This truth within the heart is graven :—
All flattery is false ; and so, there's no excuse,
If listeners succumb when flatterers seduce.
Up on a little fir-tree lightly hopped a raven
That wished to breakfast at her ease,
And carried in her mouth a piece of fragrant cheese.
But while she pondered, then a morsel tasted,
A fox adjudged the chance too perfect to be wasted.
Was taken captive by the cheesy scent ;
On looking up, no further on his journey went.
The rogue, on tip-toe, to the fir-tree slow approaches.
Upon the bird's attention sly encroaches.
And gently says, in accents low and clear :—
"Oh, songster exquisite and dear.
Your eyes are soft with love and pity,
I humbly bow to one so pretty.
Ne'er have I seen such feathers, such a beak !
Oh, queen of all the birds ! but let me hear you speak.
Or rather, deign to sing ! Enjoy a moment's leisure
And charm the world with tones delightful beyond measure.
Pour forth fine notes, my gracious treasure ! "
The raven held her breath, and nearly died from choking,
And then, as if a wild ambition in her burned.
She opened wide her mouth for harsh discordant croaking.
And the fox gained the cheese his cunning skill had earned.