“The Fable of the Bees”

Further to our previous post, here’s “The Moral” of Mandeville’s The Fable of the Bees. The complete text of the poem can be found here.

Then leave Complaints: Fools only strive
To make a Great an honest Hive.
T’ enjoy the World’s Conveniencies,
Befamed in War, yet live in Ease
Without great Vices, is a vain
Eutopia seated in the Brain.
Fraud, Luxury, and Pride must live;
Whilst we the Benefits receive.
Hunger’s a dreadful Plague, no doubt,
Yet who digests or thrives without?
Do we not owe the Growth of Wine
To the dry, crooked, shabby Vine?
Which, whilst its Shutes neglected stood,
Choak’d other Plants, and ran to Wood;
But blest us with its Noble Fruit;
As soon as it was tied, and cut:
So Vice is benefcial found,
When it’s by Justice lopt, and bound;
Nay, where the People would be great,
As necessary to the State,
As Hunger is to make ’em eat.
Bare Vertue can’t make Nations live
In Splendour; they, that would revive A Golden Age, must be as free,
For Acorns, as for Honesty.

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