Abstemius's Fables (Sir Roger L'Estrange)
291. (Abstemius 39) A Fowler and a Chaffinch.
A Fowler that had bent his Net, and laid his Bait, planted himself in the Bird-Catcher's Place, to watch for a Draught. There came a great many Birds one after another, that lighted, and peck'd a while, and so away again. At this rate they kept coming and going all the Day long; but so few at a time, that the Man did not think them worth a Pluck. At last, when he had slipt all his Opportunities in hope a better Hit, the Evening came on, and the Birds were gone to Bed, so that he must either Draw then or not at all; and in the conclusion, he was e'en fain to content himself with the one single Chaffinch, that had the Misfortune to be later abroad than her Fellows.
Men are so greedy after what's to come, which is uncertain, that the slip present Opportunities, which are never to be recover'd.
Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists: Abstemius's Fables by Sir Roger L'Estrange. Available online at Google Books.