Moral: No Moral. Suggest us a moral of this fable in comment section.
I grant these facts: corruption sways,
Self−interest does pervert man’s ways;
That bribes do blind; that present crimes
Do equal those of former times:
Can I against plain facts engage
To vindicate the present age?
I know that bribes in modern palm
Can nobler energies encalm;
That where such argument exists
There itching is in modern fists.
And hence you hold that politicians
Should drive their nails on such conditions,
So they might penetrate sans bending,
And win your way past comprehending.
Premising no reflection’s meant,
Unto such doctrine I dissent.
The barrister is bound to plead
Upon the side on which he ‘s fee’d;
And so in every other trade
Is duty, by the guinea, paid.
Man, we are taught, is prone to evil—
That does not vindicate the devil:
Besides, man, in his own behoof,
Contrives to hide the cloven hoof.
Nor is corruption of late date,—
‘Twas known in every age and state;
And where corruption was employed
The public welfare was destroyed.
Next see court minions in disgrace,
Stripped of their treasure, stripped of place;
What now is all their pride and boast,—
The servile slave, the flattering host,
The tongues that fed him with applause,
The noisy champions of their cause?
They press the foremost to accuse
His selfish jobs and paltry views.
Ah, me! short−sighted were the fools,
And false, aye false, the hireling tools.
Was it such sycophants to get
Corruption swelled the public debt?
This motto would not shine amiss—
Write, “Point d’argent et point de Suisse.”
The lion is the noblest brute,
With parts and valour past dispute,
And yet it is by all averred
His rule to jackalls is transferred.
A rascal jackall once on law
And property put down his paw.
The forest groaned brute−discontent,
And swore its injuries to resent:
The jackall heard it, and with fear
He saw disgrace approaching near.
He said and thought: “I must defeat
Malicious tongues, and guard my seat;
Strengthen myself with new allies,
And then this clamour may despise.”
Unto the generous brutes he fawned;
The generous brutes the jackall scorned.
What must he do? Friends must be made,
And proselytes by bribes be paid;
For think not a brute’s paw withstands
The bribe which dirties human hands.
A hog o’er cabbage said his benison;
The wolf was won by haunch of venison;
A pullet won the fox; a thistle
Tickled the donkey’s tongue of gristle.
But now the royal leopard rose
The tricksy jackall to oppose:
And as the rats will leave in lurch
The falling walls of house or church,
So did each briber cut and run
To worship at the rising sun.
The hog with warmth expressed his zeal,
So did the wolf for public weal,—
But claimed their venison and cabbage.
The fox the like—without disparage
Unto his perquisites of geese.
The donkey asked a common’s lease.
“Away,” the leopard said, “ye crew,
Whose conscience honesty ne’er knew!
Away, I say, with all the tribe
Who dare to ask or take a bribe:
Cudgels, and not rewards, are due
To such time−serving tools as you!”
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