A vain Goose went around bragging about looks and even compared herself to Swans. Mistake. A Swan showed up to correct the record.
When you brag you only reveal your own faults.
A Goose, affected, empty, vain,
The shrillest of the cackling train,
With proud and elevated crest,
Precedence claimed above the rest.
Says she, ” I laugh at human race,
Who say geese hobble in their pace;
Look here–the slander base detect;
Not haughty man is so erect.
That Peacock yonder, see how vain
The creature’s of his gaudy train.
If both were stripped, I’d pledge my word
A goose would be the finer bird.
Nature, to hide her own defects,
Her bungled work with finery decks.
Were Geese set off with half that show,
Would men admire the Peacock? No!”
Thus vaunting, ‘cross the mead she stalks,
The cackling breed attend her walks;
The sun shot clown his noontide beams,
The Swans were sporting in the streams.
Their snowy plumes and stately pride
Provoked her spleen. “Why, there,” she cried,
“Again, what arrogance we sec I
Those creatures, how they mimic me!
Shall every fowl the waters skim,
Because we geese are kn0wn to swim?
Humility they soon shall learn,
And their own emptiness discern.”
So saying, with extended wings,
Lightly upon the wave she springs;
Her bosom swells, she spreads her plumes,
And the Swan’s stately crest assumes.
Contempt and mockery ensued,
And bursts of laughter shook the flood.
A Swan, superior to the rest,
Sprung forth, and thus the fool addressed:”
Conceited thing, elate with pride,
Thy affectation all deride;
These airs thy awkwardness impart,
And show thee plainly as thou art.
Among thy equals of the flock,
Thou had’st escaped the public mock;
And, as thy parts to good conduce,
Been deemed an honest, hobbling goose.”
Learn hence to study wisdom’s rules;
Know, foppery’s the pride of fools;
And, striving Nature to conceal,
You only her defects reveal.