The Duck And The Snake

: Literary Fables Of Yriarte

On the borders of a pond

Stood a Duck, discoursing thus:

"Nature to me is generous

All creatures else beyond.

For my life, it hath no bound

Water, earth or air within;

I can fly or I can swim,

When a-weary of the ground."

A cunning Snake stood by.

And heard the vaunting strain;

And hissing said, "How vain

To hold yourself so high!

Not on land with the fleet Stag,

Or swift Falcon in the air,

Can you make good your brag:

In the water, too, the Trout

Will beat you out and out:

You with neither can compare."

* * * * *

The wise man knoweth well,

That it is not wisdom's end

In all things to pretend,--

But in something to excel.