A treacherous voice will sometimes call;
Hear it, but trust it not at all.
Not meaningless the thing I tell,
But like the clog of Jean Nivelle.
A citizen of Mons, by trade,
A Capon, one day, was dismayed,
Being summoned, very suddenly,
Before his master′s Lares; he
Disliked that tribunal, the spit
(It was a fowl of ready wit).
Yet all the folks, their scheme to hide,
"Coop, coop, coop, coop," so softly cried.
"Your servant; your gross bait is vain;
You won′t catch me, I say again."
All this a Falcon saw, perplexed:
What had the silly creature vexed?
Instinct, experience, or no,
Fowls have no faith in us, I know;
And this one, caught with endless trouble,
To-morrow in a pot would bubble,
Or in a stately dish repose—
Small honour, as the Capon knows.
The Falcon the poor creature blamed;
"I am astonished! I′m ashamed!
You scum! you canaille! how you act!
You′re half an idiot, that′s a fact.
I come back to my master′s fist,
And hunt for him whate′er he list.
Why, see, he′s at the window, there;
You′re deaf; he′s calling, I declare."
"I know too well," the Fowl replied,
Not caring for the Falcon′s pride:
"What does he want to say to me?
The cook has got his knife, I see.
Would you attend to such a bait?
Now, let me fly, or I′m too late;
So, cease to mock. Nay, now, good master,
That wheedling voice portends disaster!
Had you seen at the friendly hearth
As many Falcons of good birth
As I′ve seen Capons put to roast,
You′d not reproach me with vain boast."