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The Ears of the Hare

(Recueil 1, Livre 5, Fable 4)



Some beast with horns did gore

The lion; and that sovereign dread,

Resolved to suffer so no more,

Straight banished from his realm, it's said,

All sorts of beasts with horns

Rams, bulls, goats, stags, and unicorns.

Such brutes all promptly fled.

A hare, the shadow of his ears perceiving,

Could hardly help believing

That some vile spy for horns would take them,

And food for accusation make them.

"Adieu," said he, "my neighbour cricket;

I take my foreign ticket.

My ears, should I stay here,

Will turn to horns, I fear;

And were they shorter than a bird's,

I fear the effect of words."

"These horns!" the cricket answered; "why,

God made them ears who can deny?"

"Yes," said the coward, "still they'll make them horns,

And horns, perhaps of unicorns!

In vain shall I protest,

With all the learning of the schools:

My reasons they will send to rest

In the Hospital of Fools.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 5, Fable 4



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