This fable serves to tell, or tries to show
A fools remonstrance often is in vain.
A child fell headlong in the river′s flow,
While playing on the green banks of the Seine:
A willow, by kind Providence, grew there,
The branches saved him (rather, God′s good care);
Caught in the friendly boughs, he clutched and clung.
The master of the school just then came by.
"Help! help! I′m drowning!" as he gulping hung,
He shouts. The master, with a pompous eye,
Turns and reproves him with much gravity.
"You little ape," he said, "now only see
What comes of all your precious foolery;
A pretty job such little rogues to guard.
Unlucky parents who must watch and thrash.
Such helpless, hopeless, good-for-nothing trash.
I pity them; their woes I understand."
Having said this, he brought the child to land.
In this I blame more people than you guess—
Babblers and censors, pedants, all the three;
Such creatures grow in numbers to excess,
Some blessing seems to swell their progeny.
In every crisis theories they shape,
And exercise their tongues with perfect skill;
Ha! my good friends, first save me from the scrape,
Then make your long speech after, if you will.