La Fontaine fables

La Fontaine fables

Death and the Woodman

A poor wood-chopper, with his stick load, Whom weight of years, as well as load, oppress’d, Sore groaning in his smoky hut to rest, Trudged wearily along his homeward road. At last his wood upon the ground he throws, And sits him down to think o’er all his woes. To…

La Fontaine fables

Education

Lapluck and Cæsar brothers were, descended From dogs by Fame the most commended, Who falling, in their puppyhood, To different masters anciently, One dwelt and hunted in the boundless wood; From thieves the other kept a kitchen free. At first, each had another name; But, by their bringing up, it…

La Fontaine fables

Nothing Too Much

Look where we will throughout creation, We look in vain for moderation. The grain, best gift of Ceres fair, Green waving in the genial air, By overgrowth exhausts the soil; By superfluity of leaves Defrauds the treasure of its sheaves, And mocks the busy farmer’s toil. Not less redundant is…

La Fontaine fables

Philomel and Progne

From home and city spires, one day, The swallow Progne flew away, And sought the bosky dell Where sang poor Philomel. “My sister,” Progne said, “how do you do? ‘Tis now a thousand years since you Have been conceal’d from human view; I’m sure I have not seen your face…

La Fontaine fables

Quarrel of the Dogs and Cats

In mansion deck’d with frieze and column, Dwelt dogs and cats in multitudes; Decrees, promulged in manner solemn, Had pacified their ancient feuds. Their lord had so arranged their meals and labours, And threaten’d quarrels with the whip, That, living in sweet cousinship, They edified their wondering neighbours. At last,…

La Fontaine fables

The Acorn and the Pumpkin

God’s works are good. This truth to prove Around the world I need not move; I do it by the nearest pumpkin. “This fruit so large, on vine so small,” Surveying once, exclaim’d a bumpkin— “What could He mean who made us all? He’s left this pumpkin out of place.…

La Fontaine fables

The Animals Sick of the Plague

The sorest ill that Heaven hath Sent on this lower world in wrath,— The plague (to call it by its name,) One single day of which Would Pluto’s ferryman enrich,— Waged war on beasts, both wild and tame. They died not all, but all were sick: No hunting now, by…

La Fontaine fables

The Ape

There is an ape in Paris, To which was given a wife: Like many a one that marries, This ape, in brutal strife, Soon beat her out of life. Their infant cries,—perhaps not fed,— But cries, I ween, in vain; The father laughs: his wife is dead, And he has…

La Fontaine fables

The Ass and the Dog

Along the road an ass and dog One master following, did jog. Their master slept: meanwhile, the ass Applied his nippers to the grass, Much pleased in such a place to stop, Though there no thistle he could crop. He would not be too delicate, Nor spoil a dinner for…

La Fontaine fables

The Ass and the Little Dog

One’s native talent from its course Cannot be turned aside by force; But poorly apes the country clown The polish’d manners of the town. Their Maker chooses but a few With power of pleasing to imbue; Where wisely leave it we, the mass, Unlike a certain fabled ass, That thought…

La Fontaine fables

The Ass and the Masters

A gardener’s ass complain’d to Destiny Of being made to rise before the dawn. “The cocks their matins have not sung,” said he, “Ere I am up and gone. And all for what? To market herbs, it seems. Fine cause, indeed, to interrupt my dreams!” Fate, moved by such a…

La Fontaine fables

The Ass Carrying Relics

An ass, with relics for his load, Supposed the worship on the road Meant for himself alone, And took on lofty airs, Receiving as his own The incense and the prayers. Some one, who saw his great mistake, Cried, “Master Donkey, do not make Yourself so big a fool. Not…

La Fontaine fables

The Ass Dressed in Lion’s Skin

Clad in a lion’s shaggy hide, An ass spread terror far and wide, And, though himself a coward brute, Put all the world to scampering rout: But, by a piece of evil luck, A portion of an ear outstuck, Which soon reveal’d the error Of all the panic terror. Old…

La Fontaine fables

The Ass Loaded with Sponges

A man, whom I shall call an ass-eteer, His sceptre like some Roman emperor bearing, Drove on two coursers of protracted ear, The one, with sponges laden, briskly faring; The other lifting legs As if he trod on eggs, With constant need of goading, And bags of salt for loading.…

La Fontaine fables

The Bat and the Two Weasels

A blundering bat once stuck her head Into a wakeful weasel’s bed; Whereat the mistress of the house, A deadly foe of rats and mice, Was making ready in a trice To eat the stranger as a mouse. “What! do you dare,” she said, “to creep in The very bed…

La Fontaine fables

The Battle of the Rats and Weasels

The weasels live, no more than cats, On terms of friendship with the rats; And, were it not that these Through doors contrive to squeeze Too narrow for their foes, The animals long-snouted Would long ago have routed, And from the planet scouted Their race, as I suppose. One year…

La Fontaine fables

The Bear and the Two Companions

Two fellows, needing funds, and bold, A bearskin to a furrier sold, Of which the bear was living still, But which they presently would kill— At least they said they would, And vow’d their word was good. The bargain struck upon the skin, Two days at most must bring it…

La Fontaine fables

The Bird Wounded by an Arrow

A bird, with plumèd arrow shot, In dying case deplored her lot: “Alas!” she cried, “the anguish of the thought! This ruin partly by myself was brought! Hard-hearted men! from us to borrow What wings to us the fatal arrow! But mock us not, ye cruel race, For you must…

Page 1 of 6123456