Thursday, December 14, 2023

Roger L'Estrange (42)

Here are some more fables from Roger L'Estrange's Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists, and you can click here for all the L'Estrange fables at this blog.

A Lapwing Preferr'd.
Upon a General Invitation to the Eagle's 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.
'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 Good Qualities and Virtues.

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; and 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 whisper'd somewhat in your Ear. What was it, I prithee? Oh (says the Hunts-Man) he bad me have a care for the future, so make sure of the Bear, before I sell his Skin.
Let no Man undertake for more than he is able to make good.

An Oxe and a Heifer.
A Wanton Heifer that had little else to do than 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, mine's as clean as a Penny, and smooth as Silk I warrant ye. 'Tis a lavish Life to be yoak'd thus,and in perpetual Labour. What would you give to be as free and easy now as I am? The Oxe kept these Things in his Thoughts, without one Word in Answer at present; but seeing the Heifer taken up a while after for a Sacrifice: Well Sister, sayshe, and have you not frisked fair now, when the Ease and Liberty you valu'd your self upon, has brought you to this End?
'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, but Fatting up for the Shambles.

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 Hazard, the Sins, and the Troubles that attend People of that Trade: Wherefore, says he, for your Soul's Sake, Sir, pray give it over. Well! Father, says the Soldier, I'll do as you bid me; for really we are so ill paid, and there's so little to be gotten by Pillage, that I fancy I had e'en as good betake myself to a godly Life.
When People can live no longer by their Sins, 'tis high time for them to mend their Manners.

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 Situation. 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 Reproche 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 Judgment upon the Stream for Derogating from the Original and Author of All the Blessings it Enjoy'd.
He that Arrogates any Good to Himself, detracts from the Author of all the Good he Enjoys.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Roger L'Estrange (41)

Here are some more fables from Roger L'Estrange's Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists, and you can click here for all the L'Estrange fables at this blog.

The Mice and the Oak.
The Mice found it so troublesom to be still climbing the Oak for every Bit they put in their Bellies, that they were once to set their Teeth to't, and bring the Acorns down to them; but some wiser than some, and a Grave Experienc'd Mouse, bad them have a care what they did; for it we destroy our Nurse at present, who shall feed us hereafter?
Resolution without Foresight is but a Temerarious Folly: And the Consequences of Things are the first Point to be taken into Consideration.

A Fox and a Worm.
A Worm put forth his Head out of a Dunghill, and made Proclamation of his Skill in Physick. Pray, says the Fox, Begin with your own infirmities before you Meddle with other Peoples.
Physician Cure thy self.
Reflection. 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 Cobbler is not to go beyond his Last. We have of these Dunghill-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.

Vulpes et Vermiculus

A Run-away Dog and his Master.
There was a Bob-tail'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 am beaten by my Master's Order, 'tis my Master himself I reckon, that Beats me.
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 by his own Act.

A Peacock and a Crane.
As a Peacock and a Crane were in Company together, the Peacock spread 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.
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.

The Birds and Beetles.
The Birds were in a terrible Fright once, for fear of Gun-shot 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 the Company, that had more Wit than his Fellows, bad them 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?
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.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Roger L'Estrange (40)

Here are some more fables from Roger L'Estrange's Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists, and you can click here for all the L'Estrange fables at this blog.

A Son Singing at his Mother's Funeral.
There was a good Man that follow'd his Wife's Body to the Grave, weeping, and wailing all the Way he went, while his Son follow'd the Corps singing. Why Sirrah, says the Father, You should howl, 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.
Funeral Tears are as arrantly hir'd out as Mourning Cloaks: and so are the very Offices: And whether we go to our Graves snivelling or singing, 'tis all but according to the Fashion of the Country, and meer Form.

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 better scented Pipe of the Two.
Where Publick Ministers encourage Buffoonery, 'tis no wonder if Buffoons set up for Publick Ministers.

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 Curent, and had there the Vanity to value himself above all the Fish in the Ocean. We'll refer that (says a Sturgeon) to the Judgment of the Market, and see which of the Two yields the better Price.
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.

A Man that would not take a Clyster.
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 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 Man's Head at his Tail.
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 for his Master.

A Husband and Wife Twice Married.
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 they hand is in, e'ev 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 Honour the Dead: For they had but that One Capon betwixt them to Supper.
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 Side.