us to Understand, that a Widows Tears are quickly Dry'd up, and that it is not Impossible for a Woman to Out-live the Death of her Husband; And after All the Outrages of her Funeral Sorrow, to Propose to her self many a Merry Hour in the Arms of a Second Spouse.

REFLEXION.

HERE's the Figure of a Worldly Sorrow, and of a Worldly Love, drawn to the Life, from the Heart and Humour of a Right, Worldly Woman. Hypocrisie Out-does the Truth, in Grief, as well as in Religion. 'Tis too Fierce and Noisie, to be Natural; but the Ostentation supplies the Place of the Duty. If the Wives Transports had not been Counterfeit, they would have been as Certain Death as the Husbands Disease: For Flesh and Blood is not able to Bear up under so Intolerable a Weight. It is in short, only the Acting a Part, not the Discharge of a Flowing Passion; she takes the Hint; Plays her Roll; Cries out her Set-Time, and when the Farce is over, betakes herself from her Infirmity to her Philosophy; not forgetting the Politique Part all this while, of making her Mourning for One Husband, Prologue to the Drawing-on of Another.

And This is not the Poor Woman's Case Alone, but many a Poor Man's too; for the Extravagance holds for a Sick Wife, as well as for a Sick Husband. 'Tis Custom, Practice and Good Manners, in fine, that in a Great Measure Rules This Affair. People Proportion their Griefs to their Hopes, and their Tears to their Legacies. There is as much a Fashion in the Mourning Face, as in the Mourning Dress; and our very Looks must be in Mode, as well as Our Cloaths. This Hint Minds me of a Pleasant Droll of a Painter, to an Honourable Lady of My Acquaintance that was sitting for her Picture. Madam (says he) will your Ladyship be pleas'd to have your Lip drawn as they Wear 'em now? It is a Notable Part of Good Breeding, to know When, and How, and how Much, and how Long to Cry; and Every Thing must be done too as they do it Now. I speak This, as to the Method of a Widows Lamentations: But when the Husband's Dead, the Play is Done; and then it comes to the Old Bear-Garden Case, when the Bull had Toss'd a Poor Fellow that went to save his Dog: There was a mighty Bussle about him, with Brandy and Other Cordials to bring him to Himself again; but when the College found there was no Good to be done on't. Well Go thy ways Iacques, says a Jolly Member of That Society, There's the Best Backsword-Man in the Field gone, Come Play Another Dog. The Sick Husband here wanted for neither Slops nor Doctors, and Every Thing was in a Hurry too in Both Places Alike. The Man Dies and the Woman Bethinks her self. Well, says she, There's the Best Husband Gone that ever Woman had to do withal: But, Pray Sir, is T'other Husband in the House that you were speaking of? What is all This now, but directly to the Tune of the Butcher's Backsword-Man, and Playing Another Dog?

[Page 235]

 


 

FAB. CCLXIX. A Wench Parting with her Sweet-heart.

A Common Wench was Wringing her Hands, and Crying her self to death almost; and what was the Bus'ness forsooth, but she had Newly Parted with her Sweet-heart. Away, ye Fool you (says One of her Neighbors) to Torment your self out of your Life for such a Fellow as This! Nay, says the Lass, I am not so much Troubled at Parting with the Man; but he has Carry'd away his Coat too; and truly, when he had given me All he had in the World beside, methinks I might e'en have had That too as well as All the Rest.

The MORAL.

Here's a Mercenary Prostitute Drawn to the very quick, that lays her Profit more to Heart then her Love.

REFLEXION.

IT seldom falls out that a Common Mistress troubles her Head much with Particular Inclinations, though there are some Mercenaries so Generous yet, in the Way of their Profession, that rather then not Trade at all, they'll Trade to Loss. But This was not the Case of the Sorrowful Wight here in the Fable: Her Trouble was the Loss of the Coat, not the Loss of the Man. 'Tis the same Thing with Cheats and Sharpers, that 'tis with Whores; and the same Humour, in short, that we find in All Humane Beasts of Prey. There can be No Friendship where there's Treachery; but there are Degrees in Treachery it self; As the Betraying of an Honourable Confidence, and of a sacred Trust, is the Basest of All Perfidies. This Shuffling Inclination shews it self in us Betimes; and Children do Naturally Apply themselves to their Little Shifts and Frauds. Now 'tis not much Amiss to let them Understand so much of the Roguery of the World, as to secure them from being Wheedled, and Impos'd upon: Provided that under Colour of Teaching them to Discover Abuses, they be not Encourag'd to Practice them: For He that perfectly Understands False Play, lies under a Dangerous Temptation, at some time or Other, to make Use on't. And when he's Once In, 'tis no Easie Matter to get him Out again. Never was any Whore yet so Impudent as not to feel some Touch of Modesty and Remorse, upon the First False Step she made: But Wicked People Harden by Little and Little, and so go on by Degrees, till they are past all Sense either of Shame: or of Conscience. Cheating and Bawdry go together in the World, as well as in the Fable, and the Professors of the Trade are as Insatiable in the One way as they are in the Other. When they have left [Page 236] a Poor Devil no Flesh on's back, they'll Quarrel for his very Skin too, as the Iilting-Iade here did for her Cully's Coat, when she had left him Nothing else.

 


 

FAB. CCLXX. A Fly upon a Wheel.

WHat a Dust do I Raise! says the Fly, upon the Coach-Wheel? and what a Rate do I Drive at, says the same Fly again, upon the Horses Buttock?

The MORAL.

This Fly in the Fable, is Every Trifling Arrogant Fop in Nature, by what Name or Title soever Dignify'd, or Distinguish'd.

REFLEXION.

THIS may be Apply'd to well-nigh All sorts of Vain Persons and Humours: As Those that Assume to Themselves the Merit of Other Mens Services. Those that Talk, and Think, and Bussle, as if Nothing were done without them. All Meddlers, Boasters, and Impertinents, that Steal away▪ the Reputation of Better Men for their Own Use. The World is Full, in fine, of These Pragmatical Flies, that Value themselves for being In at Every thing, and are found Effectually, at last to be just good for Nothing.

It is the Fortune, and it is the Humour of Weak and Trifling Men to Value themselves upon Idle and Trivial Matters; and many times, in Truth, upon Just Nothing at all: That is to say, upon a False Perswasion that they Do Things, which they do Not do, and Govern Affairs wherein they have No Manner of Interest. They Place a Reputation also upon Things that a Sober Man would be out of Countenance to Own, and Contend for the Credit of being the Authors of Fooleries. What a Dust do I Raise, says the silly Fly? And have we not Millions of Vain, Empty Pretenders in the World, that Talk at the same Rate, and with as Little Colour, either of Truth, or of Reason? 'Twas [I] carry'd such a Cause; such a Debate, such a Question. 'Twas [I] that Advis'd, Brought about, or Prevented This and That; when yet upon the Upshot, This same [I] was no more then the Fool, that fancy'd he play'd upon the Organ, when he only Drew the Bellow. Whence comes it now that Men Arrogate to Themselves thus, where they have Nothing to do, and Claim a Title, as Matter of Credit, to the Weakest Things in the World; but for want of Understanding the True Measures of Honour and Vertue: The Moral of This Vanity runs through All Degrees of Men, and All Functions. There's Nothing so Great; There's Nothing so Little, as not to Afford Subject for This Busie and Over-Weening Conceit to Work upon? No not from the Modelling of Commonwealths; [Page 237] The Winning of Battels; The Saving, or the Recovering of Kingdoms, to the very Flies Raising the Dust here in the Fable.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXI. An Eele and a Snake.

YOU and I are so Alike, says the Eele to the Snake, that Methinks we should be somewhat a-Kin; and yet They that Persecute Me are affraid of You. VVhat should be the Reason of This? Oh (says the Snake) because No body does Me an Injury but I make him smart for't.

The MORAL.

In All Controversies They come off Best that keep their Adversaries in fear of a Revenge.

REFLEXION.

PATIENCE and Impunity, is an Encouragement to an Affront. The Divine Wisdom has appointed a Hell as well as a Heaven, to the End that Dread and Terror on the One Hand, may supply the want of Gratitude, Affection, and Good Nature on the Other: What is it but the Fear of Punishment that keeps the World in Order? And what but the Awe we stand in, of Majesty, and Power, that Supports the Dignity of Government. This Moral runs through the whole History of our Lives, for 'tis Every Man's Case from Top to Bottom. Princes Themselves, without Stings, are no Better then Drones; and when the Sacred Character is Disarm'd, there's no longer any Reverence to be Expected for the Person. When People find it Dangerous to Offend their Superiors, they'll take care to Please them: And there's as much Difference, upon This Point, between One Governor and Another (the Resemblance notwithstanding) as there is betwixt an Eele and a Snake.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXII. Seamen Praying to Saints.

IT Blew a Terrible Tempest at Sea once, and there was one Seaman took Notice that the Rest of his Fellows were Praying severally to so many Saints. Have a care my Masters, says he, what you do; for what if we should All be Drown'd now [Page [unnumbered]] before the Messenger can deliver his Errand: Would it not be Better, without going so far about, to Pray to Him that can Save us without Help? Upon This, they turn'd their Prayers to God Himself, and the Wind presently fell.

The MORAL.

The Shortest, and the Surest Way of Doing Bus'ness is Best.

REFLEXION.

'TIS Good to be sure, where our Salvation is at Stake; and to run no more Risque of the Main Chance, then of Necessity Must. What needs any Man make his Court to the Servant when his Access is Open to the Master? And especially when that Master is as ready to Give, as the Petitioners to Ask. A Wise Man will take the Nearest and the Surest Way to his Journy's End; and Commit no Bus'ness of Importance to a Proxy, where he may do't Himself.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXIII. The Fishes and the Frying-Pan.

A Cook was Frying a Dish of Live Fish, and so soon as ever they felt the Heat of the Pan. There's no Enduring of This, cry'd one, and so they all Leapt into the Fire; and instead of Mending the Matter, they were Worse now then Before.

The MORAL.

The Remedy is many times Worse then the Disease.

REFLEXION.

LET a Man's Present State be never so Uneasy, he should do well however to Bethink himself before he Changes, for fear his Next Remove should be Worse. This is according to the Common Understanding of the Allusion, though not so Agreeable perhaps to the True Reason of the Case: For it was not either Levity, or Impatience; but intolerable Pain, and Absolute Necessity, that made the Fish shift their Condition: So that the Moral would have born This Doctrine rather: That where we have Certain Death before us, and only This Choice, whether it shall be a Speedy or a Lingring Death, That which puts us soonest out of our Pain (though never so Sharp) is the more Eligible of the Two. But to take it [Page 239] according to the Old Proverb now; we Understand by [Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire] That things go from Bad to Worse.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXIV. A League of Beasts and Fishes.

THE Beasts Enter'd into a League with the Fishes against the Birds. The War was Declar'd; but the Fishes, instead of their Quota, sent their Excuse, that they were not able to March by Land.

The MORAL.

The Vanity of a Helpless Alliance.

REFLEXION.

THERE's No Contracting of Alliances with Those that are out of Distance of Assisting in a Time of Need, in all Contracts, whether of Publique Alliance, and Commerce, or Particular Friendship, there must a Regard be had to Reciprocal Aid and Assistance, in case of any Distress; So that All the Circumstances of Ability, Disposition, Scituation, Interest, &c. must be Taken into Thought, and Rightly Understood, before the Bargain be Struck; for 'tis a Scandalous Oversight to Err in any of the Essentials to a Prudential, and a Beneficial Agreement: By which is Intended, any sort of Defect, or Incapacity that may Obstruct, or Frustrate the End of the League. Those Contracts are Ridiculous, and Void in Themselves, that shall pretend to Oblige us against Nature. For 'tis a Banter, not a Confederacy, to talk of Fishes Marching by Land, and Living out of their Element.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXV. A Covetous Ambassador.

A Certain Ambassador that was still Pester'd with Drums and Trumpets every where upon the Way of his Embassy, was willing to save his Money, and so had them put off still with This Answer: That his Excellence was in Deep Mourning for his Mother, and in no Humour for Musique. The Drums and Trumpets were at least as much Troubled at the Tydings, as the Embassador Himself. This News came to the Ear of a Person of Honour, who presently made him a Condoling [Page 240] Visit. Pray, my Lord (says the Noble-man) how long may your Mother have been Dead? Why, says the Ambassador, 'tis now a Matter of Forty Years, which Expounded the Riddle, and put an End to That Controversy.

The MORAL.

There is a Certain Agreeable Way of Fooling betwixt Iest and Earnest, that carries both Pleasure and Profit along with it; for it saves a Man's Money One way, and his Credit Another.

REFLEXION.

ACCORDING to the Old Moral, Covetous Men will make any shift to save Money: But this Allusion is the least Part of the Business. 'Tis no Easy Matter for People in many Cases to save their Money, and their Credit Both: But the Best Thing to be done, in the Disguise of a Base, and Sordid Humour, is the Managing of the Imposture with a Good Grace, and in such a Manner, that if a Man carries it off, there's so much Money sav'd; and if he be Detected, there will be something Pleasant in the Frolique to Atone for a Secret Narrowness of Heart.

At this Rate of a Pretended Freak, or Whimsy, a Great many other Corruptions, and Imperfections may be so Palliated, as to take off much of the Scandal of them; for many a Wicked Thought is so Varnish'd over in the Practice, as to pass Muster among the Gay Arts of Gallantry and Conversation. The Thing above all Others to be Wish'd, Study'd, and Endeavour'd, is to have a Clear Mind, and to Lead a Life in so Conscientious a Probity of Manners, as in Thought, Word, and Deed, to make Good the Character of an Untainted Honest Man: But where This Discipline shall be found too Strict for Flesh and Bloud, (and there's no Living up to the Rigorous Exactness of Purity, and Justice) it will in such a Case, be the Best of a Bad Game to keep Clear of Open Offence, and to give the Infirmity the Best Face that the Matter will bear. As the Ambassador, betwixt Jest and Earnest, Cast a Cloak of Raillery over his Avarice.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXVI. An Old Friend and a Cardinal.

AN Ingenious Cavalier, hearing that an Old Friend of his was Advanc'd to a Cardinalate, went to Congratulate his Emmence upon his New Honour. Pray Sir, says the Cardinal, looking strangely upon him, Give me the Favour of your Name, and of your Bus'ness. I am come, says the Cavalier to Condole with your Eminence, and to tell you how Heartily [Page 241] I Pity Men that are Over-charg'd with Dignity and Preferment; for it turns Peoples Brains to that Degree, that they can neither See, nor Hear, nor Understand, like Other Men; and makes them as Absolutely to Forget their Old Friends, as if they had never seen them before in their Lives.

The MORAL.

Honours Change Manners.

REFLEXION.

THIS is a Reproof to the Pride and Vanity of Those Men, that when they come to be Advanc'd Themselves, forget all their Old Friends and Acquaintance, even Those that Rais'd them. This Fable is Humane Nature to the very Quick, only it has Two Handles to't, and it would not be Fair to take it in the Worst Sense, without somewhat of an Apology, or an Excuse for't, where 'twill bear a Better.

It is almost as True in Philosophy as it is in Fact, and Common Practice, that Honours Change Manners. Men Assume other Thoughts; Other Opinions of Themselves; Nay, and almost Another Nature, when they Contract other Interests. The Stamp of Dignity Defaces, in some People the very Character of Humanity; and Transports them to such a Degree of Haughtiness, that they reckon it below the Quality of a Great Man to Exercise either Good Nature, or Good Manners: As if Dignify'd Flesh and Bloud were not of the same Composition with other Men. Now what does all This Arrogance Amount to, more, then the Pride of an Ass in his Trappings; when 'tis but his Masters taking away the Top-Knot, to make an Ass of him again.

But we are yet to Distinguish betwixt Those that take State and Distance upon them, purely out of Pride and Humour, and Those that seem to do the same Thing, ▪tho in a Compliance with the Necessity of their Affairs. It is Impossible for a Publique Minister to be so Open and Easy to All his Old Friends and Acquaintance, as he was in the State of his Private Condition; and at the same Time, to Attend the Necessary Functions of his Office: But This may be All help'd out yet, by an Affability of Address, without any Offence, either to his Bus'ness, or to his Duty. A Word, an Action, a Countenance, Manag'd with Honour and Discretion, is sufficient to Uphold the Reputation of his Character; for there are Articificial Ways of telling People what a Man Would do if he Could, without a Surly Ostentation of an Unwillingness to do the Things, that Effectually are not in his Power. A Good Word, they say, Costs no more than a Bad: Beside that in the Cardinals Forgetting his Old Friend here, he did more Forget Himself.

[Page 242]

 


 

FAB. CCLXXVII. A Young Droll and a Crooked Old Man.

A Gibing Young Knave happen'd to meet an Old Man, whose Age and Infirmity had brought his Body to the Shape of a Bent Bow. Pray Father (says he) will you sell your Bow? Save your Money ye Fool you, says T'other; for when you come to my Years, you shall have such a Bow for Nothing.

The MORAL.

He that would not live to be Old, had best be Hang'd when he's Young.

REFLEXION.

'TIS Irreverent, and Unnatural, to Scoff at the Infirmities of Old Age, since there's no Avoiding them but by Dying Betimes. We are all Born to Die, and Every jot as Certain that we shall go Out of This World, as that we are already come into't; but whether by a Natural, or a Violent Death, we know not. Time and Humane Frailty will bring us to our End without the Help of any Contingencies, or Distempers by the By; So that our Decays are as much the Work of Nature, as the First Principles of our Being: And the Boy's Conceit of the Crooked Bow here, is no better then a Blasphemous Way, of making sport with the Course of Providence: Beside the Folly of Scoffing at That in Another, which we our selves are sure to come to at Last, or Worse.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXVIII. An Old Fellow, and a Young Wench.

THere was a formal Piece of Gravity that had liv'd to about Threescore and Ten, without ever so much as knowing a Woman from a Weather-Cock. The Devil Ought him a Shame, and paid him both Interest and Principal, in making the Old Doting Fop Marry a Young Girl. He would be often Complaining afterward, how Unluckily he had Disspos'd of his Time. When I was a Young Man, says he, I wanted [Page 243] a Wife, and now I'm an Old Man, my Wife wants a Husband.

The MORAL.

The Common Fate of Unequal Matches, Especially in the Case of an Old Fellow, and a young Wench, where the Humour is as Contrary as Summer and Winter, Light and Darkness, or Day and Night.

REFLEXION.

THERE's Nothing Good, or Natural, that's out of Season. Nay the most Obliging Offices in Nature, and the Greatest Blessings under the Sun, lose much, both of their Value, and of their Rellish, when they're Mistim'd.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXIX. An Eagle and a Pye.

THere was a Pert-Dapper Spark of a Mag-Pye; that fancy'd the Birds would never be well Govern'd, till he Himself should come to sit at the Helm. In This Freak he Petition'd the Eagle to take him into the Cabinet; For, says he, I have no Ill Turn of a Body for't. I have my Tongue, and my Heels at Command; and can make as much Noise and Bussle, to as little purpose, as any He perhaps that flies between a Pair of VVings. He was going on in the History of his Qualifications, when the Eagle Graciously told him, how sensible he was of the Volubility both of his Tongue, and of his Manners, and so of his Faculties and Good Breeding; but, says he, you are so Confoundedly given to Squirting up and down, and Chattering, that the VVorld would be apt to say. I had Chosen a Iack-Pudding for a Prime Minister.

The MORAL.

Great Babblers, or Talkers are a sort of People not fit either for Trust, Bus'ness, or Conversation.

[Page 244]

REFLEXION.

THE World is like to be well Govern'd, when Pyes and Daws shall take upon them to set up for Philosophers, Doctors of the Chair, and Men of State and Government. Things are Mightily out of Order in That Quarter, especially when Vain Fools come to be admitted into Business upon the Credit of their Own Word.

The Importunity of such a Fop is Excellently set forth in the Qualifications of This Pye; for he Enforces the Reason of his Pretence, by the Clearest Arguments in the World against Himself. He would be a Statesman, because he is a Buffoon, as if there went no more to the Making of a Councellor, then the Faculties of a Merry-Andrew, or a Tumbler. Here's the Confident Ambition of a Foolish Twattling Pretender, on the One Hand, and a Just Reproof of him, in a most Reasonable Refusal, on the Other; to Teach us, that the Want of Shame, Brains, or Good Manners, does not presently Entitle Every little Skip-Iack to the Boards-End in the Cabinet. But Our Eagle here was not a Prince to Advance the Ministers of his Pleasures, to be Ministers of State, and to make his Sport his Bus'ness.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXX. A Country-man and a Mouse.

THere was a Pleasant sort of a Poor Fellow had his House a fire; but his Misfortune did not make him lose his Good Humour. As it was all in a Flame, out Bolts a Mouse from the Ruines, to save her self: The Man Catches her, and throws her back again. VVhy thou Ungrateful VVretch (says he) to leave thy Friend now in Adversity, that gave thee thy Bread in his Prosperity.

The MORAL.

'Tis a Barbarous Faculty, an Ill Natur'd Wit; that will rather Expose the very Life and Reputation of a Friend, then lose the Opportunity of a Iest.

[Page 245]

REFLEXION.

'TIS the Practice, but it is the Baseness of the World too, for Men to Govern themselves Wholly by their Interest, and to Abandon All that's Sacred and Honourable, for the saving of their Own Skins. Thus, says the Moral; but the Conceipt was not worth the Life of the Poor Creature, and therefore the Allegory not to be Recommended; because it sets up a False Principle. There was place for Honour, Dignity of Mind, and Humanity to shew it self, in the Case, though but to a Poor Mouse: And there's Nothing to be said in Defence of the Wanton Cruelty of Sacrificing a Life to a Jest: But to come now to the Ungrateful Point, the Bare Innuendo of it would stare so many People in the Face, that it were better pass'd over in silence; for the Moral drawn out at length, would be a Satyr against Mankind. And Millions of Men that carry their Heads High in the World, would fall under the Lash of the Countryman's Exclamation here.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXI. A Sick Hermit.

