The subject leads, let loose my pen.
But weigh these trifles in your mind,
Where will you graver lessons find?
Things are but rarely what they seem;
Yet by their outsides most men deem
Of all they see; nor scrutinize
The deeper sense that latent lies.
That not unauthoris'd I preach,
The Weasel and the Mice shall teach.
A certain Weasel worn with age,
The Mice no longer could engage.
He roll'd himself in meal, and lay
In a dark corner near the way
Where pass'd the Mice: One came to eat,
Himself was eaten. Still for meat
Another and another came;
Their hapless fate was still the same.
When these and many more had pass'd,
A wrinkled veteran came at last,
Who many a prank himself had play'd,
And scoff of traps and nooses made.
The trick he in a moment spies,
And from a proper distance cries,
"As much good luck attend on thee
As thou art what thou seem'st to be!"
Source: Boothby - Phaedrus 4.2.
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