Monday, November 29, 2010

L'Estrange: An Ape and a Lion in his Kingdom.

We are told of a Lion, that (after the Laudable Example of other Princes) pass'd an Act of Grace upon his Accession to the Crown, wherein he was pleas'd to Declare himself wonderfully in favour of the Liberties and Properties of his Subjects. He did not hold in this Mind long; and yet he could not think it convenient neither, to make any Attempts upon the Beasts by open Force, so that he chose rather to take them One by One in Private to him, and to sift them all upon this General Question; Put your Nose just to my Mouth, says he, when I gape, and then tell me truly, is my Breath Sweet or no? Some told him that it was not Sweet, others that it was; and so he pick'd a Quarrel with them Both: The one Sort went to Pot for their Hypocrisie; and the other for their Insolence. It came to the Ape at last, to deliver his Opinion upon the Matter; the Ape Smelt and Snuffled, and consider'd on't: Why certainly Sir, says he, You have some Rich Perfume in Your Mouth, for I never smelt any thing so fragrant since I was Born. The Roguy Ape in fine, Wheedled him so Artificially, that the Lion had not the Face to Chop him up immediately upon the Spot, and yet he was Resolv'd he should not Scape neither: So the Lion Counterfeited Sick, and there was notably Puzzling among the Doctors I warrant ye, about his Pulse and his Water: But they told him however upon due consideration, that they found no Mortal Symptoms about him, only a kind of Heavy Indisposition, that might be easily Rectified by a Careful Diet; and so they Desir'd him by all means to bethink himself what Flesh he lov'd best, and e'en make a Hearty Meal on't. Why then (says the Lion) I have a strange Fancy for a Mouthful of Good Sound Apes-Flesh, if you find it proper for me: Nothing like it, they cry'd; and so the Poor Flattering Ape was presently Taken up, Dress'd and Eaten by way of Prescription.

There's no Hope for an Honest Man, where Flattery is Encourag'd and Rewarded, and Plain-Dealing Punish'd.

Source: L'Estrange 416.
leonis conversatio fallax

Click here for a SLIDESHOW of all the colored Steinhowel images. I like the way that the lion is attended by a human doctor!
M0021 Perry514

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