THere was a very Good Man, that in the Five and Twentieth Year of his Age, fell into a Desperate Fit of Sickness, the Doctors sat upon him, and the Whole College were of Opinion, that there was no saving of his Life without the Use of a Woman. The Poor Man lay Humming and Hawing a good While, betwixt the Sin and the Remedy; but in the End, he gave up himself wholly to the Physicians, to do with him as they thought fit. Upon this, the Doctors, by Consent, put a Good Armful of Warm Womans Flesh into the Bed to him, by way of a Recipe, and so lay'd him to Rest, till about some Two Hours after: When they came to see how the Prescription had Wrought; and there did they find the Poor Religious, Tearing his Hair, Beating his Breast, and Groaning as if his very Heart would break. So they fell presently to Reasoning, and Casing upon the Matter with him, and laying Comfortable Distinctions before him betwixt the Morality, and the Necessity of what was done. No, No, Gentlemen, says he, My Grief is not thereabouts; but it goes to the Heart of me to think how long I have liv'd in Ignorance; and that This Fit of Sickness should never take me sooner.

[Page 246]

The MORAL.

Flesh is Frail: When a Strong Appetite, and a Troublesome Vertue Meet in Competition, 'tis a Hard Matter for a Man to Resist the Temptation.

REFLEXION.

WE may gather from hence, first, that People are Flesh and Blood in a Cell, as well as in a Palace. 2ly. That it is a very great Mastery, for a Man to stand Firm, in a Case, where Humane Frailty, Violent Inclinations, and the Preservation of Life it self, are in a Conspiracy against his Vertue. 3ly. That a very Pious Good Man may think himself Better then he Is, for want of an Occasion to try the Force of his Goodness and Resolution. 4ly. That when the Flesh and the Devil have once got the Better of a Scrupulous Conscience, it puts a Man past All Sense of Shame, as well as of the Sin; to the Degree of Glorying in his Wickedness. The Holy Man was not so much Troubled, it seems, at the Use of the Remedy, as that he had not try'd the Experiment sooner. You may Talk what you will (says Lais) of your Philosophers and Learned Men; but I have as many Visits from Those Sparks as from Other People. And she was much in the Right on't.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXII. A Rich Man and a Foolish Servant.

A Rich Man had a Certain Block-headed Fellow to his Servant, and the Master would be saying to him at Every Turn, VVell! Thou art the very Prince of Fools! I would I were, says the Man, in a Sawcy Huff once, for I should be the Greatest Emperor upon the Face of the Earth then, and You Yourself should be One of My Subjects.

The MORAL.

The Only Universal Monarch is the King of Fools; for the Whole Race of Mankind are his Subjects.

[Page 247]

REFLEXION.

THE Whole World is full of Fools, only He that's the Least One is the Wisest Man. This would have been Well, if the Moralist had not given the Block-headed Servant too much Priviledge: But the Ill Manners is suitable enough however, to the Character. It was such a kind of a Course Complement that Scotus put upon Charles the Bald, as they were Sitting together at a Table. The Emperor ask'd him Quid Interest (says he) inter Scotum & Sotum, Playing upon the Conceit of Scot and Sot [Mensa] says he. That is to say, the Table is between the Scot and the Sot: And so with the Liberty of a Buffoon, the School-man turn'd the Sot upon the Emperor, in Law-Latin: This Booby's Answer in the Fable, as Unmannerly as it was, had yet a Great deal of Truth in't; for He that can Advance himself to be King of Fools, may be Honestly Reputed within a Hairs Breadth of an Universal Monarch.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXIII. A Widow had a mind to Marry.

WELL! says a Widow in Confidence to a Friend of her's. I am Utterly Undone for want of a Sober, Provident Husband, to look after my Estate, and there's No bodies Advice that I had rather have than Yours. But pray, will you take This Along with ye too; that for the Course, Common Bus'ness of Matrimony, as I am an Honest VVoman, the very Thought on't turns my Stomach; Very well, says the Confident, and now I know Your Mind, it shall go Hard but I'll Fit ye. The Good VVoman went her way for the Present, and the Next Day came to her again, quite Overjoy'd that she had found out a Man so Absolutely for her Turn. I have Provided ye a Man (says she) of Industry and Integrity; and one that Perfectly Understands all sorts of Bus'ness; and then for Turning Your Stomach, My Life for Yours Madam, he's not in Condition to Trouble with any Qualms That way. Away, Ye Fool You, says she; I Hate the Infirmity, though I Love the Vertue.

The MORAL.

Women are All of a Make, and in some Things, most of them in a Mind. One Woman feels Another Womans Pulse in her Own Veins; and there's no Halting before Cripples.

[Page 248]

REFLEXION.

THERE's No Disputing with a Man that denies Principles, and there are Certain Precognita in the Motions of Flesh and Blood, as well as in the Philosophy of the Schools: In which Cases, we Understand our Duty without a Teacher, and Acquit our selves as we Ought to do, without a Prompter. That is to say, there are some Certain Fundamentals of Natural Iustice, that we take for Granted, and Trust One Another for; as in the Proposition of our Widow here in the Fable, without any Need of Articles for the Performance of Covenants. The Widow, in short, play'd the Gipsie, and so did her Consident too in pretending to Believe her: But there's No Catching Old Birds with Chaffe, for One Woman reads the Heart of Woman-kind in her Own Breast. She was a Fool to be Mealy-Mouth'd, where Nature speaks so Plain. There may be Exceptions 'tis True, to a General Rule, but None to an Universal. It was No Ill shift however, to come off withal, that in dispite of All her Aversions, she was not yet for making a Vertue of a Necessity. The Publisher of Mr. Seldens Table Talk, Tells of a Girl that was worth Forty of Our Widow here, and an Honest Down-right, Plain Dealing Lass it was. The Wench was just newly Marry'd, and so soon as ever the Job was over, Pray Mother, says she, must not I go to Bed now? No, No, Child, says Mamma, You must take Your Dinner first; Oh says the Girl, and Then go to Bed I warrant ye. No, my Dear, not yet says the Mother, You must Dance after Dinner. Ay, Ay, says the Girl again, and Then to Bed. No, No, says T'other, You must Sup first, and then Dance again. Ay, Ay, and Then to Bed, says the Bride. This Girl did but speak the Widows Mind; for let Flesh and Blood pretend what it will, to Bed, to Bed, will be the Bob of the Song.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXIV. Town-Dogs and Country-Dogs.

'TIS a Common Thing upon the Passing of a Strange Dog through a Town, to have a Hundred Curs Bawling at his Breech, and Every Yap gets a Snap at him. There was One Particular Dog, that when he saw there was No saving his Skin by Running away, Turn'd upon his Pursuers, and then found upon the Tryal, that One set of Teeth was worth Two pair of Heels; for upon That Resolution, they All fell off, and Sneak'd their Way. A Captain took Occasion once to Apply This Instance to his People. Fellow-Soldiers (says he) take This for a Rule, Those that run away are in more Danger than the Others that stand the Shock.

[Page 249]

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXV. A Snake to Iupiter.

A Snake that found himself Persecuted by Men, appeal'd to Iupiter for Relief; who told him that it was his Own Fault; for (says he) if you had but Bit the First Man that Affronted ye; the second would have taken Warning by't.

The Moral of the Two Fables above.

The putting up of One Affront draws on Another.

REFLEXION.

THIS is No Ill Emblem of the Common People; that are Insolent so long as they are Fear'd, and Shrink, where they find Danger; for their Courage is Calculated to the Opinion they have of the Enemy. It is the Nature of All sorts of Mungril Curs, to Bawl, Snarle, and Snap, where the Foe flies before them; and to Clap their Tails between their Legs when an Adversary makes Head against them. There's Nothing, in short, but Resolution, to carry a Man through All Difficulties: And since it is so Absolutely Necessary, the sooner it is Taken up, the Better it succeeds. 'Tis a Matter of very Evil Consequence, to let the Rabble offer Publique Affronts Gratis. A seditious Word leads to a Broyl, and a Ryot Unpunish'd, is but next door to a Tumult: So that the Bearing of One Indignity draws on Another. Bite the First Man that Affronts ye, and y'are safe for ever after.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXVI. The Frogs and Tortoises.

AS a Company of Frogs were Trifling and Playing up and down in a Meadow, some Tortoises, that look'd on, were Mightily Troubled that they could not do so too, but taking Notice a while after how These Frogs were Pick'd up, and Destroy'd, by Birds and Fishes: Well (says One of 'em) 'tis better to Live Dull, and Heavy, then to Dye Light and Nimble.

[Page 250]

The MORAL.

Every Part and Creature of the Universe has it's proper Place, Station, and Faculties Assign'd, and to Wish it Otherwise were to find fault with Providence.

REFLEXION.

THAT which Nature has Allotted us is best for us, and it is Great Folly and Wickedness for People not to be Content, and Thankful for the Great Creator of All Things.

No Man knows Himself, or Understands his Own Condition, but by Comparison, and upon Experience. Our Wishes, many times, are Mortal to us: and the very Granting of our Prayers would but serve to make us still more and more Miserable. The Tortoises Shell was a Clog and a Burden, till they found it Necessary for the Defence of their Lives; and they Envy'd the Easiness and the Lightness of the Frogs, till they saw them Joll'd to pieces, and Devour'd for want of a Buckler to Cover, and Protect them. But they came then to be of the Beggar's Mind, that stood Gaping at my Lady Devonshires Funeral: Here's a Brave Sight, says she, and yet I Gad Bess, for all That, I had rather be a Live-Begger then a Dead Countess. The Moral Concludes in this, that there can be No Thought of Security, or Quiet in This World, but in a Resignation to the Allotments of God and Nature. If the Tortoises had had their Wish, they had been Pick'd up among the Frogs.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXVII. The Mice and the Oxe.

THE Mice found it so Troublesome to be still Climbing the Oak for Every Bit they put in their Bellies, that they were once about to set their Teeth to't, and bring the Acorns down to them; But some Wiser then some; and a Grave Experienc'd Mouse, bad them have a care what they did; for if we Destroy our Nurse at present, Who shall Feed us hereafter?

The MORAL.

Resolution without Foresight is but a Temerarious Folly: And the Consequences of Things are the First Point to be taken into Consideration.

[Page 251]

REFLEXION.

'TIS Ill done for any Man to Consult his Present Ease and Profit, without Computing upon the Trouble and Loss that may Ensue. 'Tis not safe to make any Present Resolutions without a Considerate Prospect into the Future. This is abundantly Moraliz'd in several Other Places. But the Mouses Question of Who shall Feed us hereafter? goes a great way in the Resolution of All These Cases.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXVIII. A Run-away Dog and his Master.

THere was a Bob-Tayl'd Cur, cry'd in a Gazette, and One that found him out by his Marks, brought him home to his Master; who fell presently to Reasoning the Matter with him, how Insensible, and Thankless a Wretch he was, to run away from One that was so Extream Kind to him. Did I ever give you a Blow in my Life, says he, or so much as One Angry Word, in all the time that ever you serv'd me? No, says the Dog, not with Your Own Hands, nor with Your Own Lips; but you have given me a Thousand and a Thousand by your Deputy; and when I'm Beaten by my Master's Order, 'tis my Master Himself, I reckon, that Beats me.

The MORAL.

In Benefits as well as Injuries 'tis the Principal that we are to Consider, not the Instrument. That which a Man does by Another, is in Truth and Equity his own Act.

REFLEXION.

THE Master here deals with the Dog, as Great Officers deal many times with Honest, Well-Meaning Men at Court. They speak 'em Fair Themselves, and Murder 'em by their Deputies: But still, That which is done by the Principals Order, or with his Privity, or Approbation, is the Principals Act. The Servant is but the Master's Instrument in the Case, as the Cudgel is the Servants; and they are Both under the same Command. When a Man happens to be Kill'd, we do not Impute the Murder to the Weapon that did the Execution, but to Him that Manag'd it. This is much after the way of Treating Elephants. When an Elephant is taken in a Pit-fall, He that is design'd for the Master and Keeper of him, sets Other [Page 252] People to Prick and Teize him, and Then In comes He Himself, and under Pretence of taking his Part, falls foul upon his Enemies, and Rescues him. The Elephant takes This Man now for his Friend; Whereas, upon the Whole Matter, it was by His Order that he was both Taken and Beaten.

There's Nothing more Frequent then This Shamming Way of Confederacy, betwixt Two Men in Power; when an Honest Patriot, for the Purpose, or a Loyal Subject is to be made an Owl of; by Consent of them Both. The One Affronts him, while the Other Cajoles, and Pities him; Takes up his Quarrel, shakes his Head at it; Claps his Hand upon his Breast, and then Protests, and Protests, he Wonders at his Heart that any Lord should have so Little Honour as to Treat an Honest Gentleman at This rate. A Friend of mine has been at This sport many and many a time: And now upon the Whole Matter, This is no more at last then a Concerted Intrigue betwixt a Brace of Sharpers, that Laugh all the while at the Whole Roguery in their Sleeves. The Masters Good Words are a Greater Mortification to the Dog, then the Servants Blows.

 


 

FAB. CCLXXXIX. The Birds and Beetles.

THE Birds were in a Terrible Fright once, for fear of Gunshot from the Beetles. And what was the Bus'ness but the little Balls of Ordure that the Beetles had Rak'd together, the Birds took for Bullets: But a Sparrow in that Company, that had more Wit then his Fellows, bad 'em have a Good Heart yet, for how shall they reach us in the Air, says he, with Those Pellets, that they can hardly Roll upon the Ground.

The MORAL.

Many People apprehend Danger where there's None, and reckon themselves sure where there Is, for want of taking the True Measure of Things, and laying Matters Rightly together.

REFLEXION.

VAIN Fears and Imaginations Cast a Mist before our Eyes, and not only Represent Real Dangers Greater then they Are, but Create Fantastical Difficulties, where in Truth there are None at all. The Birds were in a Mortal Apprehension of the Beetles, till the Sparrow Reason'd them into a Better Understanding of the Matter. How should they Hurt us in the Air, says the Sparrow, with Those Pellets, that they can hardly Move [Page 253] upon the Ground, which brought the Point to an Issue upon a very Logical Conclusion.

 


 

FAB. CCXC. A Bear and Bees.

A Bear was so Engag'd once at the Stinging of a Bee, that he ran like Mad into the Bee-Garden, and Over-turn'd All the Hives, in Revenge. This Outrage brought them Out in Whole Troops upon him; and he came afterwards to Bethink himself, how much more Advisable it had been to Pass over One Injury, then by an Unprofitable Passion to Provoke a Thousand.

The MORAL.

Better pass over an Affront from One Scoundrel, then draw the Whole Herd of the Mobile about a Man's Ears.

REFLEXION.

WE are to learn from hence, the Folly of an Impotent, and Inconsiderate Anger.;, and that there's no Creature so Contemptible, but by the Help of Resolution, and of Numbers, it may Gain its Point. The Heat and Thirst of Revenge does but Hurry People from Less Mischieves to Greater; As One Hasty Word, or Blow, brings on a Thousand. There's no Opposing the Torrent of a Head-strong Multitude; for Rage and Despair give Courage to the most Inconsiderable, and the most Fearful of Creatures. Had it not been Better now to have pass'd over the Affront of one Spiteful Creature, than to Provoke and draw on upon Himself the Outrage of a Thousand?

 


 

FAB. CCXCI. A Fowler and a Chaffinch.

A Fowler that had Bent his Net, and laid his Bait, Planted himself in the Bird-Catcher's Place, to Watch for a Draught. There came a Great Many Birds One after Another, that Lighted, and Peck'd a While, and so away again. At This rate [Page 254] they kept Coming and Going all the Day long; but so few at a time, that the Man did not think 'em worth a Pluck. At last, when he had Slipt All his Opportunities in hope of a Better Hit, the Evening came on, and the Birds were gone to Bed, so that he must either Draw then or not at all; and in the Conclusion, he was e'en fain to content himself with one Single Chaffinch, that had the Misfortune to be Later abroad then her Fellows.

The MORAL.

Men are so Greedy after what's to Come, which is Uncertain, that they Slip present Opportunities, which are never to be Recover'd.

REFLEXION.

DELAYS are Dangerous. The very Instant is All that we can call our Own, The Rest, is either Chance, or Fate. The Case of the Fowler and the Chaffinch, reaches to All the Pretensions of Humane Life. Every Man Living has a Design in his Head upon something or other, and Applies himself accordingly toward the Attaining of his End; whether it be Honour, Wealth, Power, or any other sort of Advantage, or Settlement in the World. Now he that would take a True Measure how to Proceed, should say to himself, This is the Thing I would be at. This or That in such a Proportion will do my Bus'ness; And This Nick of time is the Critical Occasion for the Gaining of such, or such a Point. I'll take it while 'tis to be had. He that may be Well, and Will not, in hope of being Better, runs the Risque of getting Nothing at all; and so Parts with a Moral Certainty in Possession, for a Wild, and a Remote Possibility in Reversion. Lost Opportunities are never to be Recover'd. 'Tis Good Discretion, when we cannot Command what we would have, to Compound for what we May, and not to call any thing Ill Luck, which is in Truth Ill Manage. 'Tis a Weakness to be Sollicitous for more then enough, and to Hazzard All by Grasping at too much. All Covet, All Lose; for Avarice, whether it Succeeds or not, is but a kind of Beggary; and he that Wants More, has as Good as Nothing at all. The Bird-Catcher slipt his Time here, and makes Good the Old Vulgar Saying; He that will not when he May, When he Wou'd he shall ha' Nay.

 


 

FAB. CCXCII. A Soldier and Two Horses.

A Soldier that had One Excellent Horse already, bought Another that was not Half so Good, and yet he took more Care of That, then of the Former. Every body Wonder'd [Page 255] at the Humour of it, considering that for Beauty, or Service, the Latter was not Comparable to the Other. Ay, but says One, 'tis Natural to be Kind to the Last Commer.

The MORAL.

Our Likings or Dislikes are Founded rather upon Humour and Fancy then upon Reason. Every thing pleases us at First; and Nothing Pleases us Long; and we shift only to Try if we can Mend our selves in the Next Choice.

REFLEXION.

WE are apt to put a Value upon Things for their Novelty, rather then for their Vertue: and the same Levity holds toward Women, Friends and Acquaintances: Nay, and Governments too; for People seldom Change for a Better. All Civil Constitutions have their Failings, and the Unhinging, even of the Worst of Governments brings on an Anarchy, which is yet Worse; for it lays All in Rubbish: And we have no Better Security for the Next State of Things, then we had for the Former, but still for Variety sake, we go on Chopping and Changing our Friends, and our Masters, as well as our Horses; and with the Soldier, out of a Sickly Levity, like the Last Best whatever it be.

 


 

FAB. CCXCIII. A Spaniel and a Sow.

I Wonder (says a Sow to a Spaniel) how you can Fawn thus upon a Master that gives you so many Blows, and Twinges by the Ears. Well (says the Dog) but then set the Good Bits, and the Good Words he gives me, against Those Blows and Twinges, and I'm a Gainer by the Bargain.

The MORAL.

He that will Live Happily in This World must Resolve to take the Good and the Bad Thankfully and Contentedly One with Another.

[Page 256]

REFLEXION.

WITHOUT a Strict Hand over us in the Institution of our Youth, we are in danger to be Lost for ever. He that Spares the Rod, Hates the Child; and the Severity of an Early Discipline is One of the Greatest Obligations that a Son can have to a Tender Parent. This we shall find to be True, if we do but set the Good against the Bad, as the Dog did, the Bits against the Knocks, and then Ballance the Account.

 


 

FAB. CCXCIV. Oxen and Timber.

WHY don't you Run and Make Hast? cry'd the Timber in the Cart, to the Oxen that Drew it? The Burden is not so Heavy sure. Well! (said the Oxen) if You did but know Your Own Fortune, you'd never be so Merry at Ours. We shall be Discharg'd of our Load so soon as we come to our Journies End, but You that are Design'd for Beams and Supporters, shall be made to bear till your Hearts break. This Hint brought the Timber to a Better Understanding of the Case.

The MORAL.

'Tis matter of Humanity, Honour, Prudence, and Piety, to be Tender One of Another; for no Man Living knows his End, and 'tis the Evening Crowns the Day.

REFLEXION.

IT is both Base, and Foolish, to Insult over People in Distress, for the Wheel of Fortune is Perpetually in Motion, and He that's Uppermost to day, may be Under it to Morrow. No Man knows what End he is Born to; and it is Only Death that can Pronounce upon a Happy or a Miserable Life. When the Timber, made sport with the Oxen for the Drudgery they Labour'd under, Little did they Dream of the Greater Oppression they were to Undergo Themselves.

[Page 257]

 


 

FAB. CCXCV. A Goldfinch and a Boy.

A Goldfinch gave his Master the slip out of the Cage, and he did what he could to get him Back again, but he would not come. Well! says the Boy, You'll live to Repent it; for you'll never be so well Look'd to in any Other Place. That may very Well be, says the Bird; but however, I had rather be at my Own Keeping then at Yours.

The MORAL.

Never Well; Full nor Fasting.

REFLEXION.

