The Old Hen and the Cock

From ImmortalPoetry
Jump to navigationJump to search

Fable XX

Restrain your child; you'll soon believe
The text which says, we sprung from Eve.
   As an old hen led forth her train,
And seemed to peck to shew the grain;
She raked the chaff, she scratched the ground,
And gleaned the spacious yard around.
A giddy chick, to try her wings,
On the well's narrow margin springs,
And prone she drops. The mother's breast
All day with sorrow was possess'd.

   A cock she met; her son she knew;
And in her heart affection grew.
   'My son,' says she, 'I grant your years
Have reached beyond a mother's cares;
I see you vig'rous, strong, and bold;
I hear with joy your triumphs told.
Tis not from cocks thy fate I dread;
But let thy ever-wary tread
Avoid yon well; that fatal place
Is sure perdition to our race.

Print this my counsel on thy breast;
To the just gods I leave the rest.'
   He thanked her care; yet day by day
His bosom burned to disobey;
And every time the well he saw,
Scorned in his heart the foolish law:
Near and more near each day he drew,
And longed to try the dangerous view.
   'Why was this idle charge?' he cries;
'Let courage female fears despise.

Or did she doubt my heart was brave,
And therefore this injunction gave?
Or does her harvest store the place,
A treasure for her younger race?
And would she thus my search prevent?
I stand resolved, and dare the event.'
   Thus said. He mounts the margin's round,
And pries into the depth profound.
He stretched his neck; and from below
With stretching neck advanced a foe:

With wrath his ruffled plumes he rears,
The foe with ruffled plumes appears:
Threat answered threat, his fury grew,
Headlong to meet the war he flew,
But when the watery death he found,
He thus lamented as he drowned:
   'I ne'er had been in this condition,
But for my mother's prohibition.'

Add your comment
ImmortalPoetry welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.