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Education

(Recueil 2, Livre 8, Fable 24)

 

 

Lapluck and Caesar 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 came,

While one improved on his nature,

The other grew a sordid creature,

Till, by some scullion called Lapluck,

The name ungracious ever stuck.

To high exploits his brother grew,

Put many a stag at bay, and tore

Full many a trophy from the boar;

In short, him first, of all his crew,

The world as Caesar knew;

And care was had, lest, by a baser mate,

His noble blood should ever degenerate.

Not so with his neglected brother;

He made whatever came a mother;

And, by the laws of population,

His race became a countless nation

The common turnspits throughout France

Where danger is, they don't advance

Precisely the antipodes

Of what we call the Caesars, these!

Often falls the son below his sire's estate:

Through want of care all things degenerate.

For lack of nursing Nature and her gifts.

What crowds from gods become mere kitchen thrifts!

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 8, Fable 24

 

 

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