LE CORBEAU ET LE RENARD - I.2THE CROW AND THE FOX
Jean de la Fontainetrans. Gordon Pirie
Maître corbeau, sur un arbre perché,
Tenait en son bec un fromage.
Maître renard, par l'odeur alléché,
Lui tint à peu près ce langage:
"Hé! bonjour, Monsieur du Corbeau.
Que vous êtes joli! que vous me semblez beau!
Sans mentir, si votre ramage
Se rapporte à votre plumage,
Vous êtes le phénix des hôtes de ces bois."



À ces mots, le corbeau ne se sent pas de joie;
Et pour montrer sa belle voix,
Il ouvre un large bec, laisse tomber sa proie.
Le renard s'en saisit, et dit: "Mon bon monsieur,
Apprenez que tout flatteur
Vit aux dépens de celui qui l'écoute.
Cette leçon vaut bien un fromage sans doute."
Le corbeau honteux et confus,
Jura, mais un peu tard, qu'on ne l'y prendrait plus.
On a branch there sat a crow,
In her beak a cheese.
An envious fox stood down below
And called, in some such terms as these:
"Madam, I swear I've never seen
Such glossy plumage, such a lovely sheen
Of green on black - or is it black on green?
In any case, I long to know
Whether it's all just outward show,
And you've a caw like any common crow;
Or whether, as I rather think,
Feathers so fine
Imply a voice no less divine."
The crow, at this, was tickled pink
And opened her great beak to show
That what the fox inferred indeed was so.
Down fell the cheese, and seizing it
The fox said: "Madam, you should know
A flatterer is a kind of parasite
That lives off anyone who'll listen.
Your cheese, I'm sure you will agree,
Is a really quite a modest fee
For such a useful lesson."
The fox had made the moral plain,
And all the crow could do,
As he withdrew,
Was swear she'd not be fooled like that again.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright Estate of Gordon Pirie 2002


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