A Prouder Man Than You by Henry Lawson

If you fancy that your people came of better stock than mine,
If you hint of higher breeding by a word or by a sign,
If you’re proud because of fortune or the clever things you do —
Then I’ll play no second fiddle: I’m a prouder man than you!

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If  you think that your profession has the more gentility,
And that you are condescending to be seen along with me;
If you notice that I’m shabby while your clothes are spruce and new —
You have only got to hint it: I’m a prouder man than you!

If you have a swell companion when you see me on the street,
And you think that I’m too common for your toney friend to meet,
So that I, in passing closely, fail to come within your view —
Then be blind to me for ever: I’m a prouder man than you!

If your character be blameless, if your outward past be clean,
While ’tis known my antecedents are not what they should have been,
Do not risk contamination, save your name whate’er you do —
`Birds o’ feather fly together’: I’m a prouder bird than you!

Keep your patronage for others! Gold and station cannot hide
Friendship that can laugh at fortune, friendship that can conquer pride!
Offer this as to an equal — let me see that you are true,
And my wall of pride is shattered: I am not so proud as you!

by Henry Lawson

Apollo And The Fall Of Phaeton( A Greek Myth)

Apollo was one of the greatest gods of ancient Greek mythology. One of the stories about him concerns his human son Phaeton. Each morning Phaeton’s mother, Clymene would point out to the boy the rising of the sun and it’s passing through the sky. This was his father Apollo riding a chariot through the sky. However so magnificent were Clymene’s descriptions of Apollo that Phaeton became very conceited, boasting loudly and often of his divine parentage.

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Sir Peter Paul Rubens (artist)
Flemish, 1577 – 1640
The Fall of Phaeton, c. 1604/1605, probably reworked c. 1606/1608
oil on canvas

Tired of these boasts Phaeton’s playmates urged him to provide proof. Stung by their insults Phaeton learned from his mother how to find Apollo and then set out after the god. When he finally encountered Apollo he timidly entered his presence, and, encouraged by Apollo, poured out his story. As soon as he finished Apollo swore a solemn oath that he would grant his son any proof he wished. He had but to ask.

And ask Phaeton did. He asked permission to drive the sun chariot that very day, sure that his friends would see him and be convinced that Apollo was his father. Apollo was dismayed. Patiently he explained to Phaeton that the four fiery steeds would be beyond Phaeton’s control, that he would kill himself if he tried to drive the chariot. He begged Phaeton to select another proof.

But Phaeton refused to budge from his original request. He wanted to drive the sun chariot, and because Apollo had sworn an oath he could not deny the boy. The hour came when the fiery steeds were ready to go forth. Apollo anointed his son with a cooling oil to protect him from the suns harsh rays, gave him directions, and urged him to watch the steeds with the greatest care, especially to use the whip sparingly as the horses were inclined to be very restive.

Phaeton impatiently listened then leaped into the chariot. For an hour or two he paid heed to his father’s advice and all went well. But, growing overconfident and reckless he drove the horses faster and faster and lost his way. In getting back to course he drove too close to the earth, with disastrous results. The plants shrivelled up, the fountains and rivers went dry, the earth was blackened, and even the people in the land over which he drove were blackened.

Terrified at what he’d done Phaeton drove so far away that all the vegetation which had survived the scorching died on account of the sudden cold.

The people of earth cried out so loudly that the supreme god, Jupiter, was aroused form his sleep. Surveying what had been done he grew furious, took a lightning bolt and hurled it at the conceited Phaeton, killing him instantly.

Phaeton demonstrates the way of foolishness. Refusing to listen to the wiser counsel of others, fools rush headlong on their way, giving little thought to the possible consequences and so often finding themselves stranded in disaster.

Source: Reported in Guerber, The Myths of Greece and Rome

Proud Red Rose

One beautiful spring day a red rose blossomed in a forest. Many kinds of trees and plants grew there. As the rose looked around, a pine tree nearby said, “What a beautiful flower. I wish I was that lovely.” Another tree said, “Dear pine, do not be sad, we can not have everything.”

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The rose turned its head and remarked, “It seems that I am the most beautiful plant in this forest.” A sunflower raised its yellow head and asked, “Why do you say that? In this forest there are many beautiful plants. You are just one of them.” The red rose replied, “I see everyone looking at me and admiring me.” Then the rose looked at a cactus and said, “Look at that ugly plant full of thorns!” The pine tree said, “Red rose, what kind of talk is this? Who can say what beauty is? You have thorns too.”

The proud red rose looked angrily at the pine and said, “I thought you had good taste! You do not know what beauty is at all. You can not compare my thorns to that of the cactus.”

“What a proud flower”, thought the trees.

The rose tried to move its roots away from the cactus, but it could not move. As the days passed,the red rose would look at the cactus and say insulting things, like: This plant is useless? How sorry I am to be his neighbor.

The cactus never got upset and he even tried to advise the rose, saying, “God did not create any form of life without a purpose.”

Spring passed, and the weather became very warm. Life became difficult in the forest, as the plants and animals needed water and no rain fell. The red rose began to wilt. One day the rose saw sparrows stick their beaks into the cactus and then fly away, refreshed. This was puzzling, and the red rose asked the pine tree what the birds were doing. The pine tree explained that the birds got water from the cactus. “Does it not hurt when they make holes?” asked the rose.

“Yes, but the cactus does not like to see any birds suffer,” replied the pine.

The rose opened its eyes in wonder and said, “The cactus has water?”

“Yes you can also drink from it. The sparrow can bring water to you if you ask the cactus for help.”

The red rose felt too ashamed of its past words and behavior to ask for water from the cactus, but then it finally did ask the cactus for help. The cactus kindly agreed and the birds filled their beaks with water and watered the rose’s roots. Thus the rose learned a lesson and never judged anyone by their appearance again.

The Oak Tree

The Oak tree always thought that he was far stronger than the reeds. He said to himself I stand upright in a storm. I don’t bend my head in fear every time the wind blows. But these reeds are really so weak.

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That very night blew a storm and the mighty oak tree was uprooted. Good God! sighed the reeds, our way is better. We bend but we don’t break.

MORAL : Pride hath a fall