A Lark was caught and sentenced to death. The Lark complained that punishment did not fit the crime as all he took was a grain of corn; not jewels. Too bad.
When your adversary is also your judge, don’t bother arguing.
JBR Collection (The Fowler and The Lark)
A Lark, caught in a snare, pleaded earnestly with the Fowler for her life. “What have I done that I must die?” said she; “I have stolen neither gold nor silver, but only a grain of corn to satisfy my hunger.” The Man, without deigning any reply, twisted her neck and threw her into his sack.
A poor lark enter’d into a miserable expostulation with a bird-catcher, that had taken her in his net, and was just about to put her to death. Alas (says she) what am I to dye for now? I am no thief; I have stoln neither gold, nor silver; but for making bold with one pityful grain of corn am I now to suffer.
‘Tis to no purpose to stand reasoning where the adversary is both party and judge.
Samuel Croxall (The Fowler and the Lark)
A FOWLER set snares to catch Larks in the open field. A Lark was caught; and finding herself entangled, could not forbear lamenting her hard fate. Ah! woe is me, says she, what crime have I committed? I have taken neither silver nor gold, nor any thing of value; but must die only for eating a poor grain of wheat.
The irregular administration of justice in the world, is indeed a very melancholy subject to think of. A poor fellow shall be hanged for stealing a sheep, perhaps to keep his family from starving; while one, who is already great and opulent, shall, for that very reason, think himself privileged to commit almost any enormities. But it is necessary that a show and form of justice should be kept up; otherwise, were people to be ever so great, and so successful rogues, they would not be able to keep possession of, and enjoy their plunder. One of our poets, in his description of a court of justice, calls it a place,
Where little villains must submit to fate,
That great ones may enjoy the world in state.
What a sad thing it is to reflect (and the more sad, because not to be remedied) that a man may rob the public of millions, and escape at last; when he that is taken picking a pocket of five shillings, unless he knows how to make a friend, is sure to swing for it!
Galerita Laqueo Capta
Galerita, cum laqueo capta esset, “Heu me miseram,” plorans aiebat, “atque infelicissimam volucrem! Aurum nemini, nec argentum, nec quidquam aliud pretiosum surripui, atqui parvum tritici granum mortis mihi causa fuit.”