On S—— (You say reserve & modesty he has)
YOU say reserve and modesty he has,
Whose heart is iron, his head wood, and his face brass.
The fox, the owl, the beetle, and the bat 1
By sweet reserve and modesty get fat.
You say reserve & modesty he has
Whose heart is iron his head wood & his face brass
The Fox the Owl the Beetle & the Bat
By sweet reserve & modesty get Fat
- The Poetical Works of William Blake, including the unpublished French Revolution together with the Minor Prophetic Books and Selections from The Four Zoas, Milton & Jerusalem; edited with an introduction and textual notes by John Sampson, Hon. D.Litt. Oxon., 1862–1931. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1908.
- Blake uses this couplet in his Descriptive Catalogue, with the change of ‘owl’ to ‘mole’ in l. 3.
- "The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake", ed. by David V. Erdman, Anchor Books, 1988, p. 509.