The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)/The Viper and the Blood-Sucker
THE VIPER AND THE BLOOD-SUCKER.
Once to the leech the viper said—
"How different is our lot!
They who love you would wish me dead;
Men like me not.
They seem to bear for me some spite,
While on their blood they let you feed.
Like you, I only give a bite;
I do, like you, but make them bleed."
"But my dear friend," the leech replied,
"I bite to heal, but you to kill;
How many patients would have died
But for the virtue of my skill!
While well men are destroy'd by you,
The health of sick men I renew.
The difference 'tween us is, in chief,
Your bite is poison, mine, relief.
My tale would thus hold up to view,
What few have fail'd to see, I wist—
The leech presents the Critic true;
The viper is the Satirist.