Page:Fables of Aesop and other eminent mythologists.djvu/53

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ÆSOP, &c.

Fable I.

A Cock and a Diamond.

AS a Cock was turning up a Dunghill, he ſpy'd a Diamond. Well (ſays he to himſelf) this ſparkling Foolery now to a Lapidary in my place, would have been the Making of him; but as to any Uſe or Purpoſe of mine, a Barley Corn had been worth Forty on't.

The Moral.

He that's Induſtrious in an Honeſt Calling, ſhall never fail of a Bleſing. 'Tis the part of a Wiſe Man to Prefer Things Neceſſary before Matters of Curioſity, Ornament, or Pleaſure.


The Moraliſts will have Wiſdom and Virtue to be meant by the Diamond; the World and the Pleaſures of it, by the Dunghill; and by the Cock, a Voluptuous Man, that Abandons himſelf to his Luſts, without any regard, either to the Study, the Practice, or the Excellency of Better Things.

Now, with favour of the Ancients, this Fable ſeems to me, rather to hold forth an Emblem of Induſtry and Moderation. The Cock lives by his honeſt Labor, and maintains his Family out of it; His Scraping upon the Dunghill, is but Working in his Calling: The precious Stone is only a gawdy Temptation that Fortune throws in his way to divert him from his Buſineſs and his Duty. He would have been glad, he ſays, of a Barley-Corn inſtead on't; and ſo caſts it aſide as a thing not worth heeding. What is all this now, but the paſſing of a true Eſtimate upon the matter in queſtion, in preferring that which Providence has made and pronounc'd to be the Staff of Life, before a glittering Gew-Gaw, that has no other Value, then what Vanity, Pride, and Luxury, have ſet upon't? The Price of the Market to a Jeweller in his Trade, is one thing, but the intrinſick Worth of a thing, to a Man of Senſe, and Judgment, is another. Nay, that very Lapidary himſelf, with a coming Stomach, and in the Cock's place, would have made the Cock's Choice. The Doctrin, in ſhort, may be this; That we are to prefer things neceſſary, before things ſuperfluous; the Comforts and the