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Making black white, and white of sable ;
A plague once fill'd the beasts with dread,
*My friends,' the humbl’d king begins, • Heaven, to repay our crying sins, . . "This dreadful plague no doubt decreed : * Then to confession let's proceed : * And, when each has his crimes confess'd, • Let him who deepest has transgress'd, ' * Be sacrificed for all the rest. • Heaven may the sacrifice receive, • Our crimes remit, and. we may live.'
Wisdom ne'er fail'd a royal tongue; The forest with rude plaudits rung. The Fox, for wily wit far fam'd, As judge,was una voce nam’d, And now, each, blushing for transgression, In turn made humbly his confession: Closing his pious penitential With plea less pointed than essential.
The Lion first—Ah, woe is me! Where can a greater sinner be? • What herds have I by force o'erpower'd! • What numbers in my rage devour'd! : • To me what injury had they done? • Alas! enormous sinner! none ! • Nay, once;' tis true, with shame. I speak,
See tears of anguish scald my cheek'(And something like a tear-drop-rollid His majesty had, 'chance, caught cold) • An herd I saw, a bullock slew, • Tho' glorious beef, that would not dom • Ah! wretch! I ate the herdsman too.'- ) His penitence here prov'd perfection, He lick’d his chops from recollection! His eyes too sparkled ; that might be The sparkling of grief's tear; then he ? No palliation can I find
For crimes so dread; content, resign'd, • I bow me to the stroke of death, !,!, ! • If justice asks my parting breath;
. * But, first, let all confession make;
Due cognizance then justice take, it is • And, if with theirs my sins compar'
d e • Weigh down the scale, be pity spar'd,132 • Be fealty forfeited, and I, « The worst of sinners ! justly die.' Hi s
Humbly he spoke, but look'd so fiercerita His flashing eyes judge Reynard pierce, totis
Who trembling sat, but wisely knewymi.
The Beasts again applauding roar: ..
Such acts would be as murder nam'd • If by your subjects done; but in
You, Sire, high sanction bars the sin. • You deign'd upon the herd to feed,
But they the act had guaranteed; * For where's the subject, day by day,
And hour by hour, who fails to say • O Sire, accept our homage duė,
Our lives devoted all to you? . Thus equity the act shall save, "You only took what they first gave. • Besides the rule has flourish'd long
That Royalty can do no wrong. • You ate the herdsman-here's a case • Which wears at sight a graver face; . But, when by justice made apparent,
You'll find no onus lies, I warrant. • Tho'o'er each beast high sway you bear, • Mankind superior nature wear; Man, the great monarch of the earth,
So call’d, affects sublimer birth; . And claims all rule; suppose this reason, • The deed was positive high treason : • But man's our foe, and we disclaim • His right and rule ; this bars the blame;
. Denied his claim to sov'reignty,
Then down he sat, ʼmid brute applause,
And down he sat-the Lion cast
The Tiger next By hunger press’d,
• Enough,' the Judge,--'No fault there falls, • Hunger, we know, eats thro' stone walls; • And, if by instinct we're directed, • Are we not by its laws protected ?'
The Leopard, 'Blood against me rises, Goats, sheep and lambs, have been my prizes ;
I see the crime, but knew not then • Its baseness; were 't to do again
• I'd ne'er offend.'—The Fox.replied,
*As ignorance was then your guide, * And as intention forms the guilt, “No law condemns the blood you spilt.'
The Bear succeeded — In my time I've slain enough, and own the crime; • The hapless victims cross'd my way. • When hunger rag'd, and fell my prey.'
The judge— If in your way they came, • You stand acquitted ; their's the blame; . • Against stone walls who run, insane, * Shall they of broken heads complain ?'
The gaunt Wolf growl'd— My very name •Has grown a sound of guilt and shame. • With lawless range. I prowl by night; • The shepherd tracks at morning light . My ruffian course, by blood-marks common; • And once I supp'd on an old woman.'
Reynard— Allow'd you've kill'd your share, But did the shepherd take due care * To fold his flock; could you destroy?.
His carelessness is your decoy; • Then let him bear the burthen, pray • Who threw temptations in your way. • Your last crime must have been a dream;. • Eat an old woman? this måy seem • Contempt of court ; proof all can bring • Mankind declare there's no such thing. * Non est inventus is your plea; • The bill's thrown out, and you are free.