Thursday, September 9, 2010

L'Estrange: A Stag and a Horse

Upon a Dispute betwixt a Stag and a Horse about a Piece of Pasture, the Stag got the better on’t, and beat the other out of the Field. The Horse, upon this Affront, advis’d with a Man what Course to take; who told him, that if he would submit to be bridled and saddled, and take a Man upon his Back with a Lance in his Hand, he would undertake to give him the Satisfaction of a Revenge. The Horse came to his Terms and for the gratifying of a present Passion, made himself a Slave all the Days of his Life. Stesichorus made use of this Fable to divert the Himerenses from chusing Phalaris the Tyrant for their General. This horse’s Case, says he, will be yours, if you go on with your Proposals. ‘Tis true, you’ll have your Revenge, but you’ll lose your Liberties: Upon which Words the Motion fell.

Let every Man make a true Measure of himself, what he is able to do, and what not, before he comes to any peremptory Resolution how to proceed. He is a Madman, that to avoid a present and less Evil, runs blindfold into a greater; and for the gratifying of a froward Humour, makes himself a Slave all the Days of his Life.

Source: L'Estrange 57.
Cervus, Equus et Homo

Click here for a SLIDESHOW of all the Brant images. I really like the way the artist conveys how intense the conflict was between the stag and the horse! The stag is really pushing the horse into an alliance with the man, at such a high cost to the horse.

M0269 Perry269

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