MEAT, Drink, and Ease can never make any Man Happy that wants his Liberty. No, nor any Man that Has it neither; for we are never Well, either with much or Little. Whatever we Have, we Want something else, and so go on Wanting and Craving, till Death takes us off in the Middle of our Longings. He that's a Pris'ner, is Troubled that he cannot go whither he Would; And He that's at Large, is as much Troubled that he does not know whether to Go. The One Stands still; and the Other Loses his Way. Now 'tis not Necessity, but Opinion, that makes People Miserable, and when we come once to be Fancy-Sick, there's No Cure for't. A Man may have his Heels at Liberty, and yet be a Slave to Impotent Affections, and Troubled Thoughts. But This is not, upon any Terms, to Undervalue the Blessing of a Natural Freedom; and the Goldfinch was Undoubtedly in the Right, when he was once out of the Cage, not to be Whistled back again, if it had not been that he carry'd his Snare along with him.

 


 

FAB. CCXCVI. A Droll and a Bishop.

THere was a Roguy Wag of a Droll that had a Mind once to put a Trick upon a Hard, Close-Fisted Bishop: so he went to him upon the First of Ianuary to Wish him a Merry New-Year on't, and begg'd a Five Guinea Piece of him for a New-Years-Gift. Why, the Man's Mad (says the Prelate) and I believe he takes Me to be so too. Dost think I have so Little Wit, as to [Page 258] Part with such a Gob of Money for God-a-Mercy? Nay, my Lord (says the Fellow) if That be too much, let it be but a Single George, and I'll be Thankful for't; But That would not do Neither. He fell next Bout to a Copper Farthing, and was Deny'd That too. When the Fellow saw that there was no Money to be got, Pray (My Lord, says he) let me beg your Blessing then. With all my Heart (says the Bishop) Down on your Knees, and You shall have it, No, My Lord (says T'other) 'tis My Turn now to Deny; for if You Your self had thought That Blessing worth a Copper Farthing, you'd never have Parted with it.

The MORAL.

No Penny, No Pater Noster, does not hold in All Cases; for the Penny and the Pater Noster do not go always together.

REFLEXION.

THERE's No Corruption like Ecclesiastical Avarice; No Cruelty so Merciless as That of a Debauch'd Church-man. 'Tis the Devil's Master-Piece to begin There; for he knows very Well, that the Scandalous Examples of a Perfidious, and an Apostate Clergy, are the Ready Way to bring the Holy Order of Priesthood it self into Odium, and Disgrace. Here's Your Church, they cry presently; as if the very Function were Unhallow'd by the Mercenary Practices of some Backsliding Members of That Communion. Let them Live as they Preach, and Preach as they Ought, and let there be No Moralizing in the Pulpit upon the Fable of the Man, and the Satyr, by Blowing Hot and Cold out of the same Mouth. There are Symoniacal Contracts on the Buying-side, as well as on the selling, when People shall Preach One Doctrine to get Into a Living, and the Contrary to Keep it. What is This, but the Selling of the Truth, and of Souls, for Money; and the Prostituting of All that's Sacred, for the saving of their Skins and their Stakes?

Not but that Charity is Free, and much at the Discretion of Him that is to Exercise it. It is Free, I say, to All Intents and Purposes, as to any Legal Coercion upon it, though at the same time, in Point of Conscience, a Man may lye under the Obligation of an Indispensable Duty. So that without forcing the Drift of this Fable, the Bishop is not to Blame here, the Matter simply Consider'd; for the First, Second, or Third Denyal, or for All together; for such Circumstances may be Suppos'd, with a regard to the Manner, Time, and Person, as might not only Acquit him for the Refusal, but have Reflected upon his Conduct, and Prudence, if he had Granted the Request: So that (with Veneration to the Divine Institution it self, and to Those that Live up to't) we are to take This for the Figure of a Loose and a Covetous Prelate, that Disgraces his Character by his Conversation, and sets a Higher Rate upon a Copper Farthing then upon an Apostolical Benediction. Now if This Bishop could have said, Silver and Gold have I None, the Author of This Fable would have Absolv'd him.

[Page 259]

 


 

FAB. CCXCVII. A Lapwing Preferr'd.

UPon a General Invitation to the Eagles Wedding, there were several Birds of Quality among the Rest, that took it in Heavy Dudgeon to see a Lapwing Plac'd at the Upper End of the Table. 'Tis true, they cry'd, he has a kind of a Coxcomb upon the Crown of him, and a Few Tawdry Feathers; but Alas, he never Eat a Good Meals Meat in his Life, till he came to This Preferment.

The MORAL.

'Tis a Scandal to a Government, and there goes Envy along with it, where Honours are Conferr'd upon Men for Address, Beauty, and External Advantages, rather then for their Qualities and Vertues.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Necessary Caution in All Preferments that they be Plac'd upon Fit Men; for the Right Motives; and for the Right Ends. The Advancing of a Fantastical Fool, or Lapwing, Reflects upon the Raiser of him; for 'tis an Ill sign, the very Liking of an Ill Man, and Implies, at least, a Tacit Approbation of the Officers Defects. The Preferring of People indeed to Honourable Charges and Commissions, without either Brains, Blood, Fortune, or Merit, may be so far Reputed a Great Work, as the making of Something out of Nothing, seems to be next door to a Creation: But the Character at last will not Excuse the Person so Dignify'd, from Open Envy and Secret Contempt, Where it so falls out that the True Reason of the Choice, is either Fancy without Judgment, or Credulity without Enquiry, Enformation, or Tryal, the Latter is the more Harmless Mistake of the Two; for there's somewhat of Generous in the Confidence, Nowithstanding the Error of the Facility; And as He that Trusts to This Degree, does deserve not to be Deceiv'd; so He that Betrays such a Trust, on the Other Hand, is not Worthy to Live. An Ill Reason, in fine, for an Ill Choice, is Worse then No Reason at all; for to proceed upon a Wrong Reason is to Build upon a False Foundation. Will and Pleasure is the Only Plea This Case will bear; for the Authority of the Eagle her self we see was not sufficient to Vindicate a Worthless Minion from Reproach and Scorn.

[Page 260]

 


 

FAB. CCXCVIII. A Priest and Pears.

A Iolly Gutling Priest, that was Invited to a Wedding-Dinner, Stumbled upon a parcel of Pears by the Way. The Man was sharp enough set to have made a Breakfast of them, but so taken up with the thought of the Wedding Chear, that he only Pist upon the Pears in Contempt, and so went his Way. He was to Cross a River it seems, but finding the Waters so High, that there was No Passing, he was e'en glad to Trudge back again as Wise as he Came, and to make a Meal of Those very Pears that he had Pist upon and Despis'd.

The MORAL.

Hunger's the Best Sauce.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable shews us, that Delicate and Squeamish Humours in the Matter of Meats and Drinks, are Freak, and Phansy, rather then upon any Account of Nature, or Reason. (Some Few Insuperable Aversions only Excepted) There is a Pride, and an Affectation of Singularity, that is never to be pleas'd with any thing that's Cheap and Common; and there's also a Sensual Intemperance for the Gratifying of the Palate; but Necessity, and no Choice cures either of These Evils. The Priest did Ill in Vilifying These Pears; for All the Fruits of the Earth are the Gifts of Providence, which we ought to have a Reverence for: And he did Foolishly too in not Considering, that he Himself might come to stand in Need of them. But he was forc'd, in the Conclusion, to Eat That Himself, which he had made Unfit for any body else, and There was his Punishment. A Squeamish Fastidious Niceness in Meats and Drinks, must be Cur'd as we Cure Agues, by Starving.

 


 

FAB. CCXCIX. A Horse and a Hog.

A Hog took Notice of a Horse in the Height of his Courage, that was Just advancing to Charge an Enemy. Why what a Fool art thou, says the Hog to him, to make such [Page 261] Haste to be Destroy'd? That Consideration, says the Horse, may do well enough in the Mouth of a Wretched Creature that's only Fatted up to be Kill'd by a Knife, but whenever I'm Taken off, I'll leave the Memory of a Good Name Behind me.

The MORAL.

'Tis the Cause makes the Martyr.

REFLEXION.

HE that Consults the Interest of his Carcass, before That of his Reputation, or his Country, is Effectually but a Brute, under the Figure of a Man. An Honourable Death is to be Preferr'd much before an Infamous Life. This Hog in the Fable has but taken up the Words and Humour of a Bestial sort of People in the World: Men that lie Wallowing in their Lusts, their Debauches, and their Pleasures, and spending their Censures upon Men of Honour, and Publique Spirits, without any Regard to the Conscience of either Christian, Moral, or Political Duties. They are more Solicitous for the Pampering of their Bodies, then for the Saving of their Souls, or the Embalming of their Memories: And fall justly under the Reproof of the Horse to the Hog in This Emblem.

 


 

FAB. CCC. A Hunts-man and a Currier.

A Currier bought a Bear-skin of a Hunts-man, and laid him down ready Money for't. The Hunts-man told him that he would Kill a Bear next day, and he should have the Skin. The Currier, for his Curiosity, went out with the Hunts-man to the Chace, and Mounted a Tree, where he might see the Sport. The Hunts-man Advanc'd very Bravely up to the Den where the Bear lay, and threw in his Dogs upon him. He Rustled out Immediately, and the Man Missing his Aim, the Bear Overturn'd him. So the Fellow held his Breath, and lay Stone still, as if he were Dead. The Bear Snuffled, and smelt to him; Took him for a Carcass, and so left him. When the Bear was gone, and the Danger over, Down comes the Currier from the Tree, and bad the Hunts-man Rise. Heark ye, my Friend, says the Currier, The Bear Whispher'd somewhat in your Ear, [Page 262] What was it, I prethee? Oh (says the Hunts-man) he bad me have a Care for the Future to make sure of the Bear, before I Sell his Skin.

The MORAL.

Let no Man Undertake for more then he is able to make Good.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to bid us secure our selves Before hand of what we Undertake for, and not depend upon Uncertainties. Tho with the Moralist's Leave, the Uncertainty was on the Other Hand, and he that Bought the Skin ran a Greater Risque then T'other that Sold it; and had the Worse End of the Staff. 'Tis Good Councel however, not to make our selves Answerable for Things out of our Power: Especially where there are Dangerous Contingencies in the Way, as we find in This Fable: For the Bear was within a Hairs Breadth of Spoiling the Jest; It is much at this Rate that we make All our Bargains; We give our Time, Study, Interest, Liberty, and, in short, part with all that's Precious, not only upon Uncertainties, but for Things we can never Obtain. There's no depending upon To-morrow.

 


 

FAB. CCCI. A Hermit, and a Soldier.

THere was a Holy-man that took a Soldier to Task, upon the Subject of his Profession, and laid before him the Hazzards, the Sins, and the Troubles that Attend People of that Trade; Wherefore, says he, for your Souls sake, Sir, Pray give it over. Well! Father, says the Soldier; I'll do as you bid me; for really we are so I'll paid, and there's so little to be Gotten by Pillage, that I Phansy, I had e'en as good Betake my self to a Godly Life.

The MORAL.

When People can Live no longer by their Sins, 'tis High Time for them to Mend their Manners.

[Page 263]

REFLEXION.

NATURE it self speaks in These Lively Images of Truth. Here's a Good Man, and his Penitent Preaching upon Two several Texts. The Holy Father Enforces the Necessity of the Soldier's Repentance, from the Wicked Course of Life that he Leads, and the Trade that he drives. The Soldier, on the Other hand, is willing to be Converted, for the Times are Dead, he says, and there's Neither Pay, nor Plunder to be got. The World has abundance of These Proselytes, that when they can be no longer Wicked to Advantage, take up an Outward Change of Profession, and pass presently for Babes of Grace, without the Least Symptoms, all this while, of any Inward Change of Mind. This was the Case of One of our Modern Confessors, and Martyrs, who took a Formal Leave of Iesus Christ, and told his Ghostly Father, that he was now fully Resolv'd not to Starve for his Religion. Now there are Millions and Millions in the World, of This Man's Kidney, that have the Wit yet to keep their Tongues betwixt their Teeth, and to take up the same Resolution without Noise. How many Instances of the Power of Pay and Pillage, does Every day Produce in all manner of Dealings and Professions: For Religigion and Property still March Hand in Hand, and Men will do Tricks like Dogs, for Crusts, and Change their Masters both Heavenly, and Earthly for Better Wages. Where's That Law, or Text that has not been Over-rul'd some time or other, and Distorted, by a False Gloss to make the Application Profitable, and Easy to the Good People? How often have we heard as Arrant Jangling in the Pulpits, as ever we did in tho Steeples: And Professors Ringing as Awk as the Bells, to give notice of the Conflagration which They Themselves were Raising; for we have found it to our Cost, that the Multitude will sooner Kindle with a Pernicious Doctrine then with a Pudding-Lane Fire-Ball. 'Tis not Conscience, but Interest that Governs the World; and the Incomparable Hudibras has hit the Point to a Hair.

What's Orthodox, and True Believing
Against a Conscience? A Good Living.
What makes All Doctrines Plain and Clear?
About Two Hundred Pound a Year.
And That which was Prov'd True Before,
Prove False again? Two Hundred More.
What makes the Breaking of all Oaths,
A Holy Duty? Food and Cloaths.

This it is, in sine, that makes the Devil of a Saint, and a Saint of a Devil; for your Holy Apostate is the Blackest of Hypocrites. The Soldier turns Religious, and he shall do more Mischief in That Shape then ever he did in the Other. For a Corrupted Zeal draws more Blood then a Mercenary Malice.

[Page 264]

 


 

FAB. CCCII. A Husband and Wife twice Marry'd.

THere happen'd a Match betwixt a Widower, and a Widow. The Woman would be perpetually Twitting of her second Husband, what a Man her First was; and her Husband did not forget the Ringing of it in her Ears as often, what an Admirable Woman he had to his First Wife. As the Woman was One day upon the Peevish Pin, a Poor Body comes to the Door, while the Froward Fit was upon her, to beg a Charity. Come in Poor Man (says the Woman) Here's e'en the Leg of a Capon for thee to pray for the Soul of my First Husband. Nay, faith, says the Husband, and when thy Hand is In, e'en take the Body and the Rest on't, to pray for the Soul of My First Wife. This was Their way of Teizing One Another, and of Starving the Living to the Honour of the Dead; for they had but That One Capon betwixt them to Supper.

The MORAL.

Sauce for a Goose is Sauce for a Gander. There's no Contending with the Laws of God and Man, Especially against Those that have Power, and Right on their Sides.

REFLEXION.

WE may learn from This Fable, that it is Common Duty and Discretion, for Men and their Wives, when they are once Hamper'd, to make the Best of a Doubtful Game; for they are One to All Manner of Purposes, by which it is Possible for Two Persons to be United. Their Interest is One and the same, and there's No Touching the Peace, or the Honour of the One, without Wounding That of the Other; but if there happens to be Any Absolute Necessity of Jangling, One of the Civillest ways of Reproach is That here before us; and it is but according to the Ordinary Guise and Freak of the World, when any thing comes Cross betwixt the Second Husband and Wife, to be still Celebrating the Memory of the Former. My First Husband (Heaven Rest his Soul) and My First Wife, they Cry, was So and So, and wou'd have done This and That. The Two Main Topiques to Chop Logick upon in These Domestique Disagreements, are commonly the Upbraiding One Another with what I Was, and what I Might have been; and what a Match I might have had (with a Pox) never considering what they Are, and that what they Are they Must be, which is the Only Point. 'Tis Forty to One that Controversies [Page 265] will Arise one time or Other in That State of Life, when it will be the Husbands Part, upon the Matter of Dignity, Preference, and Commission, to Moderate Matters, both by his Authority, and his Prudence; Which is but Consonant to Equity and Right Nature. Wherefore the Woman is Worse then Frantick, that, upon These Disputes, will be trying Conclusions with her Husband, for a Better, or a Worse. If he Truckles, she makes him a Coxcomb: If he keeps his Ground, she shews her self to be One, so that she lays all at stake upon the Contest, that a Sober Woman has to Lose. It is much better to give Way betimes to the Stronger, even upon the Matter of Prudence, as well as of Respect, then it would be to Contend at first, and then, either to Cross the Cudgells, or to be Baffled in the Conclusion. The Man and the Woman here never Consider'd that they gave away their Own Meat, and both Robb'd, and Discredited One Another in the Contest.

 


 

FAB. CCCIII. A Lyon and a Mouse.

A Lyon that found himself Hamper'd in a Net, call'd to a Mouse that was passing by, to help him out of the Snare, and he'd never forget the Kindness, he said. The Mouse Gnaw'd the Threads to pieces, and when he had set the Lyon at Liberty, desir'd him in Requital to give him his Daughter. The Lyon was too Generous to Deny him Any thing, but most Unluckily, as the New Bride was just about to Step into the Marriage Bed, she happen'd to set her Foot upon her Husband at Unawares, and Crush'd him to Death.

The MORAL.

The Folly of an Inconsiderate Love. The Force of Gratitude, and Good Nature, and the Misery that Accompanies Unequal Matches.

REFLEXION.

ALL Matches, Friendships, and Societies are Dangerous and Inconvenient, where the Contractors are Not Equals: And the Mouse under the Paw of the Lyon, does well enough set forth the Danger of such a Marriage.

[Page 266]

 


 

FAB. CCCIV. Wax and Brick.

THere was a Question started once about Wax, and Brick, why the One should be so Brittle, and liable to be Broken with Every Knock, and the Other bear up again All injuries and Weathers, so Durable and Firm. The Wax Philosophiz'd upon the Matter, and finding it Out at last, that it was Burning made the Brick so Hard, Cast it self into the Fire, upon an Opinion that Heat would Harden the Wax too; but That which Consolidated the One, Dissolv'd the Other.

The MORAL.

'Tis a Folly to try Conclusions without Understanding the Nature of the Matter in Question.

REFLEXION.

THERE's No Trying of Experiments, without laying Things and Things together: For That which is agreeable to the Nature of One Thing, is Many times Contrary to the Nature of Another. Several Humours are to be Wrought upon several Ways, and the Case betwixt Wax and Brick, is the very same Case too betwixt One Man and Another. Some are to be dealt withal by Fair Means; Other by Foul; and That which Hardens the One softens the Other.

 


 

FAB. CCCV. A Husbandman turn'd Soldier and Merchant.

OH the Endless Misery of the Life I Lead! crys the Moiling Husbandman, to spend all my Days in Ploughing, Sowing, Digging, and Dunging, and to make Nothing on't at last! Why now in a Soldiers Life, there's Honour to be got, and One Lucky Hit sets up a Man for Ever. Faith, I'll e'en put off my Stock, Get me a Horse and Arms, and Try the Fortune of the War. Away he goes; Makes his Push; Stands the Shock of a Battel, and Compounds at last for the Leaving of [Page 267] a Leg or an Arm behind him, to go Home again. By This Time, he has had his Bellyful of Knight-Errantry, and a New Freak takes him in the Crown. He might do better, he fancies, in the Way of a Merchant. This Maggot has no sooner set him agog; but he gets him a Ship Immediately; Frights her, and so away to Sea upon Adventure: Builds Castles in the Air, and Conceits Both the Indies in his Coffers, before he gets so much as Clear of the Port. Well! And what's the End of All This at last? He falls into Foul Weather, among Flats and Rocks, where Merchant, Vessel, Goods and All are lost in One Common Wreck.

The MORAL.

A Rambling I evity of Mind is commonly Fatal to us.

REFLEXION.

THIS Doctrine concerns those that Rashly Change their Condition and Fortune, and commonly fall into the Inconveniencies that they thought to Avoid. He that's Well, already, and, upon a Levity of Mind, Quits his Station, in hope to be Better, 'tis Forty to One, he loses by the Change; for This Lightness is both a Vice, and a Disease, and rather the Wallowing of a Sickly Qualm, then any Reasonable Agitation of Councel and Debate. The Fault is not in the Place, or Bus'ness, but in the Stomach; and the Quitting of such a Course of Life, is but shifting Posture in a Fit of Sickness: Let a Man turn which Way he will, he is still as Restless and Uneasie One way as Another. Not but that 'tis Reasonable for a Man, under any Calaimity, to use the Best Means he can, Honestly, to get Clear on't. Let it be Pain of Body, Distress of Mind, Loss of Liberty, Pinching Necessity of Fortune; Nay let it be Gout, Stone, or Torments, there's Matter yet left for Industry, Councel, Generosity, or when All fails, for Philosophy, and Constancy of Mind to Work upon; and to Emprove All the Methods of Providence to our Advantage. Now All This is only an Honourable and Warrantable Conflict, with such Accidents and Circumstances as Providence is pleas'd to make use of, for the Tryal of our Faith and Vertue. So that These Strivings are not to be taken for a Contending with superior Powers; but they are Cases Excepted from the Uneasiness here in the Fable; which arises from a Disatisfaction in such a Lot, as might make us abundantly Happy if we would but keep our Desires within Those Bounds which God and Nature have Prescrib'd us. But Men under These Irregular Appetites, can never think themselves Well, so long as they fancy they Might be Better: And then from Better, they must Rise to be Best; and when That Best it self falls short of what they Expected from it, they are still as Poor and Miserable as if they had just Nothing at all. The Husbandman Envies the Soldier; The Soldier Envies the Merchant, and when he has try'd All Turns, and Projects, what with the [Page 268] Chance of War, Storms, and Pyrates, he sees his Folly too Late, and in Vain Wishes himself with his Hinds and his Flocks again. To say All in a Word, This Levity is both Attended, and Punish'd, with an Impossibllity of Mending our Condition; for we Apply to our Bodies, and our Fortunes, when the Distemper lies in our Minds.

 


 

FAB. CCCVI. An Ass puts in for an Office.

THere was a Bantering Droll got himself into a very Good Equipage and Employment, by an Admirable Faculty he had in Farting. The success of This Buffoon Encourag'd an Ass to put in for a Place too; for, says he, I'll Fart with That Puppy for his Commission, and leave it to the Judgment of Those that Preferr'd him, which has the Clearer, and the Better Scented Pipe of the Two.

The MORAL.

