Sunday, May 28, 2023

Roger L'Estrange (3)

Here are some more fables from Roger L'Estrange's Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists, and you can click here for all the L'Estrange fables at this blog.

Two Travellers find an Oyster
As Two Men were Walking by the Sea-Side, at a Low-water, they saw an Oyster, and they both Pointed at it together: The One Stoops to take it up; the other gives him a Push, and tells him, 'tis not yet Decided whether it shall be Yours or Mine. In the Interim, while they were Disputing their Title to't, comes a Passenger that way, and to him they referr'd the Matter by Consent, which of the Two had the Better Right to the Oyster. The Arbitrator very Gravely takes out his Knife, and Opens it; the Plaintiff and Defendant at the same time Gaping at the Man, to see what would come on't. He Loosens the Fish, Gulps it down, and so soon as ever the Morsel was gone the way of all Flesh, wipes his Mouth, and Pronounces Judgment. My Masters, (says he, with the Voice of Authority), The Court has Order'd each of ye a Shell, without Costs; and so pray go Home again, and Live Peaceably among your Neighbours.
Referees and Arbitrators seldom forget Themselves.

Viatores et Ostreum

A Mouse and a Kite
A Simple Mouse had the Fortune to be near at hand, when a Kite was taken in a Net. The Kite begg'd of her to try if she could help her out. The Mouse gnaw'd a Hole in't, and set her at Liberty; and the Kite eat up the Mouse for her pains.
Save a Thief from the Gallows, and he'll cut your Throat.

A Wolf and a Porcupine
Your Porcupine and your Hedge-Hog, are somewhat alike, only the Former has longer and sharper Prickles than the Other; and these Prickles he can shoot and dart at an Enemy. There was a Wolf had a mind to be dealing with him, if he could but get him disarm'd first; and so he told the Porcupine in a friendly way, that it did not look well for People in a Time of Peace, to go Arm'd, as if they were in a Seate of War; and so advis'd him to lay his Bristles aside; for (says he) you may take them up at pleasure. Do you talk of a State of War? says the Porcupine, why, that's my present Case, and the very Reason of my standing to my Arms, so long as a Wolf is in Company.

A Gard'ner and a Mole
A Gard'ner took a Mole in his Grounds, and the Question was, whether he should put her to Death or no. The Mole Pleaded that she was one of his Family, and Digg'd his Garden for Nothing: Nay, she Insisted upon't, what Pity 'twas to Destroy a Creature that had so smooth a Skin, and Twenty other Little Pretences. Come, come, says the Gardner, I am not to be Fool'd with a Parcel of Fair Words: You have Nothing for Digging 'tis True; but pray who set you at Work? Is it for my Service d'ye think, to have my Plants and my Herbs torn up by the Roots? And what's your business at last, but by doing all you can for the filling of your own Belly, to leave me nothing to Eat?
'Tis according to the Course of those Kind Offices in the World, which we call Friendship, to do one another Good for our Own Sakes.

A Fox and a Divining Cock
A Fox that had spy'd out a Cock at Roost upon a Tree, and out of his Reach, fell all of a sudden into an Extravagant Fit of Kindness for him; and to Enlarge upon the Wonderful Esteem he had for the Faculties and good Graces of the Bird, but more particularly for his Skill in Divination, and the Foreknowledge of Things to come. Oh (says he) that I were but Worthy the Friendship of so great a Prophet! This Flattery brought the Cock down from the Tree into the very Mouth of the Fox, and so away he Trudges with him into the Woods; reflecting still as he went, upon the strange Force that Fair Words have upon vain Fools: For this Sot of a Cock (says he) to take himself for a Diviner, and yet not foresee at the same time, that if he fell into my Clutches, I should certainly make a Supper of him.
A Fool that will Swallow Flattery, shall never want a Knave to give it him.

Gallus et Vulpes

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Jean Baptiste Perrin (1)

Jean Baptiste Perrin was an 18th-century French author and educator who worked as a French teacher in Ireland. This edition of Perrin's fables features an interlinear presentation of the French fables and an English translation by Antoine (Anthony) Bolmar, a 19th-century French educator and author. I have transcribed the English translation below, and you can read the French online at the Internet Archive: A Selection of One Hundred of Perrin's Fables.

