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Aesop's Fables: Caxton (1484)

3.5. Of the nyghtyngale and of the sperehawke /
(Perry 567)

He that oppresseth the Innocents shalle haue an euyl ende / wherof Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a sperehawk / whiche dyd put hym within the nest of a nyghtyngale / where he fond the lytyl and yonge byrdes / the nyghtyngale came and perceyued hym / wherfore she praid the sperehawke / sayeng / I requyre and praye the as moche as I may / that thow haue pyte on my smal byrdes / And the sperehawke ansuerd and sayd / yf thow wylt that I graunte the thy request / thow must synge swetely after my wylle and gree And thenne the nyghtyngale beganne to synge swetely / not with the herte / but with the throte onely / For he was soo fylled of sorowe that otherwyse he myght not doo / The sperehawk sayd thenne to the nyghtyngale /\\ This songe playseth me not / And toke one of the yonge byrdes and deuoured hit / And as the sayd sperehawke wold haue deuoured and eten the other came there a hunter whiche dyd caste a grete nette vpon the sperehawke / And whanne she wold haue fleen awey / he myght not / for he was taken /
And therfore he that doth harme & letteth the Innocents / is worthy to deye of euylle dethe / As Caym dyd whiche slewe his broder Abel

Caxton published his edition of Aesop's fables in 1484. There are modern reprints by Joseph Jacobs (D. Nutt: London, 1889) and more recently by Robert Lenaghan (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1967). Lenaghan's edition is available at amazon.com.