Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable X

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Fab. X.

A Lion and an Asse

AN Asse was so Hardy once, as to fall a Mopping and Braying at a Lyon. The Lyon began at first to shew his Teeth, and to Stomack the Affront; but upon Second Thoughts; Well! (says he) Jeer on, and be an Asse still. Take notice only by the way, that 'tis the Baseness of your Character that has sav'd your Carcass.

The Moral.

It is below the Dignity of a Great Mind to Entertain Contests with People that have neither Quality nor Courage: Beside the Folly of Contending with a Miserable Wretch, where the very Competition is a Scandal.

REFLEXION.

Scoundrels are apt to be Insolent toward their Superiors; but it does not yet become a man of Honor and Wisdom, to Contest with Mean Rascals; and to Answer Every Fool in his Folly. One Indignity is not to be Reveng'd by Another.

The very Contest sets the Matter and the Man upon the Same Level; and the Lion was in the Right, not to Cast away his Displeasure upon an Asse, where there was only Reputation to be Lost, and None to be Gotten. The very Beasts of the Forrest will Rise up in Judgment against such men. Contempt in such a Case as This, is the only Honorable Revenge.