<< Home Page | Caxton Index

Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

2.17. Of the ante and of the flye
(Perry 521)

To make boost and auauntynge is but vayne glorye and folye / wherof Esope recyteth suche a fable / Of the ante of formyce and of the flye / whiche stryued to gyder / for to wete whiche was the most noble of them bothe / & the flye sayd to the formyce / Come hyder formyce / wylt thow compare thy self to me that dwelle in the kynges places and palays / and ete and drynke at theyr table / And also I kysse bothe kynge and qeune / and the most fayre maydens / And thow poure and myschaunt beest thow arte euer within the erthe / And thenne the formyce ansuerd to the flye / Now knowe I wel thy vanyte and folye / For thow auauntest the of that wherof thow sholdest disprayse the / For fro alle places where as thow goost or flyest / thow arte hated chaced and put oute / and lyuest in grete daunger / for assone as the wynter shalle come thow shalt deye / And I shal abyde on lyue alone within my chambre or hole / where as I drynke and ete at my playsyr / For the wynter shalle not forgyue to the thy mysdede / but he shalle slee the /
And thus he that wylle mocque or dispreyse somme other / he ought fyrst to loke and behold on hym self wel / For men sayn comynly / who that beholdeth in the glas / wel he seeth hym self / And who seeth hym self / wel he knoweth hym self / And who that knoweth hym self wel / lytel he preyseth hym self / And who that preyseth hym self lytyll / he is ful wyse and sage

Caxton published his edition of Aesop's fables in 1484. There are modern reprints by Joseph Jacobs (D. Nutt: London, 1889) and more recently by Robert Lenaghan (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1967). Lenaghan's edition is available at amazon.com.