Tuesday, November 16, 2010

La Fontaine: The Ass Dressed in the 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 Martin did his office quick.
Surprised were all who did not know the trick,
To see that Martin, at his will,
Was driving lions to the mill!

In France, the men are not a few
Of whom this fable proves too true;
Whose valour chiefly doth reside
In coat they wear and horse they ride.

Source: Wright's translation of La Fontaine, Fable 5.21.
Asinus in Pelle Leonis

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