Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
The Fox and the Raven
By Sir Roger LEstrange (16161704)
From Æsops Fables translated
A CERTAIN fox spied out a raven upon a tree with a morsel in his mouth, that set his chops a watering; but how to come at it was the question. Oh thou blessed bird! (says he) the delight of gods, and of men! and so lays himself forth upon the gracefulness of the ravens person, and the beauty of his plumes; his admirable gift of augury, etc. And now, says the fox, if thou hadst but a voice answerable to the rest of thy excellent qualities, the sun in the firmament could not show the world such another creature. This nauseous flattery sets the raven immediately a gaping as wide as ever he could stretch, to give the fox a taste of his pipe, but upon the opening of his mouth he drops his breakfast, which the fox presently chopt up, and then bade him remember, that whatever he had said of his beauty, he had spoken nothing yet of his brains.
Theres hardly any man living that may not be wrought upon more or less by flattery: for we do all of us naturally overween in our own favour: but when it comes to be applied once to a vain fool, it makes him forty times an arranter sot than he was before.