Fable 17. The Shepherd's Dog and the Wolf -


A Wolf , with hunger fierce and bold,
Ravag'd the plains and thinn'd the fold:
Deep in the wood secure he lay,
The thefts of night regal'd the day;
In vain the shepherd's wakeful care
Had spread the toils and watch'd the snare,
In vain the dog pursu'd his pace,
The fleeter robber mock'd the chase.
As Lightfoot rang'd the forest round.
By chance his foe's retreat he found.
Let us awhile the war suspend,
And reason as from friend to friend.
A truce, replys the Wolf? 'Tis done.
The Dog the parley thus begun.
How can that strong intrepid mind
Attack a weak defenceless kind?
Those jaws should prey on nobler food,
And drink the boar's and lyon's blood;
Great souls with gen'rous pity melt,
Which coward tyrants never felt:
How harmless is our fleecy care!
Be brave, and let thy mercy spare.
Friend, says the Wolf, the matter weigh.
Nature design'd us beasts of prey,
As such, when hunger finds a treat,
'Tis necessary wolves should eat.
If mindful of the bleating weal,
Thy bosom burn with real zeal,
Hence, and thy tyrant lord beseech,
To him repeat the moving speech;
A wolf eats sheep but now and then,
Ten thousands are devour'd by men.
An open foe may prove a curse,
But a pretended friend is worse.
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