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Prologue

THE way of writing Esop chose,
Sound doctrine by example shows;
For nothing by these tales is meant
So much as that the bad repent;
And by the pattern that is set,
Due diligence itself should whet.
Wherefore, whatever arch conceit
You in our narratives shall meet
(If with the critic's ear it take,
And for some special purpose make),
Aspires by real use to fame,
Rather than from an author's name.
In fact, with all the care I can,
I shall abide my Esop's plan:
But if at times I intersperse
My own materials in the verse,
That sweet variety may please
The fancy, and attention ease;
Receive it in a friendly way;
Which grace I purpose to repay
By this consciousness of my song;
Whose praises, lest they be too long,
Attend, why you should stint the sneak,
But give the modest, ere they seek.

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