Where Publique Ministers Encourage Buffonnery, 'tis no wonder if Buffons set up for Publique Ministers.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable, according to Abstemins, and Others, Touches the Humour of Those that Squander away their Money upon Vanity and Trifles: But it seems to Me to look quite Another Way. With Abstemius's Favour, I should rather take This Fable to Strike at the Natural Consequences of Evil Examples, when the Unreasonableness of One Act shall be made use of as an Argument for Another, no less Unreasonable: For 'tis President, Effectually that Governs the World. Why should not One Fool be Preferr'd for Farting as well as Another? For in Cases of Competition, he that does Best, e'en in an Ill, or in a Weak Thing, has a kind of Claim, and Right to a Preference, and the Grosser the Foppery, or the Iniquity, the Fairer the Pretence.

This Asses putting up for an Office, Taxes the Perverting of Policy and Justice, in Conferring Those Honours, Charges, and Benefits, upon Parasites, Drolls, Buffoons, and other Servile Instruments of Lust and Ambition, that are Due only to Men of Honour and Vertue. The Ministers of Government, and of Pleasure, should be carefully Distinguish'd; for it Corrupts both the Morals, and the Understandings of a Nation, when they find the Precepts of Common Honesty, and the Practices of State, [Page 269] to run so directly Counter, as to leave no Hope of Advancement, Credit, or Security, but by living in a Defiance to Nature and Reason: That is to say, by Playing the Fools, and Farting for Preferment.

 


 

FAB. CCCVII. A River and a Fountain.

THere Happen'd a Dispute betwixt a River, and a Fountain, which of the Two should have the Preference. The River Valu'd it self upon the Plenty and Variety of Fish that it Produc'd; The Advantages of Navigation; The Many Brave Towns and Palaces that were Built upon the Banks of it; purely for the Pleasure of the Scituation: And then for the General Satisfaction, in fine, that it Yielded to Mankind, in the Matter both of Convenience and Delight: Whereas (says the River) the Fountain passes Obscurely through the Caverns of the Earth; lies Bury'd up in Moss, and comes Creeping into the World, as if it were asham'd to shew the Head. The Fountain took the Insolence and the Vanity of This Reproach so Heinously, that it presently Choak'd-up the Spring, and Stopt the Course of its Waters: Insomuch that the Channel was immediately dry'd up, and the Fish left Dead and Stinking in the Mud; as a Just Judgement upon the Stream, for Derogating from the Original and Author of All the Blessings it Enjoy'd.

The MORAL.

He that Arrogates any Good to Himself, detracts from the Author of all the Good he Enjoys.

REFLEXION.

THERE are too many People in the World of the Humour of This River, that Assume to Themselves what they receive from others, without ever so much as Thinking of the Heavenly Goodness that is the Author of Life it self, and of all the Blessings that Crown the Comfort of it.

This Fable is a kind of an Expostulatory Debate bewixt Bounty and Ingratitude; betwixt the Divine Goodness, and the Vain Glorious Pride of Corrupt Nature. And the Iniquity of our Proceeding is much the Same, [Page 270] both towards God and Man. We are readier to Claim to ourselves, then to Ascribe to Others, and most Dangerously given to Mistake the Gratuitous Blessings of Heaven, for the Fruits of our Own Industry and Vertue. The Fountain of all Goodness, and of all Good Things is God Blessed for ever: But in the Dispensation of his Mercies to the World, some things he does by Himself, others by the Intervention of Natural Means, and by the Mediation of such Instruments as he has appointed for the Conveying of Those Benefits to us. According to this Order, Kings are, by Deputation, the Fountains of Honour and Preferment: And we find Men as Backward every Jot to Acknowledge Temporal, as they are to Acknowledge Spiritual Gifts and Bounties: So that we have Thankless Favourites as well as Graceless Christians. What a Babel do they make now of the Nature of Things, rather then Own the Course of Providence in the Distribution of them! Insomuch that the Faculties that were given us for the Glory and Service of our Master, as well as for the Comfort of our Lives, and the Salvation of our Souls, are turn'd Point Blank against the very Reason and Intention of them. Sharpness of Wit is Emprov'd to the Dishonour of Him that Gave it. Atheism and Blasphemy Dress'd up like a Science, and the Understanding that was given us for the Finding out of the Truth, is Employ'd upon Paradoxing, and Ridiculing it. They Value themselves with the River, upon a Conceit, that the Fish, the Beauty, the Conveniency, is All their Own: And what is All This now, but either to Disclaim the Original, or to Defame it? That's Obscure, they say, Neglected, Over-grown, and either Not taken Notice of, or not Found: And what's the Issue now of This Vanity, and Distraction? A Judgment Treads upon the Heel on't; for Providence stops the Current, lays the Channel Open, and Exposes it to Detestation and Scorn, in all its Filthiness.

 


 

FAB. CCCVIII. A Wicked Man and the Devil.

A Notorious Malefactor that had Committed I know not how many Villanies, and run through the Discipline of as many Goals, made a Friend of the Devil, to help him out in all his Distresses. This Friend of his, brought him off many and many a time, and still as he was Taken up, again and again, he had his Recourse, over and over, to the same Devil for succour. But upon his Last Summons, the Devil came to him with a Great Bag of Old Shoes at his Back, and told him Plainly. Friend (says he) I'm at the End of my Line, and can Help ye No longer. I have beat the Hoof till I have Worn out [Page 271] all These Shoes in Your Service, and not One Penny left me to Buy more: So that you must e'en Excuse Me if I drop ye here.

The MORAL.

The Devil helps his Servants, for a Season; but when they come once to a Pinch, he leaves 'em in the Lurch.

REFLEXION.

WICKEDNESS may Prosper for a while; but at the Long Run, He that sets All Knaves at Work, will most certainly Pay them their Wages. The Man pays Dear for his Protection that Pawns his Soul for't: And it may be Another Observation, that the Devil Himself will not Work without Money.

 


 

FAB. CCCIX. A Counsel of Birds for Chusing more Kings.

THE Birds were Mightily Possess'd with an Opinion, that it was utterly Impossible for the Eagle alone to Administer Equal Justice to All her Subjects; And upon This Ground, there was a Motion put up, for Changing the Monarchy into a Republique: But an Old Cunning Crow, that saw further into a Millstone then his Neighbours, with One Word of his Mouth Dash'd the Project. The More Kings you Have, says he, the more Sacks there are to be Fill'd: And so the Debate fell.

The MORAL.

The Common People Hate All Government, and when they are Sick of it in One Form, they Fly to Another, but still they rather Incline to That, which they Phansy Easiest to Themselves.

REFLEXION.

THIS Emblem Insinuates a Government by One to be less Burdensome, then a Government by Many. And it is well enough Adapted to a Profitable Allegory. The Multitude of Birds are Impos'd upon, that One Monarch is not sufficient for the Discharge of the Office, and therefore there's a Motion put up for the Erecting of More Kings: for Why, say they, [Page 272] should so many Millions of Men be Subjected to the Power and Will of One single Person? This Error was begotten betwixt Faction, and Interest. The One Manages by Design, and the Other falls in upon an Implicit Resignation; or else Yields, upon Facility, and Weakness. In the Conclusion, some Man of Observation, and Experience (as the Crow for the purpose) carries them off Clear from the Reasoning Part, and Applies to the Mobile in their Own Way: That is to say, in a Way of Pocket-Arguments. He never Troubled Himself about the Original of Power, or the Analogy betwixt Monarchy in Heaven, and upon Earth; but gives them a short Stroke upon the Subject of Profit and Loss. You will find it easier, says he, to Fill One Sack then Many: And That Allusion carry'd the Point.

 


 

FAB. CCCX. A Woman that would needs Die for her Husband.

A Poor Woman was put out of her Wits in a manner, for fear of losing her Husband. The Good Man was Sick and Given Over, and Nothing would serve the Turn, but Death must needs take Her instead of Him. She Call'd, and Pray'd, and Pray'd and Call'd, till at last, Death Presented himself in a Horrible Shape at her Elbow. She very Civilly dropt him a Cursie; And Pray Sir, says she, Do not Mistake your self; for the Person that You come for lies in the Bed there.

The MORAL.

'Tis a Common Thing to Talk of Dying for a Friend; but when it comes to the Push once, 'tis no more then Talk at last.

REFLEXION.

THIS Confirms the Proverb, that Charity begins at Home, and when All is done, there's No Man loves a Friend so Well, but he Loves Himself Better. There are No People more Startled at Death, then Those that have gotten a Custom of Calling for't. Oh that Death would Deliver Me! (says One) Oh, that Death would take Me in the Place of my Dear Husband! says T'other. But when Death comes to Present Himself indeed, and to take them at their Words, the Good Wife very Civilly puts the Change upon him, and tells him, that the Person he comes for lies in the Bed there. In Few Words, to call for Death in Iest, is Vain, and Unprofitable; [Page 273] To call for't in Earnest, is Impious: And to call for't at all, is both Foolish and Needless; for Death will most certainly come at his appointed time, whether he be call'd for or No.

 


 

FAB. CCCXI. A Son Singing at his Mothers Funeral.

THere was a Good Man that follow'd his Wives Body to the Grave, Weeping, and Wayling all the Way he went, while his Son follow'd the Corps, Singing. Why Sirrah, says the Father; You should Howle, and Wring your Hands, and do as I do, ye Rogue You; and not go Sol-Fa-ing it about like a Mad-man. Why Father, says he, You give the Priests Money to Sing, and will you be Angry with Me for giving ye a Song Gratis? Well, says the Father, but That which may become the Priests will not always become You. 'Tis their Office to Sing; but it is Your Part to Cry.

The MORAL.

Funeral Tears are as Arrantly Hir'd-out as Mourning Cloaks: and so are the very Offices: And whether we go to our Graves Sniveling or Singing, 'tis all but according to the Fashion of the Country, and Meer Form.

REFLEXION.

THE Methods of Government and of Humane Society, must be Preserv'd, where Every Man has his Roll, and his Station Assign'd him; and it is not for One Man to break in upon the Province of Another. This Moral tells us also, that when One Man Condoles for the Distresses of Another, 'tis more for Money, or for Company, then for Kindness.

'Tis a slavish sort of Ceremony, and Imposition, that People must be Train'd up, by Certain Rules of Art, and Prescription, to the very Manage and Government of the most Free and Natural of our Affections; for we are Taught and Appointed the very Methods, and Degrees, of Grieving, and Rejoycing; and to do Honour to the Dead, by the Counterfeit Lamentations of the Living. But This way of Mourning by Rule, is rarher an Ostentation of Sorrow, then an Indication of it. Now to say the Truth of the Matter, Terms and Modes have Corrupted the Sincerity of our Manners, as well toward our Living Friends, as to the Memory of Those Departed. We have hardly any thing left in our Conversation that is Pure and Genuine: But the way of Civility in Fashion, casts a Blind over the Duty, under some Certain Customary Presidents of Empty Words: So that at This rate, we Impose One upon Another, without any regard to Faith, Truth, or Vertue. But we must Sing in some Cases, and Cry in Others, and there's an End on't.

[Page 274]

 


 

FAB. CCCXII. A Iealous Husband.

A Iealous Husband Committed his Wife in Confidence to the Care and Custody of a Particular Friend; with the Promise of a Considerable Reward if he could but keep her Honest. After some Few Days, the Friend grew Weary of his Charge, and desir'd her Husband to take his Wife Home again, and Release him of his Bargain; for, says he, I find it utterly Impossible to Hinder a Woman from any thing she has a Mind to. If it were to turn a Bag of Fleas Loose into a Meadow every Morning a Grazing, and Fetch them home again at Night, I durst be answerable with my Life for the Doing of it, to a single Flea, but T'other is a Commission I dare go no further in.

The MORAL.

'Tis enough to Make a Woman a Whore, but so much as to Phansy her One, and then 'tis no Boot to be Iealous neither; for if the Humour takes her to be Iadish, 'tis not All the Locks, Bolts and Spies in Nature that can keep her Honest.

REFLEXION.

IEALOUST, betwixt Man and Wife, does but Provoke, and Enflame the Appetite, as it sets the Invention at Work upon Ways and Means of giving One Another the Slip: And when it comes to a Tryal of Skill once, 'tis a Carrying of the Cause to gain the Point, and there's a kind of Perverse Reputation in getting the Better on't. Briefly, 'tis Labour Lost on Both sides, while the One is never to be Restrain'd, nor the Other to be satisfied: For Jealousie Rages as well without Reason as with it. Nay the very Will to do a Thing is as Good as the Thing Done; And his Head is as Sick, that but fancies the Thing Done, as if he saw the very Doing of it with his Own Eyes. The Ways of a Woman that has a mind to play Fast and Loose, are as Unsearchable as the very Thoughts of her Heart; and therefore the Friend here was in the Right to Discharge Himself of his Trust, and throw up his Commission.

 


 

FAB. CCCXIII. A Man that would not take a Glister.

WHen the Patient is Rich, there's No Fear of Physicians about him, as Thick as Wasps to a Honey-Pot; and there was a Whole College of them call'd to a Consultation upon [Page 275] a Purse-Proud Dutch-man, that was Troubled with a Megrim. The Doctors prescrib'd him a Clyster; The Patient fell into a Rage upon't. Why Certainly These People are All Mad, says he, to talk of Curing a Mans Head at his Tayl.

The MORAL.

He that Consults his Physician, and will not Follow his Advice, must be his Own Doctor: But let him take the Old Adage along with him. He that Teaches Himself has a Fool to his Master.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Miserable Thing, when Men that Understand Nothing at all, shall take upon them to Censure, and to Pre-judge every thing that they do not Understand. What's the Use of a College, if every Particular Man shall set up to be his Own Doctor. And 'tis the same Case where Subjects tske upon them to Correct Magnificat, and to Prescribe to their Superiors. Let every Man be Trusted in his Own Way, and let the Doctor Prescribe to the Patient, not the Patient to the Doctor. For at the Rate of This Thick-skull'd Blunder-head, every Plow-jobber shall take upon him to Read upon Divinity, Law, and Politiques, as well as Physick.

 


 

FAB. CCCXIV. A Wolfe and a Sick Ass.

THere was a certain Wolfe, that in a Qualm of Wonderful Charity, made a Visit to an Ass, that lay Ill of a Violent Fever. He felt his Pulse very Gingerly, and, pray, my Good Friend, says he, Whereabouts is your Greatest Pain. Oh, Gently, says the Ass; for it Pricks me just there still where you lay your Finger.

 


 

FAB. CCCXV. A Fox and a Sick Cock.

A Cock took his Bed upon a Fit of Sickness, and a Fox of his Old Acquaintance, gave him the Complement of a Visit, and Ask'd him how he felt himself. Alas! says the Cock, I'm e'en ready to smother for want of Breath; and if you'd be pleas'd but to stand off, and give me a Little Fresh Air, I fancy I should be somewhat more at Ease.

[Page 276]

The Moral of the Two Fables above.

The Charity of our Death-Bed Visits from One to Another, is much at a Rate (generally Speaking) with That of a Carrion Crow to a Sheep; we smell a Carcass.

REFLEXION.

THERE are no Visits so Officious, and Importune, as those that People think to get by; Especially when our Thoughts are taken up with Matters of Greater Moment. Beside, that there's a Design upon us in the very Complement. These Fables may serve to Point out to us, that there are Men, as well as Wolves and Foxes, that Waite for the Carcass; That is to say, for an Office, an Estate, a Commission, Lands, Money, Jewels, or whatever else People lie Gaping for in Reversion, according to the Practice of the World: So that there's Little Trust to These Death-bed Ceremonies; which, for the Greater Part, have more in them of Avarice, and Interest, then of Piety and Good Will: So that Effectually, a Wolves Visiting a Sick Ass, is but Saying Grace to a Dead One.

 


 

FAB. CCCXVI. Three Things are the Better for Beating.

A Good Woman happen'd to pass by as a Company of Young Fellows were Cudgelling a Wallnut-Tree, and ask'd them what they did That for? This is only by the Way of Discipline, says one of the Lads; for 'tis Natural for Asses, Women, and Wallnut-Trees to Mend upon Beating.

The MORAL.

Spur a Iade a Question and he'll Kick ye an Answer.

REFLEXION.

PEOPLE should not be too Inquisitive, without Considering how far They Themselves may be concern'd in the Answer to the Question.

[Page 277]

 


 

FAB. CCCXVII. The Asses Wish.

AN Ass was Wishing in a Hard Winter, for a Little Warm Weather, and a Mouthful of Fresh Grass to Knab upon, in Exchange for a Heartless Truss of Straw, and a Cold Lodging. In Good Time, the Warm Weather, and the Fresh Grass comes on; but so much Toyl and Bus'ness along with it, that the Ass grows quickly as Sick of the Spring as he was of the Winter. His next Longing is for Summer; but what with Harvest Work, and other Drudgeries of That Season, he is Worse now then he was in the Spring; and then he fancies he shall never be Well till Autumn comes; But There again, what with Carrying Apples, Grapes, Fewel, Winter-Provisions, &c. he finds himself in a Greater Hurry then ever. In fine, when he has trod the Circle of the Year in a Course of Restless Labour, his Last Prayer is for Winter again, and that he may but take up his Rest where he began his Complaint.

The MORAL.

The Life of an Unsteady Man runs away in a Course of Vain Wishes, and Unprofitable Repentance: An Unsettled Mind can never be at Rest. There's No Season without it's Bus'ness.

REFLEXION.

THE Asses Wish here, is the Lively Image of a Foolish, and a Miserable Levity of Mind; and, in truth, there is but too much in't of the Figure, and the Bus'ness of Humane Life; for we spend our days in a kind of Lazy, Restless Indisposition, that looks as if we would fain be doing something, and yet never goes further, then to a Shifting from One Proposition to Another. Wishing and Woulding, (as they say) has somewhat in it of an Analogy to Stretching, and Yawning; We only Drowse when we think we Live, and our time runs away in Fancying Castles in the Air, and in putting of Cases. The Inference that we are to draw from hence is This; If an Unsettled Head and Heart be so Grievous a Calamity, the Squaring of a Man's Thoughts, Wishes and Desires, to the Lot that Providence has set Out for him, is both a Blessing, and a Duty.

He that is still Weary of the Present, shall be most certainly Sollicitous for the Future. For the Present is only the Course of so many Moments into time to Come. He that Gapes after he knows not what, shall be sure to Lose his Longing. He Changes, out of Restlesness, not Choice, and so long as he carries the same Mind about him, the Circumstances of [Page 278] his Condition will never Alter the Case. His Present Thoughts are Uneasy, because his Present State does not Please him, and so he goes on at a Venture. Shifting and Casting about for somewhat else that may better Agree with him. The Batchellor wants a Wife; The Marry'd Man wants his Liberty; The Statesman has a Mind to be Private. The Countryman lives out of the World: The Man of Bus'ness is a Slave to't; And he that's out of Employment, makes it his Excuse, that he is forc'd to Drink or Whore for want of somewhat else to do. There's no Measure to be taken of an Unsteady Mind; but still 'tis either too Much, or too Little; too Soon, or too Late. The Love of Novelty begets, and Encreases the Love of Novelty; and the oft'ner we Change, the more Dangerous and Troublesome do we find This Itch of Variety to be. The Ass was Sick of the Spring; Sicker yet of the Summer; more Sick still of Autumn; and Sickest of All, of the Winter; till he's brought, in the End, to Compound for his First Condition again, and so take up with That for his Satisfaction, which he reckon'd upon before as his Misfortune.

This it is, when Fickle and Foolish People will be Prescribing To, and Refining upon the Wise and Gracious Appointments of the Maker of the World. They know not what they Are, and they know not what they Would be, any further, then that they would not be what they are. Let their Present State in the World be what it will, there's still something or other in't that makes their Life Wearysome: And they are as Peevish Company to Themselves too, as they are to their Neighbours; for there's not One Circumstance in Nature, but they shall find Matter to Pick a Quarrel at: Let it be Health, Fortune, Conversation, Kindred, Friends, it will be all a Case, so long as Weak, and Wayward Men shall go on Grumbling, and Cavilling at the Works and Dispensations of Heaven. Were it not better now for People to be Quiet at first; and to sit down Contentedly in the Post where Providence has Plac'd them? Were it not better to do the Great Work of Life Betimes, by the Help of a Seasonable Prudence and Vertue, then to Deliver up our selves to the Torments of Hopes and Fears, and be forc'd to do't at last, by the Dear-bought Experience of our Follies, and the Necessity of giving over what we can do no Longer?

This is not yet to bar Honest Industry, or a Sober Application to those Ways, Studies, or Means that may probably Contribute to the Mending of a Man's Fortune: Provided that he set up his Resolution before-hand, not to let himself down below the Dignity of a Wise Man, be the Issue of his Endeavours what it will. He that is not Content at Present, carries the same Weakness along with him to his next Remove; for whoever either Passionately Covets any thing that he has Not, or feels himself Glutted with a Satiety of what he Possesses, has already lost his Hold: So that if we would be Happy, we must Fix upon some Foundation that can never Deceive us; and Govern our selves by the Measures of Sobriety and Justice. All the rest is but the Asses Circulation of more and more Anxiety, and Trouble.

[Page 279]

 


 

FAB. CCCXVIII. A Cat and Mice.

AS a Company of Mice were Peeping out of their Holes for Discovery, they spy'd a Cat upon a Shelf; that lay and look'd so Demurely, as if there had been neither Life nor Soul in her. Well (says one of the Mice) That's a Good Natur'd Creature, I'll Warrant her; One may read it in her very Looks; and truly I have the Greatest Mind in the World to make an Acquaintance with her. So said, and so done; but so soon as ever Puss had her within Reach, she gave her to Understand, that the Face is not always the Index of the Mind.

The MORAL.

'Tis a Hard Matter for a Man to be Honest and Safe; for his very Charity and Good Nature Exposes, if it does not Betray him.

