The Cur and the Mastiff

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Fable XXVI

A sneaking cur, the master's spy,
Rewarded for his daily lie,
With secret jealousies and fears
Set all together by the ears.
Poor puss to-day was in disgrace,
Another cat supplied her place;
The hound was beat, the mastiff chid,
The monkey was the room forbid;
Each to his dearest friend grew shy,
And none could tell the reason why.

   A plan to rob the house was laid,
The thief with love seduced the maid;
Cajoled the cur, and stroked his head,
And bought his secrecy with bread.
He next the mastiff's honour tried,
Whose honest jaws the bribe defied.
He stretched his hand to proffer more;
The surly dog his fingers tore.
   Swift ran the cur; with indignation
The master took his information.

'Hang him, the villain's cursed,' he cries;
And round his neck the halter ties.
   The dog his humble suit preferred,
And begged in justice to be heard.
The master sat. On either hand
The cited dogs confronting stand;
The cur the bloody tale relates,
And, like a lawyer, aggravates.
   'Judge not unheard,' the mastiff cried,
'But weigh the cause on either side.

Think not that treachery can be just,
Take not informers' words on trust.
They ope their hand to every pay,
And you and me by turns betray.'
   He spoke. And all the truth appeared,
The cur was hanged, the mastiff cleared.


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