[* Ruth, pity.]
Soone after this I saw an Elephant,
Adorn’d with bells and bosses gorgeouslie,
That on his backe did beare, as batteilant*,
A gilden towre, which shone exceedinglie;
That he himselfe through foolish vanitie,
Both for his rich attire and goodly forme,
Was puffed up with passing surquedrie**,
And shortly gan all other beasts to scorne,
Till that a little Ant, a silly worme,
Into his nosthrils creeping, so him pained,
That, casting downe his towres, he did deforme
Both borrowed pride, and native beautie stained.
Let therefore nought that great is therein glorie,
Sith so small thing his happines may varie.
[* As batteilant, as if equipped for battle.] [** Surquedrie, presumption.]
Looking far foorth into the ocean wide,
A goodly Ship with banners bravely dight,
And flag in her top-gallant, I espide
Through the maine sea making her merry flight.
Faire blewe the wind into her bosome right,
And th’heavens looked lovely all the while,
That she did seeme to daunce, as in delight,
And at her owne felicitie did smile.
All sodainely there clove unto her keele
A little fish that men call Remora,
Which stopt her course, and held her by the heele,
That winde nor tide could move her thence away.
Straunge thing me seemeth, that so small a thing
Should able be so great an one to wring.
A mighty Lyon, lord of all the wood,
Having his hunger throughly satisfide
With pray of beasts and spoyle of living blood,
Safe in his dreadles den him thought to hide:
His sternesse was his prayse, his strength his pride,
And all his glory in his cruell clawes.
I saw a Wasp, that fiercely him defide,
And bad him battaile even to his iawes;
Sore he him stong, that it the blood forth drawes,
And his proude heart is fild with fretting ire:
In vaine he threats his teeth, his tayle, his pawes,
And from his bloodie eyes doth sparkle fire;
That dead himselfe he wisheth for despight.
So weakest may anoy the most of might!
What time the Romaine Empire bore the raine
Of all the world, and florisht most in might,
The nations gan their soveraigntie disdaine,
And cast to quitt them from their bondage quight.
So, when all shrouded were in silent night,
The Galles were, by corrupting of a mayde,
Possest nigh of the Capitol through slight,
Had not a Goose the treachery bewrayde.
If then a goose great Rome from ruine stayde,
And Iove himselfe, the patron of the place,
Preservd from being to his foes betrayde,
Why do vaine men mean things so much deface*,
And in their might repose their most assurance,
Sith nought on earth can chalenge long endurance?