REFLEXION.

NO Treachery so Mortal, as That which Covers it self under the Masque of Sanctity. A Wolfe does a Great deal more Mischief in a Sheeps-Skin, then in his Own Shape and Colour. The Mouse that took this Cat for a Saint, has very Good Company, not only in her Mistake, but in her Misfortune too: For we have seen a whole Assembly of These Mousing Saints, that under the Masque of Zeal, Conscience, and Good Nature, have made a Shift to lay I know not how many Kingdoms in Bloud and Ashes.

 


 

FAB. CCCXIX. A Boar and a Fox.

AS a Boar was Whetting his Teeth against a Tree, up comes a Fox to him. Pray what do you Mean by That? (says he) for I see no Occasion for't. Well, says the Boar, but I do; for when I come once to be Set upon, 'twill be too Late for me to be Whetting, when I should be Fighting.

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FAB. CCCXX. A Wolfe and a Porcupine.

YOUR Porcupine, and your Hedge-Hog, are somewhat Alike, only the Former has longer and sharper Prickles then the Other; And these Prickles he can Shoot, and Dart at an Enemy. There was a Wolfe had a Mind to be Dealing with him, if he could but get him Disarm'd first; and so he told the Porcupine in a friendly Way, that it did not look Well for People in a Time of Peace, to go Arm'd, as if they were in a State of War; and so Advis'd him to lay his Bristles aside; for (says he) You may Take them up again at pleasure. Do you talk of a State of War? says the Porcupine, Why That's my Present Case, and the very Reason of my Standing to my Arms, so long as a Wolfes in the Company.

The Moral of the Two Fables above.

No Man, or State can be Safe in Peace that is not always in readiness to Encounter an Enemy in case of a War.

REFLEXION.

ALL Bus'ness that is Necessary to be done should be done Betimes: And there's as little Trouble of doing it In Season too, as Out of Season: Neither is it Effectually done at all, but in the Proper time of Doing it: So that 'tis Good Discretion, and Good Advice, to provide against Danger before-hand; for he that's always Ready can never be taken with a Why-not.

'Tis a piece of Good Councel, in All the Affairs of Humane Life, to take care of Securing our Selves that we be not either Betray'd, or Surpriz'd: But as it is Wisdom to keep our Selves upon a Guard; so it is Matter of Good Manners also, and Respect; neither to do, nor to say any thing, that may Import a Jealousy, or a Distrust. All the Duties of Government, and Society; Nay, All Offices, Civil and Religious, where Prudence, Conscience, or Common Faith are concern'd, have their Proper Seasons. 'Tis too Late to Hinder Mischief when the Opportunity is once past, and therefore the Timing of Things is a Main Point in the Dispatch of All Affairs. There can be no Safe. or Sure Peace, where People are not always in readiness for War; for the Common Well-being of Mankind, does not so much Depend upon the Faith of Men, and of Governments, as upon the Temporary and Contingent Occasions of breaking the Peace with Advantage. 'Tis not Publique Justice Alone, that can Uphold a Government, without the Aid of Policy and Councel. Men do Naturally Indulge Those Opinions and Practices, that favour their Pretensions; and [Page 281] 'tis too much to Superadd Powerful Temptations to do Wrong, to the Force of Vicious Inclinations to do it. The Boar's Whetting his Teeth, was only an Act of Necessary Precaution, for fear of the Worst: And the Porcupine did Wisely too, in keeping himself upon his Guard when the Enemy was in View.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXI. A Mouse and a Kite.

A Simple Mouse had the Fortune to be near at hand, when a Kite was taken in a Net. The Kite begg'd of her to try if she could help her out. The Mouse Gnaw'd a Hole in't, and set her at Liberty; and the Kite Eat up the Mouse for her Pains.

The MORAL.

Save a Thief from the Gallows and he'll Cut your Throat.

REFLEXION.

'TIS No New Thing in the World to Return Evil for Good. Nay, there are some Natures so sowre, and so Ungrateful, that they are never to be Oblig'd. All Kites of This Humour do not Wear Feathers: Neither do All such Mice wear Long Tayls. There are Cases, wherein our Very Tenderness, and Charity, becomes a Snare to us, and there are People too, that fancy No Blood so sweet, as That of the Person to whom they stand Indebted for their Lives and Fortunes: But then if One Man should Cease to be Generous, and Charitable, because Another Man is Sordid, and Ungrateful. It would be much in the Power of the Basest of Vices to Extinguish the most Christian, and Humane of Vertues. These Lewd Examples May however, and Ought to Recommend Prudence and Caution to us; but without Killing, or Quenching Good Nature. There are, 'tis true, some People so Harden'd in Wickedness, as to have No Sense at all of the most Friendly Offices, or the Highest Benefits. Now in These Desperate Cases, a Man is little Better then Felo-de-se, that for the Helping of Another Ventures the Undoing of Himself. Nay, and 'tis somewhat more then a Venture too, when a Mouse lays it self at the Mercy of a Kite.

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FAB. CCCXXII. A Cockle and Iupiter.

IN Old Time, when Iupiter was in the Humour of Granting Petitions, a Cockle made it his Request, that his House and his Body might be All of a Piece. Iupiter made him Answer, that it would be a Burden to him, instead of a Favour. Yes says the Cockle, but it will be such a Burden as I had rather Bear, then lie Expos'd to Ill Neighbours.

The MORAL.

Impertinent Visits are the Plague of a Sober Man's Life, and therefore 'tis a Happy thing when a Body may be at Home, or Not at Home, as He Pleases.

REFLEXION.

GOOD, or Bad Company, is either the Greatest Blessing, or the Greatest Plague of Humane Life; and therefore the Cockles was a very Reasonable, and a Pertinent Request. There's No Liberty like the Freedom of being Publique or Private as a Body pleases; And having it at my own Choice, whether I will live to the World, or to my self.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXIII. A Bitch ready to Puppy.

A Big-Belly'd Bitch borrow'd Another Bitches Kennel to lay her Burden in. The Proprietress, after some time, Demanded Possession again, but the Other begg'd her Excuse and Patience, only till her Whelps might be able to shift for Themselves. This was Agreed upon for so many Days longer: But the Time being Expir'd, the Bitch that was Out, grew More and More Pressing for her Own again. Why then says the Other, if you can force Me and My Puppies Out of the Kennel, You shall have Free Liberty to come In.

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FAB. CCCXXIV. A Hedge-Hog and a Snake.

A Snake was prevail'd upon in a Cold Winter, to take a Hedge-Hog into his Cell; but when he was Once in, the Place was so Narrow, that the Prickles of the Hedge-Hog were very Troublesome to his Companion: so that the Snake told him, he must needs Provide for Himself somewhere else, for the Hole was not Big enough to Hold them Both. Why then, says the Hedge-Hog, He that Cannot Stay shall do Well to Go: But for my Own Part, I am e'en Content where I am, and if You be not so too, Y'are Free to Remove.

The MORAL.

Possession is Eleven Points of the Law.

REFLEXION.

EVERY Man is to provide against Fraud and Treachery, where the Person he deals with may be the Better for't. Fore-warn'd, Fore-arm'd. 'Tis not Safe to Joyn Interests with Strangers, upon such Terms, as to lay our selves at Mercy. In All Offices of Christian Charity, and of Prudent Conversation, People should have a Strict Regard to the Humour and Character of the Persons they deal withal; to the Degrees and Measures of Things; and to the Consequences upon the Whole Matter, in case of the Worst. It is not Every Mans Talent to Distinguish Aright upon All the Necessities of Affairs of This Nature. That is to say, how far our Prudence, may Warrant our Charity, and how far our Charity may Comport with our Prudence. 'Tis Dangerous on the One hand to pass the Rules of Discretion; and it is Inhumane on the Other, not to Acquit our selves in All the Functions of Tenderness, and Good Nature; for Piety and Wisdom are Both Wrapt up in the Question. The very same Good Office may be a Vertue toward One Man, and a Folly toward Another. One may Justifie the running of a Risque, in favour of a Man of Integrity and Good Fame: But where there is an Habitual Ingratitude on the One side, and a Considerable Hazzard on the Other, there's No Trusting. I shall not need to Enlarge upon This Topique, in a World that makes Good the Allegory by so many Instances of Daily Practice and Conversation. How many Fresh Examples may we find in our Own Memory, of Men that after All the Obligations Imaginable, and in Contradiction to All the Tyes of Honour, Justice, and Hospitality have serv'd their Masters, Patrons, and Benefactors, as the Hedge-Hog serv'd the Snake here!

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FAB. CCCXXV. A Fox and a Hare.

A Fox and a Hare were in a Warm Contest once, which of the Two could make the Best Shift in the World. When I am Pursu'd, says the Hare, I can shew the Dogs a Fair pair of Heels, and run away from 'em at pleasure: And yet for All That, says the Fox, I have Baffled more of'em with My VViles and my Shifts, then ever You did with your Footmanship.

The MORAL.

Wisdom is as much beyond Force, as Men are beyond Brutes.

REFLEXION.

A Good Bodily Strength and Disposition is a Felicity of Nature, but nothing Comparable yet to the Advantages of a Large Understanding, and a Ready Presence of Mind. Wisdom does more then Force; but they do Best together, for a sound Mind in a sound Body, is the Perfection of Humane Bliss. A Fox, 'tis true, may be some time Outwitted, and a Hare Out-stript; but This does not hinder yet the Excellency of One Faculty above the Other.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXVI. An Old Man resolv'd to give over Whoring.

THere was an Old Tost, that in the very State of Impotence, had still a Whore in the Head of him. His Ghostly Father took Notice of it, and Ply'd him Hard with VVholesome Advice, upon the Subject of the Lusts of the Flesh. This Reverend Fornicator thank'd him most Heartily for his Kind and Christian Councel, and by the Grace of Heaven, says he, I'll Follow it; For to tell ye the Plain Truth on't, I am told that 'tis Naught for me; and really, my Body is quite out of Tune for Those Gambols.

The MORAL.

When Things are at the Worst they'l Mend.

[Page 285]

REFLEXION.

MORE Men Reclaim out of Shame, Fear, or Pure Necessity, then for the Love of Honour, or Vertue. They that are Honest upon These Terms would be Arrant Kanves if the Tables were Turn'd. They go along with the Devil, while there's either Pleasure, or Profit to be had on That side; but when they come once to lose the Tast of the One, and the Means of the Other, they are presently Register'd in the Calender of New Converts. The Countenance of This Fable looks a little betwixt Iest and Earnest; but This Mixture of Appearance does not Hinder it from being a most Edifying Satyr upon the Corruptions, and False Semblances of Humane Life. Lord! How Sober, and Temperate do People grow, when they can Drink and Whore no longer!

 


 

FAB. CCCXXVII. An Impertinent and a Philosopher.

A Certain Pragmatical, Senceless Companion would make a Visit to a Philosopher. He found him Alone in his Study, and fell a VVond'ring how he could Endure to Lead so Solitary a Life, The Learned Man told him; Sir, says he, You are Exceedingly Mistaken; for I was in very Good Company till You came In.

The MORAL.

Good Thoughts and Good Books are very Good Company.

REFLEXION.

A Wise Book is much better than a Foolish Companion; And the Dead, in such a case, are much Better then the Living. It is one of the most vexatious Mortifications perhaps, of a Sober, and a Studious Mans Life, to have his Thoughts Disorder'd, and the very Chain of his Reason Discompos'd, by the Importunity of a Tedious, and an Impertinent Visit. Especially, if it be from a Fool of Quality, where the very Figure of the Man Entitles him to All Returns of Good Manners and Respect. And the Affliction is yet more Grievous, where That Prerogative of Quality, is further Back'd and Corroborated, with a Real Kindness, and Good Will: For a Man must be Inhumane, and Ungrateful, as well as Rude, if he does but so much as Offer, at the Easing, or the Relieving of Himself. The Drist of This Fable at last, is to tell us, that Good Books and Good Thoughts are the Best Company, and that they are Mistaken that think a Wise Man can ever be Alone. It prepares us also to Expect Interruptions, and Disappointments, and to Provide for 'em; but withal, to take the Best Care we can [Page 286] to Prevent the Plague of Ill Company, by avoiding the Occasions of it. The Linking of a Man of Brains and Honesty into a Lewd Insipid Conversation, is Effectually but the Moral of That Tyrant, that Bound the Living, and the Dead together, and yet This is it which the Impertinent takes for the Relief of Solitude, and the Blessing of That which he calls Company.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXVIII. A Wolfe in a Sheeps-skin.

THere goes a Story of a Wolfe, that Wrapt himself up in a Sheep-skin, and Worry'd Lambs for a Good while under That Disguise; but the Shepherd Met with him at last, and Trust him up, Sheeps-skin and all, upon an Eminent Gibbet, for a Spectacle, and an Example. The Neighbours made a Wonderment of it, and Ask'd him what he meant to Hang up his Sheep? Oh, says he, That's only the Skin of a Sheep, that was made use of to Cover the Heart, Malice, and Body of a Wolfe that Shrouded himself Under it.

The Moral of the Two Fables above.

Hypocrisie is only the Devils Stalking Horse, under an Affectation of Simplicity and Religion. People are not to be Iudg'd by their Looks, Habits, and Appearances; but by the Character of their Lives and Conversations, and by their Works.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable is Moraliz'd in the Holy Gospel it self. 'Tis with all Men that are Notoriously Wicked, of what Degree or State, or in what point of Iniquity soever, much after the Rate of the Wolfe in This Fiction. Tyranny Marches under the Masque of Care, Piety, and Protection. Injustice sets up the Rigorous Letter of the Law to Weigh against the Improbity of the Witness: The Pawn-Broker pretends Charity, and the Oppressor Flays the Widow and the Orphan: And at the same Time, Preaches Mercy and Compassion, with the very same Breath. Treachery Covers it self under a Cloak of Kindness and Friendship; and Nothing more Frequent then Wolves in Lambs-Skins, even in the most Solemn Offices of Church and State. This Fable Extends to All the Lewd Practices of Hypocrites and Impostors, under the Colour of Pious, and Charitable Works and Duties. Now if All our Moral Wolves in Sheeps-Cloathing, were but Serv'd as This Hypocritical Wolfe was in the Fiction, and Hung-up Indeed, with their Crimes in Capital Letters on their Foreheads, Common Truth and Honesty among Men would be more Sacred.

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FAB. CCCXXIX. An Incouragable Son.

IT was the Hard Lot of a very Good Man to have a Vicious Young Fellow to his Son; and he did what he could to Reclaim him: But Sir (says he) for Brevities sake, 'tis only so much Time and Councel thrown away; for all the Parsons about the Town have been Baiting me I know not how long now, upon the same Subject, and I'm not One Jot the Better for't.

The MORAL.

Some Men Live as if they had made a Covenant with Hell; Let Divines, Fathers, Friends say what they will, they Stop their Ears against them: And Good Counsel is wholly Cast away upon them.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable would go a Great way, if it were wrought up to the Heighth. As for the Purpose; to all Manner of Graceless, and Hopeless Characters. Some People are lost for want of Good Advice; Others for want of giving Good Heed to't; And some again take up Resolutions beforehand never to Mend. Nay there are Those that Value themselves upon the very Contempt of All that. is Sacred and Honest, and make it a Point of Bravery to bid Defiance to the Oracles of Divine Revelation, the Motions of Reasonable Nature, and the Laws of Government. This Contradiction to the Duty of a Sober Man is yet farther Heighten'd, by the Disobedience of a Son to a Parent: and farther yet, by a Spiteful Opposition to All the Precepts of Morality and Religion. There's somewhat of a Droll-Mixture in This Bantering way of Liberty, to make a body Laugh where he should Cry: But 'tis past a Sporting Matter, when the most Necessary Duties of Christianity come to be the Question. There's No Room for Trifling in Those Cases.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXX. A Sheep-Biter Hang'd.

A Certain Shepherd had One Favourite-Dog, that he had a Particular Confidence in above all the rest. He fed him with his Own hand, and took more Care of him, in short, then of any of his Fellows. This Kindness went on a Long Time, 'till in Conclusion, upon the Missing of some Sheep, [Page 288] he fancy'd This Cur to be False to him: After This Jealousy, he kept a Strict Eye upon him, and in fine, found it out, that This Trusty Servant of his was the Felon. Upon the Discovery, he had him presently taken up, and bad him prepare for Execution. Alas! Master, says the Dog, I am One of your Family, and 'twould be hard to put a Domestique to Extremities: Turn your Displeasure upon the Wolves rather, that make a Daily Practice on't to Worry your Sheep. No, no, says the Shepherd, I'd sooner Spare Forty Wolves that make it their Profession to Kill Sheep, then One Sheep-biting Cur that's Trusted with the Care of them. There's somewhat of Franckness and Generosity in the One; but the Other is the Basest of Treacheries.

The MORAL.

No Perfidy like Breach of Faith and Trust, under the Seal of Friendship: For an Adversary under That Masque, is much more Unpardonable then a Barefac'd Enemy.

REFLEXION.

THERE are Political Sheep-biters as well as Pastoral; Betrayers of Publique Trusts, as well as of Private; And Humane Curs that are as Wolvish as the Other. This Maxim however, holds in All Cases; that Breach of Faith, and Trust, is the most Odious, Inhospitable and Inhumane of Civil, as well as of Moral Offences. A special Confidence in One more then in Another, though from a King to a Subject, or from a Master to a Servant, has some Analogy in't of Friendship, but the Matter should be thoroughly Weigh'd and Examin'd, before we put it to the Utmost Tryal and Test. A Man may be too Hard, or too Easy; too Advent'rous or too Wary, in passing a Judgment upon the Character of the Person▪: But above all things, it will concern us perfectly to Understand the Honour, the Practice, and the Conversation of the Man we Propose for a Friend, before we lay any Stress upon his Faith; Not but that we may believe Well of a Man, and yet not think fit to Trust him: So that a Charity on the One hand does not Authorize a Confidence on the Other: It is not Amiss however, to lay Baits for a Man in such a Case, and to try him on the Blind-side. As if a Man be Covetous, Profit, or Bribes may put him to the Test, and so Answerably in Other Cases. Powerful Temptations Articificially Dispos'd, are the Best Essay, and Assurance of a Man's Faith and Honesty that the Matter will bear. This Dog here would perhaps have Fought for his Master in any Other Case, though he Betray'd him in This: But the Love of Mutton was his Weak side: Which in some sort Answers to That which we call Peccatum in Delicijs in Mankind. This Infirmity however did not Excuse the Treachery, and the Kinder the Master the more Unpardonable is the Traytor.

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FAB. CCCXXXI. A Bull and a Ram.

THere was One Master-Ram that Beat All his Fellows out of the Field, and was so Puff'd up with the Glory of his Exploits, that Nothing would serve him but he must Challenge a Bull to the Combat. They Met, and upon the First Encounter, there lay the Ram for Dead; but coming to himself again; Well (says he) This is the Fruit of my Insolence, and Folly, in Provoking an Enemy, that Nature has made my Superior.

The MORAL.

Where People will be Provoking and Challenging their Superiors, either in Strength, or Power, 'tis not so much a Bravery of Spirit, as a Rude and Brutal Rashness; and they pay Dear for't at last.

REFLEXION.

'TIS not Courage, but Temerity, for Men to Venture their Lives, Reputations and Fortunes upon Unequal Encounters; Unless where they are Oblig'd by an Over-ruling Impulse of Honour, Conscience, and Duty, to stand All Hazzards. That which the World Accounts Brave, is in Truth, no Better than Brutal, where there is not Reason, Justice, and Prudence to Direct and Govern it. 'Tis One thing for a Man to be Firm, and Fearless, against Honest Dangers, let them appear never so Terrible, when his Honour for the Purpose, his Country, or his Conscience, calls upon him to Encounter them: But to run his Head against Stone-Walls, or to put his Shoulders to a Sea-Breach, to Attempt Insuperable Difficulties, and Needlesly to Provoke Invincible Enemies, purely out of a Vain Opinion of his Own Strength; This would be just the Moral of the Ram here in the Fable.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXXI. A Widow and a Green Ass.

THere was a Widow that had a Twittering toward a second Husband, and she took a Gossipping Companion of hers to her Assistance, how to Manage the Job. The Truth of it is, says she, I have a Dear Mind to Another Bedfellow; but the Devillish People would keep such a Snearing, and Pointing [Page 290] at me, they'd make me e'en Weary of my Life. You are a Fine Widow i' faith, says T'other, to Trouble your Head for the Talk of the People. Pray will ye Mind what I say to ye now. You have an Ass here in your Grounds; go your ways and get That Ass Painted Green, and then let him be carry'd up and down the Country for a Show. Do This, I say, without any more Words, for Talk does but Burn Day-light. The Thing was done accordingly; and for the first Four or Five Days, the Green Ass had the Whole Country at his Heels; Man, Woman, and Child, Staring and Hooting after him. In four or five Days More, the Humour was quite Spent, and the Ass might Travel from Morning to Night, and not One Creature to take Notice of him. Now (says the friendly Adviser) A New Marry'd Widow is a kind of a Green Ass: Every bodies Mouth will be Full on't for the first four or five Days, and in four or five More, the Story will e'en Talk it self Asleep.

The MORAL.

Common Fame is as False and Impudent as a Common Strumpet. Let Every Man live to his Conscience, and never Trouble his Head with the Talk of the People.

REFLEXION.

There is no Mystery in telling us that a Widow may be Prevail'd upon to Think of a Second Husband; but the Weight of This Emblem lies upon Those Cases where there Occur a Thousand Scruples, and Difficulties, that may startle People at first, and yet in the Conclusion, prove but a Nine-Day's Wonder. The Foolery of the Widow and the Green Ass, shews pleasantly enough, how Easy a Matter it is for a Bold Face, a Good Assurance, and a Reasonable Stock of Wit and Address, to put Common Fame it self out of Countenance: And it is a part of Prudence beside, not to sink under the Impression of an Ill Report: Provided there be Integrity and Innocence to Support That Firmness of Mind. A Wise Man will not make his Happiness Precarious: He looks to his Conscience, and leaves the World to take its Course. 'Tis the Novelty, not the Quality of Things, that sets People a Gaping and a Gazing at them: But when they come once to be Familiar, the Wonder goes off, and Men return to their Wits again. The Main Consideration is This, whether the Matter in Question be Good or Evil; Honourable or Dishonourable; Not according to a Vulgar Estimate, but in the Genuine Truth, and Nature of it. 'Tis Foolish, either to Fear, or to Mind what the People say of a Man, in cases where he stands or falls to his Own Conscience.

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FAB. CCCXXXIII. An Eagle and Rabbets.

THere was an Eagle that drew a Nest of Rabbets, and carry'd them away to her Young. The Mother-Cony follow'd her with Tears in her Eyes, Adjuring her in the Name of All Those Powers that take care of the Innocent and Oppressed, to have Compassion upon her Miserable Children: But she, in an Outrage of Pride and Indignation, Tears them presently to pieces. The Cony, upon This, Convenes a Whole Warren; Tells her Story and Advises upon a Revenge: For Divine Iustice (says she) will never suffer so Barbarous a Cruelty to scape Unpunish'd. They Debated the Matter, and came to an Unanimous Resolve upon the Question, that there was no Way of paying the Eagle in her Kind, but by Undermining the Tree where she Timber'd. So they all fell to VVork at the Roots of the Tree, and left it so little Foot-hold, that the first Blast of Wind laid it Flat upon the Ground, Nest, Eagles and All. Some of 'em were Kill'd with the Fall; Others were Eaten up by Birds and Beasts of Prey, and the Cony had the Comfort at last, of Destroying the Eagles Children, in Revenge for her Own.

The MORAL.

'Tis Highly Imprudent, even in the Greatest of Men, Unnecessarily to Provoke the Meanest: When the Pride of Pharaoh Himself was brought down by Miserable Frogs and Lice.

REFLEXION.

THERE's Nothing so Little as to be Wholly Despis'd; for the most Inconsiderable of Creatures may at Some time or Other, by some Means or Other, come to Revenge it self upon the Greatest; Not by it's Own Force so much, as by the Working of Divine Justice, that will not Suffer Oppression to pass Unpunish'd. In cases of Powerful Injustice, the Greatest are not to Presume, nor the Meanest to Despair.

We are to Distinguish upon This Fable, what the Eagle did as a Tyrant, and what she did as a Bird of Prey: And likewise betwixt a Passion which is purely Vindictive, and Those Counsels where Divine Justice Interposes toward the Avenging of the Innocent. Here is Power Triumphing over Weakness; a Criminal Cruelty over Helpless Innocence, and That Cruelty Inexorable too, and Deaf to the Tears, Supplications, and Importunities of a Tender Mother, on the Behalf of her Children. Now for the Humbling of This Unmerciful Pride in the Eagle, Providence has found out a Way, even by the most Despicable of Means and Creatures, to the [Page 292] Wreaking of a Revenge; which shews likewise that Heaven takes the Cause of the Weak and the Guiltless into a Particular Care.

This Councel of the Rabbets has somewhat in it of the Debates of Popular Meetings, where the Number and the Agreement Supplies the want of Other Means: And we are taught from hence too, that States are not so much in danger of Open Force, as of Secret Mines: For when the Foundation is once Loosen'd; The Least Breath of a Commotion lays the Whole Building in Rubish. We are taught also, that the Only, or at least the Main Support of Power is Justice, in the Due Distribution of Reward and Punishment. Where These Two Principles are Perverted, the Government is off the Ballance, and the Worse Part of it Out-Weighs the Other. But the Judgments of Heaven Supply the defects of Common Justice, and Avenge the Cause of the Poor and Innocent upon the Heads of the Mighty. Vengeance, in fine Treads upon the Heel of Oppression, according to the Doctrine of This Fable of the Eagle and the Rabbets here.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXXIV. A Pike sets up for Sovereignty.

THere was a Master-Pike, that for his Bulk, Beauty, and Strength, was look'd upon to be the Prince of the River, but the Sovereignty of the Fresh Water would not Content him, it seems, unless he might Engross to himself the Empire of the Sea too. Upon This Ambitious Design, he Launch'd out into the Ocean, and put up his Claim to't; But a Prodigious Dolphin took This Encroachment upon his Right, in such Dudgeon, that he set upon the Pike; Gave him Chace, and Pursu'd him to the very Borders of his Own Stream, Insomuch that the Pike had enough to do to Save Himself; and from That Time forward, he had the Wit to keep within the Compass of his Own Dominions.

The MORAL.

Ambition has no Other Bounds then what Providence has Prescrib'd to it, for the Good of Mankind. Here shall thy Proud Waves Stay: And there must be No Passing Those Limits.

REFLEXION.

PROVIDENCE has Assign'd Every Man his Post and Station, and He that either Relinquishes his Own Natural Right, or Invades Anothers, seldom fails of a Disappointment in the Conclusion. Or however, in case of the most Successful Injustice, Oppression, and Usurpation, there follows a Restless Anxiety in the keeping of what is Injuriously Gotten; an Insatiable Thirst after More and More still, and Nothing but Shame and Confusion in the End, when he comes to Cast up Profit and Loss at the Foot [Page 293] of the Reck'ning. This Ambitious Pike is but the Figure of some Petty Prince, that sets himself up to be Troublesome, and to give Laws to a more Powerful Neighbour. The Dolphin Represents such a Power that's more then's Match, and Beats him Home again. The Case of the Fishes in the Fable, is much the same with That of Kings and States in Common Practice. And to carry the Allegory yet further; As the Ocean, on the One hand, so the Whole World, on the Other, is made the Field of Battle. Now All This in the Moral, serves only to bid us Moderate our Desires; Keep our Affections within Bounds, and Live Contented with our Lot.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXXV. A Sheep picks a Quarel with a Shepherd.

A Sheep that was to be Shorn, took it very Ill of the Shepherd that he should not satisfie himself with the Milk she gave him, without Stripping her of her Wooll too. The Shepherd, upon This, without any more Words, took one of her Lambs in a Rage, and put it to Death. Well, says the Sheep, and now y'ave done Your Worst I hope: No, says the Shepherd, when That's done I can Cut your Throat too, if I have a Mind to't, and throw ye to the Dogs, or to the VVolves at pleasure. The Sheep said not One VVord more, for fear of a Worse Mischief to come.

The MORAL.

When People Will not Submit to Reason by Fair Means, they must be brought to't by Foul.

REFLEXION.

HE that is not Master of Himself, or in his Own Power, has no Other Game to play then to submit himself Contentedly to the Will of Another. Struggling is so far from setting him at Liberty, that it only ties the Knot the Harder. There must be no Muttering at Heaven for the Loss of Fortune, Children, or whatever else can be Dear to us; for there are Greater Afflictions in store for Those that shall Dare to Prescribe Rules and Measures to the Divine Providence. Wherefore we should All set our Hearts at rest, upon These Two Considerations, First, that whatsoever comes from above, is for the Best, and 2ly. That there's No Contending with it. The Pot must not chop Logick, and Expostulate with the Potter: And so for a Sheep to tell the Shepherd when he has Kill'd her Lamb, that now he has done his Worst; 'tis such Another kind of Defiance, as that of Iob's Wife was, when she bad her Husband Curse God and Die. We are not the Carvers of our Own Fortunes, and This way of Proceeding is an Affront to all the Dictates, Lights, and Duties of Religion, Nature and Reason.

[Page 294]

 


 

FAB. CCCXXXVI. A Creaking Wheel.

A Wagoner took Notice upon the Creaking of a Wheel, that it was the Worst Wheel of the Four, that made the most Noise, and was Wond'ring at the Reason of it. Oh, says the Wagon, They that are Sickly are ever the most Piping and Troublesome.

The MORAL.

'Tis with Creaking Wheels as 'tis with Courtiers, Physicians, Lawyers (and with whom not?) They want Greazing.

REFLEXION.

WHEN People are Crazy, and in Disorder, 'tis but Natural for them to Groan, and to Complain. This is a Far-Fetch'd Allusion, but it must serve for want of a Better. The Uneasiness of a sickly habit of Body, is some sort of Excuse for being Troublesome and Importune.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXXVII. A Man had a Mind to try His Friends.

THere was a Generous Rich Man that kept a Splendid and an Open Table, and Consequently never Wanted Guests. This Person found All People came to him Promiscuously, and a Curiosity took him in the Head to try, which of 'em were Friends, and which, only Trencher-Flies, and Spungers. So he took an Occasion One Day at a Full Table, to tell them of a Quarrel he had, and that he was just then a going to Demand Satisfaction. There must be so many to so many, and he made no doubt, but they'd stand by him with their Swords in their Hands. They All Excus'd themselves save only Two; which Two he reckon'd upon as his Friends, and All the rest no Better then Hangers-on.

The MORAL.

We may Talk of Many Friends; but not One Man of a Thousand will stand the Test.

[Page 295]

REFLEXION.

THERE's No Tryal of a True Friend, but in cases of Difficulty; as Loss, Trouble, or Danger; for That's the Time of Distinguishing what a Man does for My sake, and what for his Own.

It is an Unhappy Thing that Princes and Great Men, who seem to have the least need of Friends, should in truth have the Greatest, and yet at the same time the Greatest Difficulty of Knowing them too, for want of Occasions to put them to the Tryal. There is No Proof of Friendship like Frequent Experiment. Now Princes are above the want of Those Common Offices that pass for Friendship betwixt Man an Man, as in Matter of Money, Liberty, Protection, and the like. People do not Flock to Courts so much for their Masters service, as for the making of their Own Fortunes. How shall any Man distinguish now betwixt a Parasite, and a Man of Honour; where they are All on the Receiving Hand, and where Hypocrisie, and Interest looks so like Duty and Affection? He that well Considers the Practice of the World, will find the Fiction of the Rich Man in This Fable to be in some Proportion the Common case of Mankind. An Undistinguishable Facility shall never fail of Meeting with an Undistinguishable Infidelity; which is no Other then a Just Judgment upon an Inconsiderate Bounty, 'Tis the Benefactors Fate in fine, to be either Deserted or Betray'd by those that he has fed, and with Acteon, to be Worry'd by his Own Curs. He that keeps an Open House for All Comers, should do well to Consider that there are Oglios of Guests as well as of Dishes, and that the Liberty of a Common Table is as Good as a Tacit Invitation to All sorts of Intruders; As Buffoon, Spyes, Tale-Bearers, Flatterers, Epicures, Indigents, &c. Now These are All but so many Flies that Come and Go with the Meat. And whereas the Mythologist lays the Stress upon This Point, That the Master of the House could find but Two Friends in such a Crowd of People, 'tis my Admiration on the Other hand rather, that he should find so Many, in the License of a Conversation that was made so Scandalous by the Company.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXXVIII. A Fox Praising Hares Flesh.

AS a Dog was Pressing hard upon the very Breech of a Fox, Up starts a Hare. Pray Hold a Little, says the Fox, and take That Hare there while she is to be had: You never Tasted such a Morsel since you were Born; But I am all over Tainted and Rotten, and a Mouthful of My Flesh would be enough to Poyson ye. The Dog immediately left the Fox; and took a Course at the Hare; but she was too Nimble for him, it seems, and when he saw he could not Catch her, he very Discreetly let her go. The Hare had heard what pass'd; and Meeting the Fox Two or Three Days after, she told him how Basely he [Page 296] had serv'd her. Nay, says the Fox, if You take it so Heavily that I spoke Well of ye, what would you have done if I had Spoken Ill?

The MORAL.

A Designing Back-Friend is the Worst of Enemies.

REFLEXION.

THERE are some sorts of Commendation, and some Cases and Seasons of Applying it, that are more Malicious, and Mischievous, then the Worst of Calumnies. Here's a Fox at a Pinch; and what's His Bus'ness now, but to Stop the Dogs Mouth with a piece of Hares Flesh, for the Saving of his Own Skin! A Puss, says he, is much Better Meat then a Fox, and This Good Office over the Last Shoulder, is the Civility that he Values himself upon. He gives her his Good Word, (as we call it) to the very End that she may be Eaten. How many Thousands of These Foxes Complements do we meet with in Our Dayly Practice and Conversation. But a Crafty Knave is never without somewhat or Other to say for Himself, and a Bad Excuse is Better then None. The Foxes Civility, in fine, was Roguery all over; and his Praising the Hares-Flesh to the Dog, was Effectually no more then a Letter of Recommendation to the Common Hang-man.

 


 

FAB. CCCXXXIX. A Plain Horse Wins the Prize.

THere were a Great many Brave, Sightly Horses with Rich Trappings that were brought out One day to the Course, and Only One Plain Nag in the Company that made sport for All the rest. But when they came at last to the Tryal, This was the Horse that ran the Whole Field out of Distance, and VVon the Race.

The MORAL.

Our Senses are No Competent Iudges of the Excellencies of the Mind.

REFLEXION.

HE that Judges by the Outside, and Pronounces upon the Bare Appearance of Things, runs a great many Mistakes in One; for there's Temerity, Folly, Pride, and Ill Nature in't; Especially where the Censure is accompany'd with Mockery and Scorn. 'Tis Inhumane, at the Best, to make Sport with one Another's Infirmities; which in Honour, and Christianity, we are bound to Cover. But it is Pleasant enough then, if People [Page 297] will be putting themselves upon a Tryal of skill, to see a Bantering Pretender made an Ass of by the very Man that He Himself has Mark'd out for a Coxcomb: which is no Other, in Plain English, then a Fair Appeal to the Company, which is the Arranter Fool of the Two. In One Word, there's Nothing lays a Man more Open, then Laughing, out of Measure, and out of Season. To Instance in a Cavalier of My Acquaintance that was up to the Ears in Love with a very Fine Lady, that wanted neither Air, Shape, Dress, Quality, nor any Other of Those Charming Circumstances to Recommend her to any Honest Man to Play the Fool withal. He had his Mistress to a Comedy once, where she was wonderfully pleas'd, but had, the Ill Hap to Laugh still in the Wrong Place: The Poor Man Observ'd it, and his Fancy fell so Sick upon't, that the Fit went off immediately, and he was his own Man for ever after. This comes of Judging by the Eye without Consulting the Reason of the Matter; and of setting our Hearts upon the Shape, Colour, and External Beauty of Things, without any Regard to the Internal Excellence and Virtue of them. The Plain Nag here was like to have been Laugh'd out of the Field, as well as out of Countenance, till he came upon the Tryal to Prove Those to be Iades Themselves that made Sport with him.

 


 

FAB. CCCXL. A Country-man and a Kid.

A Country-man that was Hamper'd in a Law-Suit, had a near Friend and Kinsman, it seems, that was a Lawyer, and to Him he went again and again, for Advice upon the Point; but he was Still so Busie, and Busie, that he must come Another Time. The Poor Fellow took a Delicate Fat Kid with him, Next Bout, and the Lawyers Clark, upon hearing the Voice of it at the Door; let the Man in, and carry'd him to his Master, where he laid Open his Case, Took his Opinion; made Two Legs, One to the Counsel for Receiving of him; T'other to the Kid for Introducing him, and so went his VVay.

The MORAL.

Money is a Passe-par-Tout.

REFLEXION.

'TIS with Money as 'tis with Majesty; All Other Powers and Authorities Cease while That's in Place. 'Tis That which makes the Pot Boyl (as the Proverb says) though the Devil Piss in the Fire. Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Relations, Friendships, are but Empty Names of Things, [Page 298] and Words Butter No Parsnips. 'Tis Interest that Governs the World; and the Rulers of it; Ecclesiastical, as well as Civil; for it Works in All Degrees and Qualities of Men; and we have learnt by Experience, that the Pulpit may be made to have a Feeling in the Case as well as the Bar. Money, in fine, is an Universal Pasport, and All Doors Fly Open to't. It Answers All Objections, Resolves All Scruples, and turns up what Religion Trump, it pleases. In One Word, Quid Dabitis & Tradam? may be the Motto of Corrupt Nature. This Fable was Excellently well Moraliz'd by a Famous Councel of our Times. One gave him a Fee of Forty Broad Pieces: He took 'em, and Counted 'em (as a Man may Count Money after his Father they say) Well, says he, Here are Forty Pieces, Pugnabo FORTITER Make them Ten more and Pugnabo FIFTITER, In forma Pauperis is no good Lawyers Latin. Kin'red are no Wellcome Clients, where the Nearness of the Relation gives them a kind of Title to have Advice Gratis, but where the Cousin cannot Prevail, the Kid must.

 


 

FAB. CCCXLI. A Weak Young Man and a Wolfe.

A Creeping Young Fellow that had Committed Matrimony with a Brisk Gamesome Lass, was so Alter'd upon't in a Few Days, that he was liker a Sceleton then a Living Man. He was Basking himself One time in the Gleam of the Sun, and some Huntsmen pass'd by him upon the Chace of a Wolfe that led 'em That VVay. VVhy how comes it (says he) that you don't Catch That Wolfe? They told him that he was too Nimble for 'em. VVell (says he) If My VVife had the Ordering of him she'd Spoil his Footmanship.

The MORAL.

Marriage they say Breeds Cares and Cuckolds.

REFLEXION.

FLESH and Bloud is but Flesh and Bloud; and the Indulging of Inordinate Appetites is the Ruine of Body, Soul, and Estate. This Fellow should have Consulted the Circumstances of his Constitution, before he made That Desperate Leap; for when a Man is Plung'd into an Irrevocable State of Misery, he has but a Cold bus'ness on't to Comfort himself with a Jest. And 'twas but a Measuring Cast at Last neither, whether he meant his Wife should have to do with the Wolfe, in One Sense, or the Wolfe with his Wife in Another.

[Page 299]

 


 

FAB. CCCXLII. A Lad Robbing an Orchard.

AN Old Fellow took a Boy Robbing his Orchard. Sirrah, (says he) come down the Tree, and don't Steal my Apples. The Lad never Minded him, but went on with his Work. Well (says the Master of the Grounds) they say there are Charms in Herbs, as well as in Words, and so he threw a Handful of Grass at him, which was so Ridiculous, that the Young Thief took the Old Man to be Mop'd. But in Conclusion, if Neither Words, nor Herbs will do, says he, I'll try what may be done with Stones; for they say there's Vertue in Them too; And that VVay he did his VVork.

The MORAL.

Those that will not be Reclaim'd by Instruction, must be brought to a Sense of their Duty by Feeling.

REFLEXION.

A Wise Man, in All Controversies, will try what may be done by Fair Means before he comes to Foul: And where the One fails, the Other will Certainly do the Work. The Fear of Hell does a great deal toward the Keeping of us in our way to Heaven; and if it were not for the Penalty, the Laws neither of God, nor of Man, would be Obey'd. There would have been a Charm in Wood as well as in Stones, if the Little Thief had but been soundly Drubb'd with a Good Honest Cudgel: For where Conscience and Argument will do no Good, Punishment must: But as it is the Surest, so the Good Man here made it the Last Remedy.

 


 

FAB. CCCXLII. A Nightingale and a Hawk.

AS a Nightingale was Singing in a Bush, down comes a Rascally Kite of a Sparrow-Hawk, and Whips her off the Bough: The Poor Wretch Pleaded for her self, that alas! her Little Carcass was not worth the While, and that there were Bigger Birds enough to be found. Well, says the Hawk, but am I so Mad d'ye think, as to Part with a Little Bird that I have, [Page 300] for a Great One that I have Not? Why then, says she, I'll give ye a Delicate Song for my Life: No, no, says the Hawk, I want for my Belly, not for my Ears.

The MORAL.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable carries Three Morals. 1st. That we are not to Part with a Certainty for an Uncertainty. 2dly, That Men of Appetite are not Mov'd by any Consideration of Vertue. 3dly, That Things of Use and Necessity, are to be preferr'd before Matters meerly of Delight and Pleasure.

The Nightingale in the Foot of the Hawk, is the Case of many an Innocent Creature in the Hands of Justice, when the very Equity of the Law Bends under the Weight of an Over-ruling Rigour. The Belly has no Ears, and so there's no Charming of it. Arguments against Power, are but Wind, when Reason draws One way, and Appetite Another. There's no Moving of any Creature contrary to the Nature of it. Hang 'em All up (says a Pleasant Droll, upon Venners Rising) they are not Worth the Begging. 'Tis a piece of State-Policy sometimes, to let the Poor and the Friendless go to Pot; Nay, and to reckon the Execution of them among the Triumphs of Justice too. There is This further in't besides; that the Uttermost Severity upon Those that have not where-withal to Bid for their Lives, raises the Price of the Market upon Those that Have; and Enhances the Value of the Deliverance, or, in Plain English, of the Pardon. The Poor Nightingale had Nothing to give that the Hawk car'd for, and so she Dy'd, in truth, because she was not worth nhe Begging.

 


 

FAB. CCCXLIV. A Lyon and a Hog.

A Lyon that found it Extreme Irksome to Live Alone, gave the Beasts of the Forest to Understand, that he was Resolv'd to make Choice of Some or Other of his Subjects for a Friend, and Companion. There was a Mighty Busle, who should be the Favourite, and to the VVonder of All the rest, the Lyon Pitch'd upon a Hog; for, says the Lyon, he is True and Faithful to his Friend, and will stand by him in All Times, and Hazzards.

[Page 301]

The MORAL.

A True Friend can ne're fail of being a Loyal Subject: And That's the Man that a Brave Prince will make Choice of for a Particular Favourite.

REFLEXION.

