The Lion, the Tiger, and the Traveller

Moral: No Moral. Suggest us a moral of this fable in comment section.
Accept, my Prince, the moral fable,
To youth ingenuous, profitable.
Nobility, like beauty’s youth,
May seldom hear the voice of truth;
Or mark and learn the fact betimes
That flattery is the nurse of crimes.
Friendship, which seldom nears a throne,
Is by her voice of censure known.
To one in your exalted station
A courtier is a dedication;
But I dare not to dedicate
My verse e’en unto royal state.
My muse is sacred, and must teach
Truths which they slur in courtly speech.
But I need not to hide the praise,
Or veil the thoughts, a nation pays;
We in your youth and virtues trace
The dawnings of your royal race;
Discern the promptings of your breast,
Discern you succour the distrest,
Discern your strivings to attain
The heights above the lowly plain.
Thence shall Nobility inspire
Your bosom with her holy fire;
Impressing on your spirit all
Her glorious and heroical.
* * * * *
A tigress prowling for her prey
Assailed a traveller on his way;
A passing lion thought no shame
To rob the tigress of her game.
They fought: he conquered in the strife;
Of him the traveller begged for life.
His life the generous lion gave,
And him invited to his cave.
Arrived, they sat and shared the feast.
The lion spoke: he said, “What beast
Is strong enough to fight with me?
You saw the battle, fair and free.
My vassals fear me on my throne:
These hills and forests are my own.
The lesser tribes of wolf and bear
Regard my royal den with fear;
Their carcases, on either hand,
And bleaching bones now strew the land.”
“It is so,” said the man, “I saw
What well might baser natures awe;
But shall a monarch, like to you,
Place glory in so base a view?
Robbers invade a neighbour’s right,
But Love and Justice have more might.
O mean and sordid are the boasts
Of plundered lands and wasted hosts!
Kings should by love and justice reign,
Nor be like pirates of the main.
Your clemency to me has shown
A virtue worthy of a throne:
If Heaven has made you great and strong,
Use not her gifts to do us wrong.”
The lion answered: “It is plain
That I have been abused; my reign
By slaves and sophisters beset.
But tell me, friend, didst ever yet
Attend in human courts? You see,
My courtiers say they rule like me.”

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