Here are five of his fables:

The Cat, the Rat, and the Bat
A cat, having been taken in a net, promised a  Rat which delivered him from it that he would eat no more rats or mice.
It happened one day that he caught a Bat in a barn.
The Cat was embarrassed at first, but a moment after he said, "I dare not eat thee as a mouse, I will eat thee as a bird."
With this conscientious distinction, he made a good repast of the Bat.
Knaves are never at a loss for pretexts or reasons to justify their injustice.

The Two Frogs
Two Frogs, no longer being able to remain in their fen, which had been dried up by the heat of the summer, agreed to go together and look for some water elsewhere. After having traveled far, they came to a well.
"Come," said the one to the other, "let us go down without seeking farther."
"You speak very much at your ease," said her companion, "but if the water should fail us here, how could we get out?"

The Monkey
"What a low and tiresome life is that which I lead in the forest with stupid animals, I who am the image of man!" exclaimed a Monkey, disgusted with living in the woods. "I must go and live in the cities with people who resemble me, and who are civilized." He thither went, but he repented soon: he was taken, chained, mocked, and insulted. 

The Ass and the Wild Boar
An Ass had the impertinence to follow a Wild Boar and to bray at him in order to insult him. That courageous animal was at first irritated, but turning his head and seeing whence came the insult, he continued tranquilly on his way, not honoring the Ass with a single word.

The Eagle and his Eaglets
An Eagle rose with his Eaglets to the clouds. "How you stare at the sun!" said the little ones. "It does not dazzle you." 
"My sons," replied the king of the birds, "my father, my grandfather, great-grandfather, and my ancestors hvae looked at the sun in the same way; follow their example and mine, and the sun will never be able to make you close your eyes."

John Ogilby (1)

lJohn Ogilby's fables in verse is one of the major Aesopic projects of the 17th century. You can read more about Ogilby's life and career at Wikipedia. The first edition of Ogilby's fables featured engravings by Francis Cleyn; the later 1668 edition (which you can find online at the Internet Archive) features engravings by Wenceslaus Hollar, which you will see below.

Here are five of Ogilby's verse fables:

Of the Bear and the Bees

Bruine the Bear receiving a slight Wound
From a too waspish Bee,
Joyful to raise a War on any ground,
(It was their Wealth had done the injury)
Did now propound,
And to himself decree,
Ne'r to return, till he had overthrown
Twelve Waxen Cities of that Nation,
And seiz'd their Honey-Treasure as his own.

This being resolv'd, he to the Garden goes,
Where stood the stately Hives,
One, after one, the Barbarous overthrows,
And many Citizens of Life deprives:
A few survives,
Who in a Body close;
For your everted Towr's, your slaughter'd Race,
For your great Losses, and your high Disgrace,
Fix all your venom'd Weapons in his Face.
This said, the Trumpet sounds, the Vulgar rage,
And all at once in mighty War ingage.

Now Bruine's ugly Visage did not freeze,
Nor his foul hands want Groves;
The monstrous Bear you could not see for Bees,
No Bacon Gamon was so stuck with Cloves:
Who Honey loves
Not with Sharp Sawce agrees.
Ore-power'd by multitude, and almost slain,
He draws his shatter'd Forces off again;
Then said; I better had endur'd the pain
Of one sharp Sting, than thus to suffer all;
Making a Private Quarrel National.

Great Kings, that petty Princes did despise,
Have oft by War's Experience grown Wise:
Who whip'd the Sea, and threatned Floods to Chain,
Brought back for Millions but a slender Train.

Of the Hawk and the Cuckow

Unworthy Bird, base Cuckow, thou that art
Large as my self in every part,
Strength, length, and colour of thy Wing,
Mine much resembling;
Whose narrow Soul, whose no or little Heart,
Will to thy board
Nothing but Worms of Putrefaction bred;
Which of the Noblest Mortals are abhorr'd,
Since they must turn to such when they are dead;
Mount, gorge thy self with some delicious Bird;
Be wise,
Such Banquets leave for Daws, and silly Pies.
Thus the bold Hawk the Cuckow did advise.

