Tuesday, September 21, 2010

L'Estrange: 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. Oh thou blessed Bird! (says he) the Delight of the Gods and of Men! and so he lays himself forth upon the Gracefulness of the Raven’s Person, and the Beauty of his Plumes: his admirable Gift of Augury, &c. and now, says the Fox, if thou hast 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 he ever 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 out of his Brains.

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 applied once to a vain Fool, it makes him forty times an arranter Sot than he was before.

Source: L'Estrange 14.
Vulpes et Corvus

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