Which was the better, words run high.
"What!" says the Fly, "my rustic friend,
To equal me dost thou pretend?
I who my home of temples make,
And of the holocaust partake;
Perch on a crown, or nectar sip
From the chaste virgin's balmy lip;
Who never work, yet all things share,
Dar'st thou thyself with me compare?"
"That it is glorious, I agree,
Companion of the Gods to be,"
Replied the Ant, "but 'tis for those
Invited, not for him who goes
Unask'd. That you frequent, you say,
The fanes?Yes, to be driv'n away.
Favours from kings and belles you vaunt?
You steal, my friend, they do not grant.
You never work? in penury
You live; while in abundance, I
From ample store my want supply;
In summer buzzing loud you come,
The winter's cold soon makes you dumb;
You perish, while I safe abide
But I enough have check'd you pride."
We from this apologue may learn
Boasting from merit to discern.
Source: Boothby - Phaedrus 4.22.
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