That innocence is not a shield, A story teaches, not the longest. The strongest reasons always yield To reasons of the strongest.
A lamb her thirst was slaking Once at a mountain rill. A hungry wolf was taking His hunt for sheep to kill,When, spying on the streamlet's brink This sheep of tender age, He howl'd in tones of rage,How dare you roil my drink?Your impudence I shall chastise!Let not your majesty, the lamb replies, Decide in haste or passion!For sure 'tis difficult to think In what respect or fashionMy drinking here could roil your drink,Since on the stream your majesty now facesI'm lower down full twenty paces. You roil it, said the wolf; and, more, I know You cursed and slander'd me a year ago. O no! how could I such a thing have done! A lamb that has not seen a year, A suckling of its mother dear?Your brother then. But brother I have none. Well, well, what's all the same, Twas some one of your name. Sheep, men, and dogs of every nation, Are wont to stab my reputation, As I have truly heard. Without another word, He made his vengeance good -- Bore off the lambkin to the wood,And there, without a jury,Judged, slew, and ate her in his fury.