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Philomel And Progne

(Recueil 1, Livre 3, Fable 15)



From home and city spires, one day,

The swallow Progne flew away,

And sought the bosky dell

Where sang poor Philomel.

"My sister," Progne said, "how do you do?

It's now a thousand years since you

Have been concealed from human view;

I'm sure I have not seen your face

Once since the times of Thrace.

Pray, will you never quit this dull retreat?"

"Where could I find," said Philomel, "so sweet?"

"What! sweet?" cried Progne sweet to waste

Such tones on beasts devoid of taste,

Or on some rustic, at the most!

Should you by deserts be engrossed?

Come, be the city's pride and boast.

Besides, the woods remind of harms

That Tereus in them did your charms."

"Alas!" replied the bird of song,

"The thought of that so cruel wrong

Makes me, from age to age,

Prefer this hermitage;

For nothing like the sight of men

Can call up what I suffered then."

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 3, Fable 15



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