The Shepard and the Philosopher

Moral: No Moral. Suggest us a moral of this fable in comment section.
Remote from cities dwelt a swain,
Unvexed by petty cares of gain;
His head was silvered, and by age
He had contented grown and sage;
In summer’s heat and winter’s cold
He fed his flock and penned his fold,
Devoid of envy or ambition,
So had he won a proud position.
A deep philosopher, whose rules
Of moral life were drawn from schools,
With wonder sought this shepherd’s nest,
And his perplexity expressed:
“Whence is thy wisdom? Hath thy toil
O’er books consumed the midnight oil,
Communed o’er Greek and Roman pages,
With Plato, Socrates—those sages—
Or fathomed Tully,—or hast travelled
With wise Ulysses, and unravelled
Of customs half a mundane sphere?”
The shepherd answered him: “I ne’er
From books or from mankind sought learning,
For both will cheat the most discerning;
The more perplexed the more they view
In the wide fields of false and true.
“I draw from Nature all I know—
To virtue friend, to vice a foe.
The ceaseless labour of the bee
Prompted my soul to industry;
The wise provision of the ant
Made me for winter provident;
My trusty dog there showed the way,
And to be true I copy Tray.
Then for domestic hallowed love,
I learnt it of the cooing dove;
And love paternal followed, when
I marked devotion in the hen.
“Nature then prompted me to school
My tongue from scorn and ridicule,
And never with important mien
In conversation to o’erween.
I learnt some lessons from the fowls:
To shun solemnity, from owls;
Another lesson from the pie,—
Pert and pretentious, and as sly;
And to detest man’s raids and mulctures,
From eagles, kites, goshawks, and vultures;
But most of all abhorrence take
From the base toad or viler snake,
With filthy venom in the bite,
Of envies, jealousies, and spite.
Thus from Dame Nature and Creation
Have I deduced my observation;
Nor found I ever thing so mean,
That gave no moral thence to glean.”
Then the philosopher replied:
“Thy fame, re−echoed far and wide,
Is just and true: for books misguide,—
As full, as man himself, of pride;
But Nature, rightly studied, leads
To noble thoughts and worthy deeds.”

Leave a Reply 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *