Page:Fables of Aesop and other eminent mythologists.djvu/61

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Æſop's FABLES.

was in Condition to do Miſchief, it bit the very Man that ſav'd the Life on't. Ah thou Ungrateful Wretch! Says he, Is that Venomous Ill Nature of thine to be Satisfi'd with nothing leſs than the Ruine of thy Preſerver?

The Moral.

There are Some Men like Some Snakes; 'Tis Natural to them to be doing Miſchiefs and the Greater the Benefit oh the One ſide , the More implacable is the Malice on the other.


He that takes an Ungrateful Man into his Boſom, is well nigh ſure to be Betray'd; and it is no longer Charity, but Folly, to think of Obliging the Common Enemies of Mankind. But 'tis no New Thing for good Natur'd Men to meet with Ungrateful Returns. Wherefore Friendſhips, Charities, and Kindneſſes, mould be well Weigh'd and Examin'd, as to the Circumſtances of Time, Place, Manner, Perſon, and Proportion, before we Sign and Seal. A Man had much better take a Tyger into his Grounds, than a Snake into his Boſom. How many Examples have we ſeen with our own Eyes, of Men that have been pick'd up and Reliev'd out of Starving Neceſſities, without either Spirit, or Strength to do Miſchief, who in requital have afterwards conſpir'd againſt the Life, Honor, and Fortune of their Patrons and Redeemers. Did ever any of theſe Human Snakes loſe their Venom for lying under ſome Temporary Incapacity of Uſing it? Will they be ever the leſs Dangerous and Malicious, when Warmth ſhall bring them to themſelves again; becauſe they were once Frozen and Benumm'd with Cold? The very Credulity Encourages an Abuſe, where the Will to do Mifſchief only waits for the Power, and Opportunity of putting it in Execution. Facility makes the Innocent a Prey to the Crafty: Wherefore it is highly neceſſary for the One to know how far, and to Whom he Truſts; and for the Other to underſtand what he is to Truſt to. The Snake, after his Recovery, is the very ſame Snake ſtill, that he was at firſt. How many People have we read of in Story, that after a Pardon for One Rebellion, have been taken in Another with That very Pardon in their Pockets, and the Ink ſcarce Dry upon the Parchment? Now all this is no more than the Proverb in a Fable: Save a Thiefe from the Gallows, and he'll Cut your Throat.

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.