Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable CCXIII and CCXIV

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3937629Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists — Fable CCXIII and CCXIVRoger L'Estrange


Jupiter and an Ape.

JUpiter took a Fancy once to Summon All the Birds and Beasts under the Canopy of Heaven to appear before him with their Brats, and their Little ones, to see which of 'em had the prettiest Children: And who but the Ape to put her self Foremost, with a Brace of her Cubbs in her Arms, for the Greatest Beauties in the Company.


An Eagle and an Owl.

A Certain Eagle that had a mind to be well ferv’d, took up a Resolution of Preferring Those that she found most agreeable, for Person and Address; and so there past an Order of Council for All Her Majesty's Subjects to bring their Children to Court. They came accordingly, and Every One in their Turn was for Advancing their Own: Till at last the Owl fell a Mopping, and Twinkling, and told her Majesty, that if a Gracious Meen and Countenance might Entitle any of her Subjects to a Preference, she Doubted not but her Brood would be look’d upon in the First Place; for they were as like the Mother, as if they had been spit out of her Mouth. Upon This the Bord fell all into a Fit of Laughing, and call'd Another Cause.

The Moral of theTwo Fables above.

No body ever saw an Ill-favour'd Fool in the World yet, Man, or Woman, that had not a Good Opinion of it's Own Wit and Beauty.


SELF Love is the Root of All the Vanities that are struck at in These Two Fables, and it is so Natural an Infirmity, that it makes us Partial even to Those that come of us, as well as to our selves: And then it is so Nicely Divided, betwixt Piety, Pride, and Weakness, that in Many Cases 'tis a hard Matter to Distinguith the One from the Other. 'Tis a Frailty for a Man to Think Better of his Children then they Deserve: But then there is an Impulse of Tenderness, and of Duty, that goes along with it, and there must be some sort of an Esteem in the Case too, for the setting of That In-bred Affection at Work. The Difficulty lies in the Moderating of the Matter, and in getting the True Medium betwixt being Wanting to our Own Flesh and Blood, once Remov'd, and Assuming too much to our selves. Let the Attachment be what it will, we must not suffer our Judgments to be either Perverted, Blinded, or Corrupted by any Partiality of Prepossessions whatsoever.

The Moral here before us, Extends to the Fruits and Productions of the Brain, as well as of the Body; and to Deformities in the matter as well of Understanding, as of Shape. We are Taught here Principally, Two Things; First, how Ridiculous it is for a Man to Dote upon Fopsand Buffoons, tho' never so much the Issue of his Own Head and Loins; And yet 2ly How Prone we are to Indulge our Own Errors, Follies and Miscarriages, in Thought, Word, and Deed. The World has Abundance of These Apes and Owls in’t: So that Whoever does but look about him, will find so many Living Illustrations of This Emblem, that more Words upon the Subject would be needless.