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The Two Goats

(Recueil 3, Livre 12, Fable 4)



Since goats have browsed, by freedom fired,

To follow fortune they've aspired.

To pasturage they're wont to roam

Where men are least disposed to come.

If any pathless place there be,

Or cliff, or pendent precipice,

It's there they cut their capers free:

There's nothing can stop these dames, I wis.

Two goats, thus self emancipated,

The white that on their feet they wore

Looked back to noble blood of yore,

Once quit the lowly meadows, sated,

And sought the hills, as it would seem:

In search of luck, by luck they me

Each other at a mountain stream.

As bridge a narrow plank was set,

On which, if truth must be confessed,

Two weasels scarce could go abreast.

And then the torrent, foaming white,

As down it tumbled from the height,

Might well those Amazons affright.

But maugre such a fearful rapid,

Both took the bridge, the goats intrepid!

I seem to see our Louis Grand

And Philip 4. advance

To the Isle of Conference,

That lies "between Spain and France,

Each sturdy for his glorious land.

Thus each of our adventurers goes,

Till foot to foot, and nose to nose,

Somewhere about the midst they meet,

And neither will an inch retreat.

For why? they both enjoyed the glory

Of ancestors in ancient story.

The one, a goat of peerless rank,

Which, browsing on Sicilian bank,

The Cyclop gave to Galataea;

The other famous Amalthaea,

The goat that suckled Jupiter,

As some historians aver.

For want of giving back, in troth,

A common fall involved them both.

A common accident, no doubt,

On Fortune's changeful route.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 12, Fable 4



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