The Paper Kite

A paper Kite, flying high, wanted its freedom but was bound by string. The string broke and the Kite found while free, it could not fly!

Watch what you ask for; you might get your wish.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

Once on a time a Paper Kite
Was mounted to a wond’rous height;
Where, giddy with its elevation,
It thus expressed self-admiration:–
“See how yon crowds of gaping people
Admire my flight above the steeple;
How would they wonder if they knew
All that a Kite like me could do!
Were I but free, I’d take a flight,
And pierce the clouds beyond their sight;
But, ah! like a poor pris’ner bound,
My string confines me near the ground–
I’d brave the eagle’s tow‘ring wing,
Might I but fly without a string.”
It tugged and pulled, while thus it spoke,
To break the string–at last it broke;
Deprived at once of all its stay,
In vain it tried to soar away:
Unable its own weight to bear,
It fluttered downwards through the air;
Unable its 0wn course to guide,
The winds soon plunged it in the tide.
Oh, foolish Kite! thou hadst no wing;
How couldst thou fly without a string?
My heart replied, “O Lord, I see
How much the Kite resembles me.
Forgetful that by Thee I stand,
Impatient of Thy ruling hand;
How oft I’ve wished to break the lines
Thy wisdom for my lot assigns!
How oft indulged a vain desire
For something more, or something higher!
And but for grace and love divine,
A fall thus dreadful had been mine.”


[Note: The Northcote fable is the same poem as in the JBR Collection above. Only the illustrations associated with the fable in the Northcote book are displayed here.]

JN Fable 027

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: D. Dodd (1828)

JN Fable 027a

Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828)