SOLITUDE is against Nature, but Ill Company is Worse then None. So that Life is not Life without the Blessing of a Friendly and an Edifying Conversation. The Difficulty only rests in the Choice; wherein the Lyon here has taken his Right Measures: That is to say, he has made a True Judgment of the Matter: For he only Deserves the Character of a Friend, that's Proof against All Tryals and Temptations, either of Profit, or of Loss.

 


 

FAB. CCCXLV. A Gnat and a Bee.

A Gnat that was Half Starv'd with Cold and Hunger, went out one Frosty Morning to a Bee-Hive, to beg a Charity; and offer'd to Teach Musick in the Bees Family, for her Dyet and Lodging. The Bee very Civilly desir'd to be Excus'd; for, says she, I bring up all my Children to my Own Trade, that they may be able to get their Living Another Day by their Industry.

The MORAL.

Lazy Beggars that Can Work, and Will not, have scarce a Right to a Common Charity: And This Misery befalls them for want of an Industrious Education.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Necessary piece of Providence, in the Institution of our Children, to Train them up to somewhat in their Youth, that may Honestly Maintain them in their Age. If the Bee had taken the Necessities of the Gnat into her Consideration, as she did the Profession, she would have thought her self bound in Tenderness and Good Nature, according to the Moral of the Fable, to have Contributed to her Relief: But the Stress is rather to be laid upon a Preference of an Education of Industry, to That of Pleasure, and to shew, that we are in the First Place to Consult the Necessities of Life, rather then Matters of Ornament and Delight.

[Page 302]

 


 

FAB. CCCXLVI. A Lyon, Ass and Hare.

UPon the Breaking out of a War betwixt the Birds and the Beasts, the Lyon Summon'd All his Subjects from Sixteen to Sixty, to appear in Arms, at such a Certain Time, and Place, upon pain of his High Displeasure; and there were a World of Asses and Hares at the Rendezvouz among the rest. Several of the Commanders were for turning 'em off, and Discharging 'em, as Creatures utterly Unfit for Service. Do not Mistake your self (says the Lyon.) The Asses will do very well for Trumpeters, and the Hares will make Excellent Letter-Carriers.

The MORAL.

God and Nature, made Nothing in Vain. There is No Member of a Political Body so Mean, and Inconsiderable, but it may be Useful to the Publique in some Station or Other.

REFLEXION.

THERE's Nothing so Great as not to stand in Need of many things, in Common Appearance, the most Contemptible: And there is Nothing again so Despicable; but that at some Time, or in some Case or other, it may be of Use and Service to us. 'Tis True, That one Thing is Preferible to another, in some Sort, or in some Respect; but it is True withal, that every Distinct Being has somewhat Peculiar to it self, to make Good in one Circumstance what it Wants in Another. It is the Ignorance of the Nature of Things, that makes us Despise, even the Meanest of Creatures. All Things are Created Good in their several Kinds, as All things severally are Subservient, in some Degree or other, to the Beauty, the Order, and the Well-being of the Whole. That which we find in the Course of Nature, holds likewise in Government, where the Lowest has its Post Allotted it as well as the Highest. All Created Beings, in fine, are the Works of Providence and Nature, that never did any thing in Vain. And the Moral of This Parable of the Lyon, the Ass, and the Hare, runs through the Universe; for there are Hares, Lyons, and Asses, in Kingdoms, and Commonwealths, as well as in Fields and in Forests: And the Drift of This Figure holds good in All the Parts of the Creation.

[Page 303]

 


 

FAB. CCCXLVII. Pigeons Reconcile the Hawks.

THere Happen'd a Bloudy Civil War once among the Hawks, and what did the Poor, Peaceable, Innocent Pigeons, but in Pure Pity, and Good Nature, send their Deputies and Mediators to do the Best they could to make 'em Friends again, so long as This Feud Lasted; they were so Intent upon Killing one another, that they Minded nothing else; but no sooner was the Quarrel taken up among Themselves, then they fell to their Old sport again of Destroying the Pigeons. This brought them to a Sight of their Error, and to Understand the Danger of Uniting a Common Enemy to their Own Ruine.

The MORAL.

Good Men are never Safe but when Wicked Men are at Odds. So that the Divisions of the One are the Security of the Other.

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Hard Matter in This Case to Reconcile Policy, and Good Nature; or to bring a Plain-dealing Innocence into a Consistency with Necessary Prudence; For Singleness of Mind passes in the World for want of Brains, and where Knavery is in Credit, Honesty is sure to be a Drug: But Every Man must stand or fall to his Own Conscience, and so Divide the Mater as neither to Offend Christian Charity, nor Civil Discretion. The Blessing that is Pronounc'd upon the Peace-Makers does not Extend to Those Cases, where the Effect of the Peace shall be the Ruine of the Reconcilers. 'Tis Dangerous Parting a Fray, whether it be Jest or Earnest; for there are Sham Quarrels as well as Bloody Ones: In the One, a Man runs the risque of his Hat, or his Cloak; In the Other, of his Life. We have liv'd to see This Fable remarkably Moraliz'd among our selves upon the like Occasion; for still as the Common-Enemy were at Variance, we had a sort of Peace-making Pigeons that would needs be Reconciling them, though the Only Security they had under the Sun was Their Divisions.

[Page 304]

 


 

FAB. CCCXLVIII. A Woman that brought Fire into the House.

THE Question was put to an Honest Man Newly Marry'd, What might be the Meaning of his New Brides bringing a Torch out of her Fathers House into her Husbands. Why This, says he; I have Eas'd my Father-in-Law of a Firebrand to set my Own House in a Flame.

The MORAL.

A Contentious Woman puts all into a Flame, wherever she comes.

REFLEXION.

THIS Torch may be an Allusion either to Strife, and Contention, or to the Profusion and Consumption of the Husbands Estate. 'Tis to be hop'd that there are Shrews, and Wasteful Women enow in the World, to Answer This Moral Both Ways.

 


 

FAB. CCCXLIX. A Corrupt Officer.

A Certain Governor of a Province that had a long time Pill'd, and Oppressed the People under his Charge was call'd to Account in the Conclusion for the Receiving of Bribes; and sentenc'd to Refund what he had Wrongfully Taken. He came as Unwillingly to the Point, as a Bear to the Stake, which gave Occasion to somebodies saying, that it was with This Man and his Money, as it is with Women, and their Children. He was well enough pleas'd in the Getting of it; but it went to the very Heart of him when he Parted with it.

The MORAL.

Great Officers are but like Spunges; they Suck till they are Full, and when they come once to be Squez'd, the very Hearts Blood of them comes away with their Money.

[Page 305]

REFLEXION.

IF Men could but Separate the Profit, and the Pleasure of their Sins, from the Sin it self, and keep the Former, when they Renounce the Other, what a Number of Penitents should we have in This Wicked World! But the Doctrine of Satisfaction and Restitution lies so Cursedly hard upon the Gizzards of our Publicans, that the Blood in their Veins is not Half so Dear to 'em as the Treasure they have in their Coffers. The Man and the Money are in This Case as good as Incorporated, and Fining him is little less then Flaying him: But Justice however finds him Out; And This, in Few Words is the Sum of the Moral. Avarice is as hard to Part with any thing, as it was Eager to Get it. When a Man is once in Possession of an Ill Gotten Estate De Facto, he never Trouble his Head with the De Iure of the Question; but looks upon the Propriety of what he has Gotten by Rapine, to be Transferr'd to him by Providence: The Money in short had Chang'd the Master, and he'd rather part with an Eye out of his Head, then with a Penny out of his Coffers.

 


 

FAB. CCCL. An Old Man that was willing to put off Death.

THere goes a Story that Death call'd upon an Old Man, and bad him come along with him. The Man Excus'd himself, that T'other World was a Great Journy to take upon so short a Warning, and begg'd a Little time only to make his Will before he Dy'd. Why (says Death) You have had Warning enough One would think, to have made Ready before This. In truth, says the Old Man, This is the First Time that ever I saw ye in my whole Life. That's False, says Death; for you have had Daily Examples of Mortality before Your Eyes, in People of All Sorts, Ages, and Degrees; And is not the Frequent Spectacle of Other Peoples Deaths, a Memento sufficient to make You think of Your Own? Your Dim and Hollow Eyes methinks, the Loss of your Hearing, and the Faltering of the rest of your Senses, should Mind ye, without more ado, that Death has laid hold of ye already: And is This a time of day d'ye think to stand Shuffling it off still? Your Peremptory Hour, I tell ye, is now come, and there's No Thought of a Reprieve in the Case of Fate.

[Page 306]

The MORAL.

Want of Warning is No Excuse in the Case of Death: For Every Moment of our Lives, either Is, or Ought to be a Time of Preparation for't.

REFLEXION.

'TIS the Great Bus'ness of Life to fit our selves for our End; and no Man can Live Well that has not Death always in his Eye.

'Tis a Strange Mixture of Madness and Folly in One Solecism, for People to Say or Imagine that ever any Man was Taken out of This World without time to Prepare himself for Death: But the Delay of Fitting our selves is our Own Fault, and we turn the very Sin into an Excuse: Every Breath we draw is not only a Step towards Death, but a Part of it. It was Born with us, It goes along with us: It is the Only Constant Companion that we have in This World, and yet we never think of it any more then if we knew Nothing on't. The Text is True to the very Letter, that we Die Daily, and yet we Feel it not. Every thing under the Sun reads a Lecture of Mortality to us. Our Neighbours, our Friends, our Relations, that fall Every where round about us, Admonish us of our Last Hour; and yet here's an Old Man on the Wrong-side of Fourscore perhaps, Complaining that he is surpriz'd.

 


 

FAB. CCCLI. A Miser and his Bags.

A Covetous Rich Churle finding himself at the Point of Death, caus'd his Coffers to be brought up, and his Bags laid before him. You and I, says he, must Part, and I would willingly Beqùeath ye to Those that will take most Delight in ye. Why then say the Bags, you must devide us betwixt your Heirs, and the Devils. Your Heirs will have Drink and Whores for your Money, and the Devils will be as well pleas'd on the Other hand, that they are to have your Soul for't.

The MORAL.

The Money of a Miser is the Last Friend he takes his leave of in This World.

[Page 319]

REFLEXION.

'TIS a Great deal of Pains that some People take to give Others Satisfaction, and to Torment Themselves. But This Verifies the Old Proverb, Happy is the Son, whose Father goes to the Devil; for Ill Gotten Goods and Estates are commonly Squander'd away with as Little Conscience as they were Rak'd together. There goes a Canker along with them, when over and above the Iniquity of the Extortion and Oppression, the Bloud of so many Widows and Orphans cries to Heaven for Vengeance. Now a Less Generous Chuff then This in the Fable, would have Hugg'd his Bags to the Last, and have Envy'd That Satisfaction to his Heirs, which he Himself could Enjoy no longer. But it was his Care to Transmit to his Posterity a Curse with his Money, and to Bequeath them the Sin in the Inordinate Love of Riches, together with his Treasure.

[Page [unnumbered]] [Page 321]

THE FABLES OF POGGIUS.

 


 

FAB. CCCLII. Industry and Sloth.

ONe was asking a Lazy Young Fellow what made him lye in Bed so long? Why (says he,) I am hearing of Causes every Morning; that is to say, I have Two Lasses at my Bed-side so soon as ever I wake. Their Names are Industry and Sloth; One bids me get up; 'tother bids me lye still; and so they give me Twenty Reasons why I should Rise, and why I should not. 'Tis the part in the mean time of a Just Judge to hear what can be said on Both sides; and before the Cause is over, 'tis time to go to dinner.

The MORAL.

We spend our Days in Deliberating what to do, and we end them without coming to any Resolution.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable does naturally enough set forth an Expostulation betwixt Reason and Appetite, and the Danger of running out our Lives in Dilatory Deliberations, when we should rather be Up and Doing. In all these Cases, 'tis odds that the Paradox carries it against the true Reason of the Thing; for we are as Partial to our Corruptions, as if our Understanding were of Councel for our Frailties, and manage Disputes of this kind, as if we had a Mind to be overcome. The Sluggard's Case in this Fable is the Case of Mankind in all the Duties of a Virtuous and a Well-Govern'd Life, where Judgment and Conscience calls us one Way, and our Lusts hurry us another. We spend All our Days upon Frivolus Preliminaries, without ever coming to a Resolution upon the Main Points of our Business. We will, and we will not, and then we will not again, [Page 322] we will. At this rate we run our Lives out in Adjournments from Time to Time, out of a Fantastical Levity that holds us off and on, betwixt Hawk and Buzzard, as we say, to keep us from bringing the Matter in question to a Final Issue. And yet we know well enough what we ought to do, and what not, if we would but take the Light of Reasonable Nature for our Guide, and hearken to the Councellor that every Man carries in his own Breast. But Men in the General, are either too Lazy to Search out the Truth, or too Partial, in favour of a Sensual Appetite, to take notice of it when they have found it. They had rather be Tasting the Ease and the Pleasures of Life, than Reforming the Errors and the Vices of it. Does not the Voluptuary understand in all the Liberties of a Loose and a Lewd Conversation, that he runs the risque both of Body and Soul on the one Hand, and Opposes all the Blessings that Attend the Duties of Virtue and Sobriety on the other? Does not the Ambitious, the Envious, and the Revengeful Man know very well, that the Thirst of Blood, and the Affectation of Dominion by Violence and Oppression, is a most Diabolical Outrage upon the Laws of God and Nature, and upon the common Well-being of Mankind? But these People are Hearing Causes too, with our Slug-a bed in the Apologue; that is to say, Deliberating betwixt Passion and Conscience, till in the End, they are called away, whether to Dinner or to Death, it makes no Matter, for the Moral is still the same.

 


 

FAB. CCCLIII. A Cock and a Fox.

A Fox spy'd a Cock at Roost with his Hens about him. Why how now my Friend, says Reynard, What make you upon a Tree there? Your Business lyes upon the Terra Firma, and a Cock in the Air is out of his Element Methinks. But you don't hear the News perhaps, and it is certainly true: there's a general Peace concluded among all Living Creatures, and not One of them to presume upon pain of Life and Limb, Directly or Indirectly, to Hurt another. The Blessedest Tidings in the World says the Cock; and at the same time he stretches out his Neck, as if he were looking at somewhat a Great way off. What are you Peering at? says the Fox. Nothing says 'tother, but a Couple of Great Dogs yonder that are coming this Way, Open-Mouth, as hard as they can drive. Why then says Reynard, I fancy I'd e'en best be Jogging. No, No, says the Cock, the General Peace will Secure you: Ay quoth the Fox so it will; but if these Roguy Currs should not have heard of the Proclamation, my Coat may come to be Pink'd yet for all that. And so away he Scamper'd.

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The MORAL.

In all the Liberties of Sharping and Tricking One upon Another, there must still a Regard be had to the Puntillos of Honour and Iustice.

REFLEXION.

THIS is to tell us, that in some Cases one Nail must be Driven out with another; and the Deceiving of the Deceiver doubles the Pleasure. 'Tis a Hard Matter to make a False Man and a False Tale consist with themselves, and when they come to Interfere, the Reason and the Argument of the Case returns upon the Head of the Impostor: So that it requires Great Care and Skill for a Man that has a Dark and a Double Design upon Another, to keep Clear of Clashing with his own Reasonings. Wherefore Parasites and Lyers had need of Good Memories. A General Peace would have Secured the Fox as well as the Cock: But if the Fox would not stand the Dogs, the Cock had no Reason to Venture himself with the Fox. All People that are Perfidious, either in their Conversation, or in their Kind, are Naturally to be Suspected in Reports that favour their Own Interest; and when they can make nothing else on't, they find it the Best of their Play to put it off with a Jest.

'Tis a common Thing for Captious People, and Double-Dealers, to be taken in their Own Snares; as for the Purpose in the Matter of Power, Policy, the Fundamentals, and the Maxims of Government, &c. How many are there that Limit Sovereignty in One Case to strain it in Another, and so Handle the same Question Pro and Con, at the same Time? Government is to be Bounded when it may serve One Turn, and Absolute when it may serve Another. Insomuch that for want of Presence of Thought, Men affirm what they Deny, and Deny what they Affirm, and run Counter to Themselves. If Sovereign Power cannot Dispense, 'tis Ty'd up they cry; and if it may be Ty'd up, 'tis no longer Sovereign Power; for that which Tyes it up, is Above it. At this Rate, One Doctrin Interferes with Another, and the very Foundations of Reason and Government sink at last into a Paradox. When the Fox brings Tydings of a peace, and Preaches upon the Subject to the Poultry, Beware the Geese. Your Foxes Acts of Amnesty are no Other than the Old Stale Politicks I know not how many Years ago. They Pardon all in General; in the Beginning; those that ought to be Hanged, in the Middle; and not one Honest Man in the Conclusion. So that 'tis Ten to One the Cock was Excepted in the Proclamation; and that though the Dogs were not allowed so much as to lick their Lips at a Fox upon their Uttermost Peril, Reynard had gotten a Proviso for Himself yet to carry on his Old Trade among the Lambs and the Poultry still. This is the Method of all Popular Shams, when the Multitude are to be led by the Noses into a Fool's Paradise. The State-Foxes tell 'em what Golden-Days are now a coming, When Every Man shall sit under his own Vine, and Eat the Fruit of his own Fig-Tree: How Trade and Religion shall Flourish and the People in short keep Holy-day all the Year long. These are Fine Words, but the Foxes Business upon the Upshot, is only the Cramming his own Gut, without any respect to the Publick.

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FAB. CCCLIV. A Taylor and his Wife.

THere happen'd a Grievous Quarrel once betwixt a Taylor and his Wife. The Woman in Contempt of his Trade, called her Husband Pricklouse; he gave her a Box o'the Ear for't, which serv'd only to make her more Outragious. When this would do no good, he set her up to the Chin in a Horse-Pond; but so long as her Tongue was at Liberty, there was not a Word to be got from her but the same Nick-Name in Derision over and over again. Well (says he to himself,) there's no way I perceive to Quiet this Woman but by stopping of her Mouth, and so he had her Duck'd next bout over Head and Ears. When she was under Water, and could call him Pricklouse no longer with her Lips, she held up her Hands over her Head, and did it with her Thumbs by the Knicking of her Nails; and when he saw that once; he was e'en glad to give her over.

The MORAL.

The last Two Things that dye in an Impetuous Woman, are her Tongue and her Stomach, when she cannot have her Will.

RELEXION.

'TIS the Fortune of many an Honest Harmless Man, to have this Fable Moralliz'd to him under his own Roof; but the Better any thing is in it's Perfection, the Worse is the Corruption of it; as there is nothing more Foetid than a Rotten Egg. 'Tis the same thing betwixt a Temperate and an Impetuous Woman. Tempests and Sea-Breaches are nothing to her. There's no Place for Reasoning with her, neither is there any thought of Curing her Will, by Applying to her Body. But now for the Honour, and (in some sort) the Comfort of that Fair Sex, they do not suffer alone under the Scandal of this Figure; for Men have their Violent Passions and Transports as well as Women, and Passions much more Dangerous too than the other. The Taylor's Wife was only a Good Hearty Shrew, under the Impotency of an Unruly Waspish Humour; She would have her Will, ay marry would she, and that was all the Harm in't. But 'tis another manner of Business when Men come once to be Transported out of the Government of Themselves, and beyond the Use of their Reason. Their Violences are Mortal and Outrageous, even to the Ruin of Kingdoms, Common-Wealths, Families, Persons, &c. and like a Torrent, they bear down all before them, Friends, Relations, the common Principles of Religion and Nature, or whatever else stands in their Way. Nay, they make it a point of Honour to be Firm to their Wickedness, [Page 325] and with the Old Covenant in their Mouths to Live and Dye Impenitent. They'll do all the Mischief in fine that they can, and when they can do no more, they'll be Troubled at it, and call Prick-louse with their Thumbs still, when they can do't no longer with their Tongues.

 


 

FAB. CCCLV. A Woman Drown'd.

AN Unfortunate Woman happen'd to be Drown'd, and her Poor Husband was mightily in Pain to find out the Body; so away he goes along the Bank up the Course of the River, asking all he met still, if they could tell him any▪ Tydings of the Body of his Dear Wife, that was overturn'd in a Boat at such a Place Below. Why, if you'd find your Wife, they cry'd, You must look for her down the Stream. No, No, says the Man, my Wives Will carried her against Wind and Tide all the Days of her Life; and now she's Dead, which way soever the Current runs, she'll be sure to be against it.

The MORAL.

The Spirit of Contradiction in a Cross Grain'd Woman is Incurable.

REFLEXION.

THIS falls hard upon the desperate Obstinacy of some Women; and the Freak of the Conceit does not yet derogate from the usefulness of the Fable. The Analogy is Pleasant and Pertinent enough, betwixt a Living Crossness of Humour, and Opposition to the ordinary Course and Reason of Things, and the Fancy of a Dead Body swimming against the Stream. And the License of Couching the Matter under that Figure, and of Wording it after that Manner, carries no Offence with it, either to Congruity, or Good Manners. Beside, that the very Turn and Point of the Illustration set's a Mark upon't to be Remember'd by: So that the Moral sticks by us, and takes a Deeper Root, when we can call it to Mind afterward by such or such a Token.

