Jean De La Fontaine

Jean De La Fontaine Poems

  • 1.  
    The Grasshopper, singing
    All summer long, Now found winter stinging,
  • 2.  
    "What have I done to be treated in this way? Mutilated by my own master! A nice state to be in! Dare I present myself before other dogs? O ye kings over the animals, or rather tyrants of them, would any creature do the same to you?"
    Such were the lamentations of poor Fido, a young house-dog, whilst those who were busy cropping his ears remained quite untouched by his piercing and dolorous howls.
  • 3.  
    Upon a sandy, uphill road,
  • 4.  
    A Lion, old, and impotent with gout,
    Would have some cure for age found out. This king, from every species, -
  • 5.  
    A man of middle age, whose hair
    Was bordering on the grey, Began to turn his thoughts and care
  • 6.  
    An Ass in The Lion's skin arrayed
    Made everybody fear. And this was queer,
  • 7.  
    The great are like the maskers of the stage;
  • 8.  
    Once there was a man who loved himself very much, and who permitted himself no rivals in that love. He thought his face and figure the handsomest in all the world. Anything in the shape of a mirror that could show him his own likeness he took care to avoid; for he did not want to be reminded that perhaps he was over-rating his beauty. For this reason he hated looking-glasses and accused them of being false. He made a very great mistake in this respect; but that he did not mind, being quite content to live in the happiness the mistake afforded him.
    To cure him of so grievous an error, officious Fate managed matters in such a way that wherever he turned his eyes they would fall on one of those mute little counsellors that ladies carry and appeal to when they are anxious about their appearance. He found mirrors in the houses; mirrors in the shops; mirrors in the pockets of gallants; mirrors even as ornaments on waist-belts of ladies.
  • 9.  
    Two parts the serpent has -
  • 10.  
    A dove came to a brook to drink,
    When, leaning o'er its crumbling brink, An ant fell in, and vainly tried,
  • 11.  
    Some seek for jokers; I avoid.
  • 12.  
    SOLICITED I've been to give a tale,
    In which (though true, decorum must prevail), The subject from a picture shall arise,
  • 13.  
    I RECOLLECT, that lately much I blamed,
    The sort of lover, avaricious named; And if in opposites we reason see,
  • 14.  
    THE worst of ills, with jealousy compared,
    Are trifling torments ev'ry where declared.
  • 15.  
    SICK, Alice grown, and fearing dire event,
    Some friend advised a servant should be sent Her confessor to bring and ease her mind;--
  • 16.  
    JOHN, as he came, so went away,
    Consuming capital and pay, Holding superfluous riches cheap;
  • 17.  
    NO city I to Rheims would e'er prefer:
    Of France the pride and honour I aver; The Holy Ampoule and delicious wine,
  • 18.  
    TO you, my friends, allow me to detail,
    The feats of monks in Catalonia's vale, Where oft the holy fathers pow'rs displayed,
  • 19.  
    ONCE more permit me, nuns, and this the last;
    I can't resist, whatever may have passed, But must relate, what often I've been told;
  • 20.  
    TO serve the shop as 'prentice was the lot;
    Of one who had the name of Nicaise got; A lad quite ignorant beyond his trade,
  • 21.  
    IN Lombardy's fair land, in days of yore,
    Once dwelt a prince, of youthful charms, a store; Each FAIR, with anxious look, his favours sought,
  • 22.  
    OFT have I seen in wedlock with surprise,
    That most forgot from which true bliss would rise When marriage for a daughter is designed,
  • 23.  
    I AM always inclined to suspect
    The best story under the sun As soon as by chance I detect
  • 24.  
    A COUNTRYMAN, one day, his calf had lost,
    And, seeking it, a neighbouring forest crossed; The tallest tree that in the district grew,
  • 25.  
    TO charms and philters, secret spells and prayers,
    How many round attribute all their cares! In these howe'er I never can believe,
  • 26.  
    WHEN Francis (named the first) o'er Frenchmen reign'd,
    In Italy young Arthur laurels gained, And oft such daring valour showed in fight,
  • 27.  
    THE simple Jane was sent to bring
    Fresh water from the neighb'ring spring; The matter pressed, no time to waste,
  • 28.  
    SOME time ago from Rome, in smart array,
    A younger brother homeward bent his way, Not much improved, as frequently the case
  • 29.  
    FAMED Paris ne'er within its walls had got,
    Such magick charms as were Aminta's lot, Youth, beauty, temper, fortune, she possessed,
  • 30.  
    A CLOISTERED nun had a lover
    Dwelling in the neighb'ring town; Both racked their brains to discover
  • 31.  
    YOUR name with ev'ry pleasure here I place,
    The last effusions of my muse to grace. O charming Phillis! may the same extend
  • 32.  
    NEAR Rome, of yore, close to the Florence road,
    Was seen a humble innkeeper's abode; Small sums were charged; few guests the night would stay;
  • 33.  
    JOHN courts Perrette; but all in vain;
    Love's sweetest oaths, and tears, and sighs All potent spells her heart to gain
  • 34.  
    AXIOCHUS, a handsome youth of old,
    And Alcibiades, (both gay and bold,) So well agreed, they kept a beauteous belle,
  • 35.  
    WHEN William went from home (a trader styled):
    Six months his better half he left with child, A simple, comely, modest, youthful dame,
  • 36.  
    IN life oft ills from self-imprudence spring;
    As proof, Candaules' story we will bring; In folly's scenes the king was truly great:
  • 37.  
    FLORENTINE we now design to show;--
    A greater blockhead ne'er appeared below; It seems a prudent woman he had wed,
  • 38.  
    THE husband's dire mishap, and silly maid,
    In ev'ry age, have proved the fable's aid; The fertile subject never will be dry:
  • 39.  
    WHAT various ways in which a thing is told
    Some truth abuse, while others fiction hold; In stories we invention may admit;
  • 40.  
    EXAMPLE often proves of sov'reign use;
    At other times it cherishes abuse; 'Tis not my purpose, howsoe'er, to tell
  • 41.  
    IN ev'ry age, at Naples, we are told,
    Intrigue and gallantry reign uncontrolled; With beauteous objects in abundance blessed.
  • 42.  
    THE change of food enjoyment is to man;
    In this, t'include the woman is my plan. I cannot guess why Rome will not allow
  • 43.  
    PAINTER in Paphos and Cythera famed
    Depict, I pray, the absent Iris' face. Thou hast not seen the lovely nymph I've named;
  • 44.  
    A STURGEON, once, a glutton famed was led
    To have for supper--all, except the head. With wond'rous glee he feasted on the fish;
  • 45.  
    A CERTAIN pious rector (John his name),
    But little preached, except when vintage came; And then no preparation he required
  • 46.  
    WHEN Venus and Hypocrisy combine,
    Oft pranks are played that show a deep design; Men are but men, and friars full as weak:
  • 47.  
  • 48.  
    WE'RE told, that once a cobbler, BLASE by name;
    A wife had got, whose charms so high in fame;But as it happened, that their cash was spent,
  • 49.  
    HOW weak is man! how changeable his mind!
    His promises are naught, too oft we find;I vowed (I hope in tolerable verse,)
  • 50.  
    A FAMOUS painter, jealous of his wife;
    Whose charms he valued more than fame or life,When going on a journey used his art,
Total 77 poems written by Jean De La Fontaine

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With Rue My Heart Is Laden
 by A. E. Housman

With rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had,
For many a rose-lipt maiden
And many a lightfoot lad.

By brooks too broad for leaping
The lightfoot boys are laid;
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping

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