by George Herbert

George Herbert

I saw the Vertues sitting hand in hand
In sev'rall ranks upon an azure throne,
Where all the beasts and fowls, by their command,
Presented tokens of submission.
Humilitie, who sat the lowest there
To execute their call,
When by the beast the presents tendred were,
Gave them about to all.
The angrie Lion did present his paw,
Which by consent was giv'n to Mansuetude.
The fearfull Hare her eares, which by their law
Humilitie did reach to Fortitude.
The jealous Turkie brought his corall-chain,
That went to Temperance.
On Justice was bestow'd the Fox's brain,
Kill'd in the way by chance.
At length the Crow, bringing the Peacock's plume,
(For he would not) as they beheld the grace
Of that brave gift, each one began to fume.
And challenge it, as proper to his place,
Till they fell out; which when the beasts espied,
They leapt upon the throne;
And if the Fox had liv'd to rule their side,
They had depos'd each one.
Humilitie, who held the plume, at this
Did weep so fast, that the tears trickling down
Spoil'd all the train: then saying, Here it is
For which ye wrangle,
made them turn their frown
Against the beasts: so jointly bandying,
They drive them soon away;
And then amerc'd them, double gifts to bring
At the next Session-day.

Last updated January 14, 2019