The Ant

Kriloff’s Original Fables
A certain Ant was with unequalled strength endowed,
Such as was heard not of in ancient days
;
He even (as his chronicler avowed)
Could from the ground two grains of barley raise ! And more, his courage for a wonder reckoned : Where’er a worm he saw, On it he was that second,
And near a spider’s web alone he’d draw. By this his fame became so great
Within the ant-hill which he called his own, That all the talk in’t was of him alone :
Praise in excess I worse than poison hate
;
Our Ant of praise,1 though, not a rap would bate,
He loved it well
;
It acted on his boasting like a spell, Prone to believe what flatterers tell
;
And with it was his head so turned, sad to relate, That go unto the town he must,
And to his strength there for all honours trust.
Upon the largest hay cart he could meet
He crawled up, to the driver’s feet, And rode unto the town in state ; But ah, his pride there got a heavy blow ! He thought a crowd would run to see the show,
Breathless, as to a fire they go ; But there they let him sit and wait
:
Throw time away on him they can’t Our Insect drags the broadest leaf, in vain He falls from it, and gets on it again,
Not one that stops to watch an Ant. Tired at last of hauling, he sets himself to rights,
And vexed, unto the dog upon the road,
There lying to protect the master’s load,
Says : ” What a town for sights ! There must be—is’t not true ? With eyes and sense to use them here but few !
Is’t possible that no one sees what I have grown, What weights for hours I pull ? With me alone at home is full The ant-hill where I’ve long been known.”
And home he went his shame to hide.
Thus, thinks with pride
A trickster, only droll, That all beneath the sun his skill admire,
Although his fame but fire Some ant-hill where he has his hole.