Than truth we nought more useful know,
And yet the following tale may show,
The danger to be too sincere,
With those all-powerful who are.
A Lion o'er the beasts who reign'd,
An equitable conduct feign'd;
And satisfied with moderate food,
Appear'd to seek the nation's good.
But weary, nature to restrain,
Yet show of justice to maintain,
He with this plot his courtiers snar'd:
"That he was sick," the King declar'd,
"That sleep and appetite he wanted,
And he believ'd his breath was tainted."
The Bear was ask'd; who, blunt and rough,
Says, "Yes, you stink, Sir, sure enough."
Decided quick poor Bruin's fate is;
Guilty of Laesus Majestatis.
The Ape then swore, "That to his nose
Twas cassia, cinnamon, and rose;"
And by the law was doom'd to swing,
For lies and flattery to the King.
The Fox came next, who from the scrape
Did by this subterfuge escape:
"I with a cold am so unwell,"
He says, "I've neither taste nor smell;
But here's the Fox-hound, who for scent,
As we all know is excellent."
True courtier, he avoids the snare
To place his adversary there.
Source: Boothby - Phaedrus 4.13.