Item of the Day: Aesop’s “The Lion and other Beasts” (1782)

Full Title: Fables of Aesop and Others: Translated into English. With Applications; And a Print before each Fable. By Samuel Croxall. Twelfth Edition, Carefully Revised, and Improved. London: Printed for W. Strahan, J. F. and C. Rivington, T. Caslon, S. Crowder, T. Longman, B. Law, C. Dilly, T. Cadell, J. Bew, T. Lowneds, R. Baldwin, W. Goldsmith, G. Robinson. J. Johnson, E. Newberry, W. Ginger, and B. Collins, M.DCC.LXXXII. [1782]

FAB. VI. The LION and other Beasts.

The Lion and several other Beasts, entered into an Alliance offensive and defensive, and were to live very sociably together in the Forest, one Day, having made a sort of an Excursion by way of Hunting, they took a very fine, large, fat Deer, which was divided into four Parts; there happening to be then present, his Majesty the Lion, and only three others. After the Division was made, and the Parts were set out, his Majesty advancing forward some Steps, and pointing to one of the Shares, was pleased to declare himself after the following Manner: This I seize and take Possession of as my Right, which devolves to me, as I am descended by a true, lineal, hereditary Succession from the Royal Family of Lion: That (pointing to the second) I claim, by, I think, no unreasonable Demand; considering that all the Engagements you have with the Enemy turn chiefly upon my courage and Conduct: And you very well know that Wars are to be expensive to be carried on without proper Supplies. Then (nodding his Head towards the Third) That I shall take by Virtue of my Prerogative; to which, I make no Question, but so dutiful and loyal a People will pay all the Deference and Regard that I can desire. Now, as for the remaining Part, the Necessity of our present Affairs is so very urgent, our Stock so low, and our Credit so impaired and weakened, that I must insist upon your granting That without any Hesitation or Demur; and hereof fail not at your Peril.


No Alliance is safe which is made with those that are superior to us in Power. Tho’ they lay themselves under the most strict and solemn Ties at the Opening of the Congress, yet the first advantageous Opportunity will tempt them to break the Treaty; and they will never want specious Pretences to furnish out their Declaration of War. It is not easy to determine, whether it is more stupid and ridiculous for a Community, to trust itself first in the Hands of those that are more powerful than themselves, or to wonder afterwards that their Confidence and Credulity are abused, and their Properties invaded.




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Filed under 1780's, Fables, Fiction, Literature, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

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