Page:The battle of the books - Guthkelch - 1908.djvu/93
BATTLE OF THE BOOKS
arms below stood silent a while, waiting in suspense what would be the issue; which was not long undetermined; for the bee, grown impatient at so much loss of time, fled straight away to a bed of roses without looking for a reply, and left the spider like an orator collected in himself, and just prepared to burst out.
It happened, upon this emergency, that Æsop broke silence first. He had been of late most barbarously treated by a strange effect of the Regent's humanity, who had tore off his title-page, sorely defaced one half of his leaves, and chained him fast among a shelf of Moderns; where soon discovering how high the quarrel was like to proceed, he tried all his arts, and turned himself to a thousand forms. At length, in the borrowed shape of an ass the Regent mistook him for a Modern, by which means he had time and opportunity to escape to the Ancients just when the spider and the bee were entering into their contest; to which he gave his attention with a world of pleasure, and when it was ended, swore in the loudest key, that in all his life he had never known two cases so parallel and adapt to each other, as that in the window and