The Coal And The Diamond

A Diamond was berating Coal boasting about its shine. Coal replied that they were related and, reddening in the fire, said he could both shine and heat.

Don’t boast.


JN Fable 017

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: H. White (1828)

A Coal was hid beneath the grate,
‘Tis often modest merit’s fate,
‘Twas small, and so perhaps forgotten;
Whilst in the room, and near in size,
In a fine casket lin’d with cotton,
In pomp and state a Diamond lies:
‘So, little gentleman in black,’
The brilliant spark in anger cried,
‘I hear, in philosophic clack,
‘Our families are close allied;
‘But, know, the splendour of my hue,
‘Excell’d by nothing in existence,
‘Should teach such little folks as you,
‘To keep a more respectful distance.’
At these reflections on his name,
The Coal soon redden’d to a flame:
Of his own real use aware,
He only answer’d with a sneer,
‘I scorn your taunts, good Bishop Blaze,
‘And envy not your charms divine,
‘For, know, I boast a double praise,
‘As I can warm as well as shine.’
New Monthly Mag

JN Fable 017a

Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828); Engraving: J. Jackson (1828)