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The Partridge and the Cocks

(Recueil 2, Livre 10, Fable 7)



With a set of uncivil and turbulent cocks,

That deserved for their noise to be put in the stocks,

A partridge was placed to be reared.

Her sex, by politeness revered,

Made her hope, from a gentry devoted to love,

For the courtesy due to the tenderest dove;

Nay, protection chivalric from knights of the yard.

That gentry, however, with little regard

For the honours and knighthood wherewith they were decked,

And for the strange lady as little respect,

Her ladyship often most horribly pecked.

At first, she was greatly afflicted therefor,

But when she had noticed these madcaps at war

With each other, and dealing far bloodier blows,

Consoling her own individual woes,

"Entailed by their customs," said she, "is the shame;

Let us pity the simpletons rather than blame.

Our Maker creates not all spirits the same;

The cocks and the partridges certainly differ,

By a nature than laws of civility stiffer.

Were the choice to be mine, I would finish my life

In society freer from riot and strife.

But the lord of this soil has a different plan;

His tunnel our race to captivity brings,

He throws us with cocks, after clipping our wings.

It's little we have to complain of but man."

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 10, Fable 7



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