The Cathedral Bell And The Little Bell

: Literary Fables Of Yriarte

In a certain cathedral a huge bell there hung,

That only on solemn occasions was rung;

Its echoes majestic, by strokes three or four,

Now and then, in grave cadence, were heard--never more.

For this stately reserve and its wonderful weight,

Throughout the whole parish, its glory was great.

In the district the city held under its sway,

Of a few wretched rustics, a hamlet t
ere lay;

And a poor little church, with a belfry so small,

That you hardly would call it a belfry at all.

There a little cracked cow-bell, that in it was swinging,

For the poor little neighborhood did all the ringing.

Now that this little belfry might ape in renown

The cathedral's huge tower, that loomed up o'er the town;

That briefly and seldom--on festivals noted--

The said little bell should be rung--it was voted.

By this cunning device, in their rustical eyes,

Its tinkle soon passed for a bell of great size.

* * * * *

Of true merit and excellence, many men try,

By grave airs and long faces, the place to supply;

And think that their wisdom is surely inferred

From their seldom vouchsafing to utter a word.

Indeed, it is true, in a general way,

Asses may not be known if they never should bray,

And for a wise animal safely may pass;

If one opens his mouth, then we know he's an ass.