Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable CXCVI

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A Pigeon and a Picture.

A Pigeon saw the Picture of a Glass with Water in’t, and taking it to be Water indeed, flew Rashly and Eagerly up to’t, for a Soup to Quench her Thirst. She broke her Feathers against the Frame of the Picture, and falling to the Ground upon’t, was taken up by the By-Standers.


Rash Men do many things in Hast that they Repent of at Leisure.


'TIS not Good to be Over-Fierce upon aay Thing, for fear of Mistaking, or Misunderstanding the Matter in Queslion. Moderation is a High Point of Wildom, and Temerity on the Other Hand, is ever Dangerous: For Men are Subject to be Couzen'd with Outward Appearances, and to take the Vain Images, and Shadows of Things, for the Substance. All Violent Passions have somewhat in them of the Rashness of This Pigeon; and if That Rashness be not as Fatal in the One Case, as This was in the Other, 'tis a Deliverance that we are more Indebted for, either to the Special Grace of an Overruling Providence, or to the Mediation of That which we call Chance, then to any thing of our own Goverment and Direction. One Man may have the Advantage of Another in the Benefit of a Presence of Mind, which may serve in a Great Measure, to Fortifie us against Surprizes, and Difficulties not tobe foreseen: But a sound Judgment is the Result of second Thoughts, upon Due Time and Consideration, which way to bring Matters to a Fair Issue. This Precipitate Temper is little better then a Physical Madness; for there is somewhat of an Alienation in’t, when People proceed, not only Without, but Contrary to Reason. How many Instances do we see daily, of People that are Hurry’d on, without either Fear or Wit, by Love, Hatred, Envy, Ambition, Revenge, &c. to their Own Ruine: which comes to the very Case of the Pigeons breaking her Wing against the Picture; and the Miscarriage is Every jot as Ridiculous.