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The Hare and the Frogs

(Recueil 1, Livre 2, Fable 14)

 

 

Once in his bed deep mused the hare,

(What else but muse could he do there?)

And soon by gloom was much afflicted;

To gloom the creature's much addicted.

"Alas! these constitutions nervous,"

He cried, "how wretchedly they serve us!

We timid people, by their action,

Can't eat nor sleep with satisfaction;

We can't enjoy a pleasure single,

But with some misery it must mingle.

Myself, for one, am forced by cursed fear

To sleep with open eye as well as ear.

"Correct yourself," says some adviser.

Grows fear, by such advice, the wiser?

Indeed, I well enough descry

That men have fear, as well as I."

With such revolving thoughts our hare

Kept watch in soul consuming care.

A passing shade, or leaflet's quiver

Would give his blood a boiling fever.

Full soon, his melancholy soul

Aroused from dreaming doze

By noise too slight for foes,

He scuds in haste to reach his hole.

He passed a pond; and from its border bogs,

Plunge after plunge, in leaped the timid frogs,

"Aha! I do to them, I see,"

He cried, "what others do to me.

The sight of even me, a hare,

Suffices some, I find, to scare.

And here, the terror of my tramp

Has put to rout, it seems, a camp.

The trembling fools! they take me for

The very thunderbolt of war!

I see, the coward never skulked a foe

That might not scare a coward still below."

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 2, Fable 14

 

 

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