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THE TWO GOATS Livre XII - 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,
'Tis there they cut their capers free:
There's nought can stop these dames, I wis.
Two goats, thus self-emancipated,--
The white that on their feet they wore
Look'd 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 met
Each other at a mountain stream.
As bridge a narrow plank was set,
On which, if truth must be confest,
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[7]
And Philip IV. advance
To the Isle of Conference,[8]
That lies 'twixt 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 enjoy'd the glory
Of ancestors in ancient story.
The one, a goat of peerless rank,
Which, browsing on Sicilian bank,
The Cyclop gave to Galataea;[9]
The other famous Amalthaea,[10]
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.[11]

ancre





W. Aractingy

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