The Bear in a Boat

Moral: No Moral. Suggest us a moral of this fable in comment section.
Ah! my dear fellow, write the motto
NOSCE TEIPSUM o’er your grotto;
For he must daily wiser grow,
Determined his own scope to know.
He never launches from the shore
Without the compass, sail, and oar.
He, ere he builds, computes the costs;
And, ere he fights, reviews the hosts.
He safely walks within the fence,
And reason takes from common sense:
Pride and presumption standing checked
Before some palpable defect.
To aid the search for pride’s eviction,
A coxcomb claims a high distinction.
Not to one age or sex confined
Are coxcombs, but of rank and kind;
Pervading all ranks, great and small,
Who take and never give the wall.
By ignorance is pride increased;
They who assume most, know the least.
Yet coxcombs do not, all alike,
Our ridicule and laughter strike.
For some are lovers, some are bores,
Some rummage in the useless stores
Of folios ranged upon the shelf,
Another only loves himself.
Such coxcombs are of private station:
Ambition soars to rule the nation.
They flattery swallow: do not fear,—
No nonsense will offend their ear:
Though you be sycophant professed,
You will not put his soul to test.
If policy should be his care,
Drum MACHIAVELLI in his ear;
If commerce or the naval service,
Potter of Mazarin and Jervis.
Always, with due comparison,
By him let all that ‘s done be done;
Troops, levies, and ambassadors,
Treaties and taxes, wars and stores;
No blunders or crude schemes are tost,
Each enterprise repays its cost.
He is the pilot at the helm
To succour and to save the realm.
Spare not your Turkey−poult to cram,
He never will suspect you flam.
There was a bear of manners rough,
Who could take bee−hives well enough:
He lived by plundered honey−comb,
And raided the industrial home.
Success had puffed him with conceit;
He boasted daily of some feat.
In arrogance right uncontrolled
He grew pragmatic, busy, bold;
And beasts, with reverential stare,
Thought him a most prodigious bear.
He grew dictator in his mood,
And seized on every spoil was good;
From chickens, rising by degrees,
Until he took the butcher’s fees:
Then, in his overweening pride,
Over the hounds he would preside;
And, lastly, visiting the rocks,
He took his province from the fox.
And so it happened on a day
A yawl equipped at anchor lay.
He stopped, and thus expressed his mind:
“What blundering puppies are mankind!
What stupid pedantry in schools,
Their compasses and nautic tools!
I will assume the helm, and show
Vain man a dodge he ought to know.”
He gained the vessel, took his stand.
The beasts, astonished, lined the strand;
He weighed the anchor, slacked the sail,
Put her about before the gale,
But shipped no rudder: ill then met her;
He ran ashore, and there upset her.
The roach and gudgeon, native there,
Gathered to quiz the floundering bear.
Not so the watermen: the crew
Gathered around to thrash him too;
And merriment ran on the strand
As Bruin, chained, was dragged to land.

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