There are some People that Value themselves upon being a kind of Antipodes to all Mankind, and in making other Mens Rules their Exceptions: Opposition and Contradiction is their Study and Delight. Now there's as much Pride and Vanity in setting up for the Ring-leader of a Perverse Practice, as in the Affectation of being the First Broacher of an Heretical Opinion. Hence it comes that Half the Wit of the World is Exervised upon Paradox; and that which we call Good Humour, is in Truth a sort of Slight of Hand in Discourse, or a Faculty of making Truths look like Appearances, or Appearances like Truths. Now this Gift of Hocus Pocusing, and of Disguising Matters, is so Surprising and [Page 326] Agreeable on the one hand, that it must of Necessity be a very strong Temptation to the Quitting of the Beaten Road on the other. Mankind was all cast in the same Mould, made liable to the same Affections, Enlightened with the same Principles, and we have all of us the same Rule to Walk by; the same Duties incumbent upon us in this World, and the same Pretensions to our Part in the next; insomuch that whoever affects a Fantastical Singularity of Crossness to all his Fellows, he puts himself in some degree out of the Pale of a common Providence and Protection: Beside, that the Evil is as incurable in the Man to whom it is become Habitual, as it was with the Woman here in the Fable.

 


 

FAB. CCCLVI. A Bishop and a Curate.

A Certain Country Curate had a Dog that he had a Mighty Kindness for; the Poor Cur Sickens and Dyes, and his Master in Honour of his Memory gave him Christian Burial. This came to the Bishop's Ear, who presently sent for the Curate, Rattled him to some Tune, with Menaces to the Highest Degree for bringing such a Scandal upon the Function. My Lord, (says the Curate,) If your Lordship had but known the Understanding of this Dog, both Living and Dying, (and especially how Charitable an End he made,) You would not have Grudged him a Place in the Church-Yard among the rest of his Fellow-Parishoners. How so, says the Bishop? Why my Lord, says the Curate, when he found he was Drawing Home, he sent for a Notarius, and made his Testament. There's my Poor Lord Bishop in Want, says he, and it is my Will to leave him a Hundred Crowns for a Legacy. He charg'd me to see it perform'd, and I have it here in a Purse for your Lordship ready Counted. The Bishop upon the Receipt of the Mony, gave the Priest Absolution, and found it a very Good Will, and a very Canonical Burial.

The MORAL.

Mony Corrupts both Church and State.

REFLEXION.

THERE may be Ill Men in Holy Orders, and the Lewdness of the Person does not at all derogate from the Sacredness of the Function. Avarice on the one hand, is an Encouragement as well as a Protection [Page 327] to Licentiousness on the other, when People know before-hand, that Mony will Compound all Differences. Nay, and Mony is a Protestant Reconciler too as well as a Popish, when Passion and Corruption come once to be Authorized under the Venerable Cover of a Sacred Character; only the Bishop Absolves Himself in the one Case, as he does the Curate in the other. So that Mony upon the Main, serves for the Touchstone of Common Honesty, Faith, Law and Religion: The Devil holds the Scale, and Profit or Loss is made the Standard of Gospel or Heresy. It Pleads all Causes, Defends all Titles, and turns Christianity it self into a Moot Point. It sets Texts together by the Ears, as well as Divines, and makes the Voice of God to be of more Authority in the Mouths of the Multitude, than in the Oracles of Holy Writ. 'Tis the Idol that Men of all Ranks and Professions Bow to; States-men, Sword-men, Lawyers, Ecclesiasticks, &c. there's hardly any thing in Nature that has the Heart to withstand it; bating here and there some singular Exception perhaps from a General Rule. What are Courts more than Common Markets, where Men are Bought and Sold in the one, as Beasts are in the other? The Captain Fights for his Pay; the Lawyer Pleads for his Fee, no Matter for the Conscience of the Cause; the one's a Soldier of Fortune he tells ye, the other is a Lawyer of Fortune; and for the Business of Right or Wrong, 'tis not one Scruple of the Question. 'Tis Mony in fine, that like the Devil, makes Men Sail with all Winds, and sets all Wheels a going. Nay the very Altar it self scapes not the Almighty Power of so Irresistible a Temptation; for we are taught in this Fable, that an Episcopal Habit is not one jot better Proof against Corruption, than a Colonels Buff-Coat. 'Tis not a Sanctimonious Pretence, under a Pomp of Form and Title, without the Grace of an Inward Affection and Integrity that will serve the Turn: The Articles of the Christian Faith, and the Doctrin of our Blessed Lord and his Apostles, are to Day, and to Morrow and the same for ever; not to be Moulded and Accommodated to every turn of State, but to be held and kept Inviolate as a standing Rule to all Ages. There are no such Worshippers of the Devil, as the Buyers and Sellers of Souls; there's nothing they'll stick at, but Shuffle, Cant, Juggle, Swear back and forward like so many Spiritual Knights of the Post; serve all Times, and all God's, even though Paganism it self should turn up Trump; for this sort of Prostitutes steer all their Actions by the Compass of Viderit Utilitas, and for the Dogs Legacy Absolve the Devil himself, and with this Beastly Avaricious Bishop, Pronounce the Blackest Soul in Hell to be as White as Snow.

 


 

FAB. CCCLVII. A Husband, Wife, and Ghostly Father.

A Man of Quality had gotten a Peevish Contentious Woman to his Wife, that was observed to go every Day to Confession, and her Business was not so much to Discharge her [Page 328] Conscience of her own Sins, as to tell Tales of her Husband. The Holy Father would be ever and anon Chiding and Admonishing the Cavalier, telling him, that if he would but come to Confession, he doubted not but to make Him and his Wife Friends again. The Gentleman said, Yes, he would, and he went accordingly. The Good Man then bad the Penitent be sure to Examine himself thoroughly, and leave nothing out: Alas, Father, says he, for that Matter there will be no need on't; for you have had all my Sins in Confession from my Wife already, and a Thousand times more perhaps than ever I Committed.

The MORAL.

Calumny is half the Business of a Bigot: Bitterness passes for Zeal, and our very Devotions are in Effect but Libels against our Superiors.

REFLEXION.

THERE'S no such Cloak as Religion for all manner of Wickedness, and the Man is a stark Fool that cannot Impose upon his Neighbour, when he has once got the Mastery of his own Conscience: There's no Evidence of our Thoughts, but our Works; and if an Hypocrite can but Conceal himself from the Eyes of his Companions, he never troubles his Head to Consider how Open he lyes to the Searcher of his Heart. What was the Penitent's Confession here, but a Cover for her Calumny? And her Husband's way after that of giving the Holy Father to Understand the Truth of the Matter, was a Turn Pleasant enough.

'Tis a Field of a Huge Latitude that the Devil has to Dance, and to Play his Gambols in, when he sets himself to Preach upon the Text of Religion and Conscience. In the Troubles of King Charles the First, what with Humiliations and Thanksgivings, Seditious Lectures, and Pulpit-Invectives, the People had hardly any other Business at Church than to tell God Almighty Tales of their Sovereign: So that this Unhappy Prince might have Answered his Confessarius upon the shrift of an Auricular Confession, as our Husband Answered his here in the Fable, That Others had done it for him, and told more then All beforehand. This was the Method of their Proceedings toward him through the whole Course of his Distresses, from the First Odious Remonstance, to the Last Execrable Stroke upon the Scaffold. They began with Blasting him in his Reputation; they took up Arms against him, Hunted and Pursued him; Seized his Revenues and his Person, Depos'd him from his Royal Dignity, Usurp'd the Government to Themselves, and under the Colour of a Formality of Law, put him upon a Judicial Tryal, and took away his Life. And not One Step did they set all this while in the whole Tract of this Iniquity, without Seeking the Lord first, and going up to Enquire of the Lord, according to the Cant of those Days. Which was no other than to make God the Author of Sin, and to Impute the Blackest Practices of Hell to the Inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

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FAB. CCCLVIII. An Old Man and an▪ Ass.

AN Old Man and a Little Boy were driving an Ass before them to the Next Market to Sell. Why have you no more Wit, (says one to the Man upon the Way,) than You and your Son to Trudge it afoot, and let the Ass go Light? So the Man set the Boy upon the Ass, and Footed it Himself. Why Sirrah, says Another after this, to the Boy, Ye Lazy Rogue you, must you Ride, and let your Antient Father go afoot? The Man upon this, took down his Boy, and got up Himself. D'ye see (says a Third) how the Lazy Old Knave Rides Himself, and the Poor Little Child has much ado to Creep after him! The Father, upon this, took up his Son Behind him. The next they met, ask'd the Old Man whether his Ass were his Own or no? He said Yes. Troth, there's little sign on't says t'other, by your Loading him thus. Well says the Fellow to Himself, and what am I to do now? for I am Laugh'd at, if either the Ass be Empty, or if One of us Rides, or Both; and so in the Conclusion he Bound the Asses Legs together with a Cord, and they try'd to carry him to Market with a Pole upon their Shoulders betwixt them. This was Sport to every Body that saw it, insomuch that the Old Fellow in great Wrath threw down the Ass into a River, and so went his way Home again. The Good Man, in fine, was willing to Please Every body, but had the Ill Fortune to Please No body, and lost his Ass into the Bargain.

The MORAL.

He that resolves not to go to Bed till all the World is Pleas'd, shall be troubled with the Head Ach.

REFLEXION.

So many Men, so many Minds; and this Diversity of Thought must necessarily be attended with Folly, Vanity, and Error: For Truth is one and the same for Ever, and the Sentence of Reason stands as Firm as the Foundations of the Earth. So that no Man can be either Happy or Secure that governs himself by the Humour and Opinion of the Common People. 'Tis a Thing utterly impossible to Please All, and none but a Mad Man will endeavour to Please those that are Divided among themselves, and can never Please one another. A Wise, and an Honest Man lives [Page 330] by Rule, and Consults the Conscience of his Actions, without any Regard to Popular Applause. Did ever any Mortal yet in his Right Wits, Advise with the Mobile about the Government of his Life and Manners? (Or which is all one, with the Common and Professed Enemies of Reason and Virtue,) Did ever any Creature make a Friend or Confident of them? Why should we be sollicitous then to be thought well of by those that no Prudent Good Man ever thought well of? They are all Passion and Fancy, without either Judgment or Moderation: They neither understand what they do, nor why; but act with a kind of Impetus, that knows neither Consideration nor Conduct. So that it is in truth, a Scandal, and an Ill Sign to Please them; but a worse yet, for a Man to Value himself upon the Reputation of a Popular Favour. What are their Affections but Violent Transports that are carried on by Ignorance and Rage? What are their Thoughts of Things, but variety of Incorrigible Error? And what are they themselves in their own Nature, but a Herd rather than a Society? Their Humour is very Happily set forth in this Fable; and so is the Vanity of the Old Man's endeavouring to keep Fair with them; for they are still unsatisfied with the Present State of Things, and consequently never to be Pleased. Now if a Man had nothing else to do but to Fool away his Days in the Pursuit of Phantomes and Shadows, and then at last lye down in the Dust like a Brute, without any Fear or Danger of an after-Reckoning, the Care were taken; but for a Reasonable Soul to Post-pone the most Necessary Offices and Duties of Life, and to Hazzard the very loss even of Heaven it self, in favour of a Depraved Appetite? What has he to Answer for, that shall be found Guilty of so Impious a Madness? The very Dog's not worth the Hanging, that runs out at Check, and lets every Cackling Crow or Daw Divert him from his Game and Business. To Conclude; a due Consideration of the Vanities of the World, will Naturally bring us to the Contempt of it; and that Contempt of the World will as certainly bring us Home to our Selves. This was the Case of the Poor Man here, when he had Try'd this, and that, and t'other Experiment, he threw all his Care and Follies together with his Ass into the River: And then he was at Rest.

 


 

FAB. CCCLIX. A Man Dreamt he found Gold.

A Man fancied in his Sleep once, that he was carried by the Devil into a Field to Dig for Gold, where he found a Great Treasure; so the Devil advised him not to take it away with him at present, but rather to leave some particular Mark upon the Place, that he might find it another time. What Mark? says the Dreamer. E'en down with your Breeches quoth the Devil, and lay your Tail there; my Life for yours, do but keep your own Councel, and no Body will look for Gold in [Page 331] that Place. The Fellow did as he was bid, and when he Wak'd, he found that his Dream was out.

The MORAL.

He that Consents to deal with the Devil for Mony in his Sleep, 'tis to be fear'd he would do it Waking too, if it lay fair for his Hand.

REFLEXION.

IT is a School-Question how far a Man is Answerable in many Cases for his Dreams: Now here was Deliberation, Discourse, and Consent; So that both the Understanding and the Will had their Parts in the Story: Where Avarice was at One End on't, 'twas no wonder that the Devil should be at the Other. But Men go to the Devil for Mony Waking as well as Sleeping: Nay and Men of all Sorts and Qualities too, from the Prince to the Beggar. Churchmen, Statesmen, Tradesmen, Lawyers, and who not? And if all that go to Hell upon that Errand, should beshit the Sheets, there would be a World of Work for the Wash-Women.

 


 

FAB. CCCLX. A Country Fellow and a Hog.

IN a Certain Country, where it was the Custom for any Man that Kill'd a Hog, to Invite the Neighbourhood to Supper with him; a Curmudgeonly Fellow that had a Hog to Kill, advised with One of his Companions how he might save the Charge of that Supper. Why (says he) do but give it out to Morrow Morning, that the Hog was Stollen the Night before; set a Good Face on't, and your Work is done. Away goes this Man Open-Mouth, next Morning, Bawling it about, that his Hog was Stollen. Right, Right, says his Camarade, Roar it out as I bad you. Ay, but says the Hog-Merchant, with Damned Oaths and Imprecations, My Hog is Stoll'n in Good Earnest. Upon my Life, says t'other, thou dost it Rarely. So the one Swore on, and the other Fool'd on, till in the Conclusion the Churle found he was Banter'd out of his Hog; for the Hog was Stollen indeed.

The MORAL.

Penny Wise, and Pound Foolish.

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REFLEXION.

'TIS a Point of Decency and Discretion for a Man to Comply with the Common Customs of the Place, where he Lives, over and above the Rules of Good Neighbourhood and Society. So that the Old Hunks here was well enough serv'd to be Trick'd out of a Whole Hog for the Saving of his Puddings: And it was so much the Better too, that he was of the Plot to the Fooling of Himself, and had his own Jest turned upon him in Earnest: For he was caught in his own Snare, and met withal as we say, in his own Kind. And we may make this further Use on't, That an Ill Natur'd Thrift, is next Door to Squandring: He was Cheated, and he was Laugh'd at, and he Deserv'd both; for he made himself a Party to the Picking of his own Pocket, and the very Sham that he designed upon his Neighbours was turned upon Himself. The Frolick was Pleasant and Pertinent enough, but the Conscience of the Case is another Question; though there's this to be said for't, that it was but one Fraud paid with another, and that he Himself went half way in't by his own Consent. 'Twas with the Man and the Hog, as with the Boy and the Wolf; he would be Crying a Wolf, a Wolf, when there was none, and then could not be Believed when there was.

 


 

FAB. CCCLXI. A Florentine and a Horse-Courser.

A Florentine bought a Horse for so many Crowns; upon condition to pay one Half down upon the Nail, and be a Debtor for the rest. The Horse-Courser comes to the Florentine next Morning for the Remainder of the Mony. Soft, says the Florentine, A Bargain's a Bargain: My Contract was to be your Debtor for the Rest, and if I Pay it, I'm no longer your Debtor.

The MORAL.

Conceits and Witticisms pay no Scores.

REFLEXION.

THIS Fable is only a Silly Tale told for the Tale's sake, without any further Mystery or Meaning that I can perceive in't. If the Florentine had been Drubb'd, or laid by the Heels for the Fallacy, or but Laugh'd at for the Conceit, it would have serv'd for a Caution to People how they Trifle, and play the Tonies betwixt Jest and Earnest, in Matters of Common Honesty, Good Faith and Business. Or it would have born a Moral, to Discountenance the Levity of Punning and Iingling; and the Childish Humour of Fooling with Mental Reservations and Double [Page 333] Meanings. But as it is, I can find nothing more in't than a Frothy, Empty Story. It may serve however as a Buoy to keep People at a Distance, and give Notice of a Shelf or a Flat. For the Silliness of taking Delight in this Vulgar way of Sophism, is to me as arrant an Indication of an Innocent, as a Bib and a Bauble. So that the Doctrin of a Thing done here, teaches us what we are not to do; that is to say, we are neither to Meditate Fraudulent Contracts, nor to take Childish Collusions in Conversation for Current Payment.

 


 

FAB. CCCLXII. A Christian and a Pagan.

A Christian and a Pagan, that had been Old Acquaintances and Fellow-Travellers, had several Discourses upon the way together about Religion; and coming into Italy, the Christian advised the Infidel for his better Satisfaction, only to go to Mass once, and then tell him what he thought on't. The Pagan accordingly went to Church, and being afterward ask'd his Opinion of the Ceremonies and Solemnity of the Office, his Answer was, That he saw but one Thing there that he Dislik'd; which was, that it look'd a little Uncharitable for one Man to Eat and Drink by Himself, and all the rest to look on.

The MORAL.

'Tis much with Opinions as it is with Tasts, we can no more Command our Iudgments than our Palates.

REFLEXION.

THE Poyson of this Fable in the Liberty of Jesting with Holy Matters, would need an Antidote to go along with it, if it were not that it is a Pagan's Conceit, and consequently suitable enough to the Character and Humour of an Infidel, to have the Offices of Christianity in Derision. If we take it by that Handle, it may serve for a Reproof to those among our selves, (as we have but too many of them,) that take the same Freedom of Scoffing at Religion, and Religious Rites and Ceremonies. These People pass in the World under the Name of Christians, but in their Hearts and Manners they are little better than Pagans: The Frolick of a Merry Word goes further with them, than the Conscience of their Profession, and if they can but Elude the Dint of a Pinching Conviction by some Trivial Jest, the Conceit they think Attones for the Wickedness.

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FAB. CCCLXIII. An Ass taught Grammar.

THere was a Bold Undertaking Pedant, Wager'd his Neck against a certain Sum of Mony, that in Ten Years time he would Teach an Ass to Write, Read, and Chop Logick. His Friends called him a Thousand Mad-men for casting away his Life upon so Absolute an Impossibility. Pray Gentlemen (says the Undertaker,) have but a little Patience; for 'tis odds, that before the Term's out, either the Prince Dyes, (that's a a Party to the Contract,) or the Ass Dyes, or the Adventurer Dyes, and then the Danger's over.

The MORAL.

Collusion without Malice, is in many Cases, not only Laudable but Necessary.

REFLEXION.

THERE are some Cases wherein a Man may Justify some sort of Shuffling and Evading, without any Offence to Honour or Good Faith; as in a case for the Purpose, where the gaining of Time, may be as much as a Man's Life or Estate is worth. Some Men are but one Remove from some Asses, and the difficulty of Teaching the one, is next door to the impossibility of Teaching the other. The very Proposition is a Whimsy Pleasant enough, to shew the Vanity of attempting to make a Philosopher of a Blockhead: Neither is it of a Quality to be understood according to the Letter. So that in such a case, if a Man can but save himself by a Shift, or a Figure, 'tis all that can be desired; and the Conditions naturally implied, fall within the fair Equity of the Question. There are certain Bounds and Terms of Raillery that may very well stand with the Rules of Honesty and Good Manners; that is to say, Where the Liberty carries neither Malice, Sauciness, nor Ill Nature along with it: And the discreet manage of such a sort of Freedom, betwixt Jest and Earnest, Seasons the Entertainment of an Agreeable Conversation. We should say to our selves in all our Distresses upon the apprehension of Temporal Difficulties to come, as this Pedant in the Fable did to his Relations and Companions; Let it be Bondage, Loss of Friends, Beggery, Banishment, nay Death it self, [This or that may Intervene.] It is an Unaccountable weakness for a Man to put himself upon the Torture at present, for fear somebody else should Torment him Seven Years hence. Is it not enough for us to be Miserable when the time comes, unless we make our selves so Beforehand, and by Anticipation? When we have gone as far as Conscience, Honour, Industry, and Human Prudence can carry us, toward the preventing, or the averting of the Danger that threatens us, we are to remit the rest to Providence, and wait the good Pleasure [Page 335] of Heaven with Patience, Humility and Resignation. This Man was to dye at Seven Years end, unless he could bring to pass a thing Impossible. Now sooner or later, (and which of the Two is uncertain,) we are all of us to dye. Why are we not as Sollicitous now for the Certainty of the Thing, as for the Appointment of the Time, when a Thousand Accidents may interpose to divert the one, and the other is wholly inevitable?

 


 

FAB. CCCLXIV. A Priest and Epiphany.

TO Morrow (says the Curate) is to be Celebrated the Feast of Epiphany: I do not know whether the Saint be a Man or a Woman; but the Day however is to be observed with Great Solemnity.

The MORAL.

The Silliness of the Person does not at all Derogate from the Dignity of his Character and Commission.

REFLEXION.

THIS is a Dry Fable, and there's nothing to be gotten out of it but by Squeezing. It may pass however with a little Force, for a Reproach upon the Ignorance of many People in their own Trade, provided always that there be no Reflexion upon the Profession it self, which is but too much the Practice of Loose Men, and of Troublesome Times; as if the Commission were to Blame for the Person's sake that Abuses it. There are Men of all sorts, Good and Bad, in all Functions and Societies; and the Order, or the Office, is never the worse for the Failings of an Ill, or a Weak Man that has the Execution of it. It was well turn'd by Mr. Selden upon an Alderman in the Long-Long Parliament, on the Subject of Episcopacy. Mr. Speaker, says the Alderman, there are so many Clamours against such and such of the Prelates, that we shall never be Quiet till we have no more Bishops. Mr. Selden upon this, Informs the House, what Grievous Complaints there were for high Misdemeanors against such and such Aldermen, and therefore, says he, by a Parity of Reason, it is my Humble Motion that we may have no more Aldermen. Here was the Fault transferr'd to the Office, which is a Dangerous Error; for not only Government, but Human Society it self may be dissolved by the same Argument, if the Frailties or Corruptions of Particular Men shall be Reveng'd upon the whole.

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FAB. CCCLXV. A Lavern Reckoning paid with a Song.