THE DILETTANTE AND THE CRITIC. by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
A BOY a pigeon once possess'd, In gay and brilliant plumage dress'd; He loved it well, and in boyish sport Its food to take from his mouth he taught, And in his pigeon he took such pride, That his joy to others he needs must confide.
An aged fox near the place chanc'd to dwell, Talkative, clever, and learned as well; The boy his society used to prize, Hearing with pleasure his wonders and lies.
"My friend the fox my pigeon must see He ran, and stretch'd 'mongst the bushes lay he "Look, fox, at my pigeon, my pigeon so fair! His equal I'm sure thou hast look'd upon ne'er!"
"Let's see!"--The boy gave it.--"'Tis really not bad; And yet, it is far from complete, I must add. The feathers, for, instance, how short! 'Tis absurd!" So he set to work straightway to pluck the poor bird.
The boy screamed.--"Thou must now stronger pinions supply, Or else 'twill be ugly, unable to fly."-- Soon 'twas stripp'd--oh, the villain!--and torn all to pieces. The boy was heart-broken,--and so my tale ceases.
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He who sees in the boy shadow'd forth his own case, Should be on his guard 'gainst the fox's whole race.