The Fox and the Dragon

A Fox was throwing up the soil,
And while with his assiduous toil
He burrow’d deep into the ground,
A Dragon in his den he found,
A-watching hidden treasure there,
Whom seeing, Renard speaks him fair:
“First, for your pardon I apply
For breaking on your privacy;
Then, as you very plainly see
That gold is of no use to me,
Your gentle leave let me obtain
To ask you, what can be the gain
Of all this care, and what the fruit,
That you should not with sleep recruit
Your spirits, but your life consume
Thus in an everlasting gloom?”
“’Tis not my profit here to stay,”
He cries; “but I must Jove obey.”
“What! will you therefore nothing take
Yourself, nor others welcome make?”
“Ev’n so the fates decree:” —“Then, sir,
Have patience, whilst I do aver
That he who like affections knows
Is born with all the gods his foes.
Since to that place you needs must speed,
Where all your ancestors precede,
Why in the blindness of your heart
Do you torment your noble part?”
All this to thee do I indite,
Thou grudging churl, thy heir’s delight,
Who robb’st the gods of incense due,
Thyself of food and raiment too;
Who hear’st the harp with sullen mien,
To whom the piper gives the spleen;
Who’rt full of heavy groans and sighs
When in their price provisions rise;
Who with thy frauds heaven’s patience tire
To make thy heap a little higher,
And, lest death thank thee, in thy will
Hast tax’d the undertaker’s bill. [more info]

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