Wednesday, October 6, 2010

La Fontaine: The Sick Lion and the Fox

Sick in his den, we understand,
The king of beasts sent out command
That of his vassals every sort
Should send some deputies to court--
With promise well to treat
Each deputy and suite;
On faith of lion, duly written,
None should be scratch'd, much less be bitten.
The royal will was executed,
And some from every tribe deputed;
The foxes, only, would not come.
One thus explain'd their choice of home:--
'Of those who seek the court, we learn,
The tracks upon the sand
Have one direction, and
Not one betokens a return.
This fact begetting some distrust,
His majesty at present must
Excuse us from his great levee.
His plighted word is good, no doubt;
But while how beasts get in we see,
We do not see how they get out.'

Source: Wright's translation of La Fontaine, Fable 6.14.
leo et vulpes

Click here for a SLIDESHOW of all the colored Steinhowel images. You can see the artist has even drawn in some of those tell-tale animal tracks!

M0025 Perry142

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