The bird of Jove bore off a heavy "mutton;"
A Raven, witness of the whole affair,
Weaker in back, but scarcely less a glutton,
Resolved to do the same, whate′er
Might come of it.
With greedy wit,
Around the flock he made a sweep,
Marking, among the fattest sheep,
One of enormous size,
Fit for a sacrifice.
Said Master Raven, winking both his eyes,
"Your nurse′s name I cannot tell,
But such fat flesh will suit me well:
You′re ready for my eating."
Then on the sheep, slow, sluggish, bleating,
The Raven settled down, not knowing
The beast weighed more than a mere cream-cheese could.
It had a fleece as thickly growing
As beard of Polyphemus—tangled wood—
That clung to either claw; the animal could not withdraw.
The shepherd comes, and calling to his boy,
Gives him the Raven for a toy.
We must take care; the moral is quite clear—
The footpad mustn′t rob on the highway.
Example is a dangerous lure, I fear:
Men-eaters are not all great people; no, I say,
Where wasps passed last week gnats are crushed to-day.