Master Raven, perched upon a tree,
Held in his beak a savoury piece of cheese;
Its pleasant odour, borne upon the breeze,
Allured Sir Reynard, with his flattery.
"Ha! Master Raven, ′morrow to you, sir;
How black and glossy! now, upon my word,
I never—beautiful! I do aver.
If but your voice becomes your coat, no bird
More fit to be the Phœnix of our wood—
I hope, sir, I am understood?"
The Raven, flattered by the praise,
Opened his spacious beak, to show his ways
Of singing: down the good cheese fell.
Quick the Fox snapped it. "My dear sir, ′tis well,"
He said. "Know that a flatterer lives
On him to whom his praise he gives;
And, my dear neighbour, an′ you please,
This lesson′s worth a slice of cheese."—
The Raven, vexed at his consenting,
Flew off, too late in his repenting.