One fled, the other stood his ground,
And slew the thief. The combat done,
The coward ventur'd to come on;
Sword drawn, and mantle cast aside,
"Leave him to me," he blust'ring cried,
"Leave him to me, he soon shall know
With what a man he has to do."
The brave companion, smiling, said,
"This boasting somewhat had bestead
Anon, and made me feel more bold;
Your worth I need not now be told;
Put up your sword and hold your tongue;
When those who know you not among,
Pass for a hero if you can,
But not with me, I've tried my man;
For swiftness you've my approbation,
But fighting is not your vocation."
This fable does to those belong,
In action weak, in boasting strong;
Their aid unwanted, who stand by you,
But in a doubtful moment fly you.
Source: Boothby - Phaedrus 5.2.