Who not long after taken in the Field,
Having a harmless Pidgeon kill'd.
Was in a most unlucky hour
Hung from a lofty Tow'r;
To teach all those, who blood of Innocents spill'd.
The Cuckow saw,
by Law
The Murtheress suffer'd; when these Notes she sung;
Better with Worms to fill my hungry Maw,
Then betwixt Heaven and Earth by th' heels be Hung,
And a Cold Bird ly in my Stomach Raw.
Had I Thy Counsel took, and forrag'd through the Sky,
There had I hang'd with thee for Company.

Some without Conscience plunger, spoyl, and kill,
As if for Bloody Banquest were no Bill:
But Vengeance Spring-tides hath, as well as Neap,
When Malefactors short from Ladders leap.

Of the Rustick and Hercules

O Thou that didst so many Monsters kill,
And of twelve labours didst none ill,
Help, if it be thy will.
O thou that forc'd fire-spitting Cacus Den,
And got'st' thy Cattel then,
Though mine I ne'r could have agen.
Alcides, thou that art the strongest God,
Help with thy long Arms out, and Shoulders broad,
My Wheels, which stick up to the Nave in Mire:
Ah! 'tis a mighty Load,
Help, I desire,
Or here I will expire.
In a deep Tract his Cart being lodg'd thus prayd
A lazy Swan to Hercules for Aid.

When thus the Deity in a mighty Crack
Of Thunder to the Rustick spake,
Then lying on his back;
Fool, whip thy pamper'd Horses up the Hill,
Thy Shoulder lay to th' Wheel,
And there use all thy Strength and Skill:
Not only me whom now thou dost Invoke,
But then expect a God at every Spoke
To thy assistance, who offended be,
When they implor'd shall look
From Heaven, and see
 A heavy Clown like thee.

Under the Tropicks more refined Souls
Cherish old Piety: but neer the Poles
Men follow War, Sail, Bargain, Sow, and Reap,
And no Religion love, but what is Cheap.

Of the Fox and Ape

The French Ape gives the Fox of Spain Bon jour
Three Congees, and Tres humble Serviture:
Then thus begins; In France we not indure
To see long Cloaks, all there
Go in the shortest Wear,
But your large Fashion is the Statelier sure.
Pardonne moy, as we are all too short,
In Curtail'd Garments, A la modes o' th' Court,
So with th' other Extreme, yours sir, doth sort.
Be pleas'd to wear your Fur
A little shorter, Sir;
'T will be as grave, and suit well with your Port.
Seignour, I know your Taylor is not here,
My Apeship's Workman, quickly with his Share
Shall cut you shorter, and my Self will wear
The remnant of your Train,
Comfortable to Spain:
And then Don Diegoes both we shall appear.

Si Sennor, said the Fox, we Dons of Spain
Are constant to our Fashion, such a Train
My Father's Father wore; and to be plain,
This Long Wear I will keep,
Though it the Kennel sweep:
Rather than Give an Inch to Monsieur Vain.

Heaven to each nation several Genius gave;
The French too Airy, Spaniards seem too Grave:
City, the Country; Courtiers both despise;
Civil, and Rude, most their own Manners prise.

Of the Fox and the Lion

Oh! all you Gods and Goddesses that dwell
In Heaven and Earth, in Heaven, Earth, Sea, and Hell.
If all your Power Conjoyn'd can one Protect,
Save the poor Fox,
Nor Prayer reject.
What is it I behold?
His shaggy Locks,
Are prest with shining Gold.
It is the Lion; See! his spreading Robe
Covers at least half the Terrestrial Globe:
Terror of Beasts and Man,
Whose hard Teeth can
Crack Brazen bones of the Leviathan.
Help, help, if me he not in pieces tears,
I shall in sunder Shake with my own Fears.

At first the Fox thus Trembled to behold
the Scepter'd Lion, Arm'd and Crown'd with Gold.
But when the King the second time he saw
Hunting in green,
Not so much Awe
Did in his Looks appear,
Less Majesty in's Mein,
Then Reynard drew more neer;
But the third day the bold Beast had the Face
To come up close, and cry'd, Jove save your Grace.
At last so need did stand,
He kist his Hand,
Soon after did the Royal Ear Command,
In which he said; Custome makes Mortals Bold,
To Play with that they durst not once behold.

Who Hate to Draw a Sword, and Guns abhor,
Custome hath made most Valiant Men of War.
Love's Novice so, trembling, fresh Beauty storms,
Which soon lies ruffled in his Conquering Arms.