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PHILOMEL AND PROGNE. Jean de La Fontaine

PHILOMEL AND PROGNE. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

PHILOMEL AND PROGNE. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

Progne, the Swallow, set forth from her dwelling,
And, leaving the cities afar, took flight
For the grove that Philomel chose for telling
Her ancient griefs to the listening night.
"Sister," said Progne, "I have not met you
For nearly the space of a thousand years.
Why are we parted? I cannot forget you,
Nor banish our Thracian trials and tears.
Come, leave this wood; it is dark and lonely."
"What haunt could be pleasanter?" Philomel asked.
"And is it," said Progne, "for animals only,
Or peasants at best, that your efforts are tasked?
With a note so rich ′tis a thousand pities
To scatter its charms to the desert air.
Come, quit this grove to delight our cities,
And waste no longer a gift so rare.
These woods, my sister, must oft remind you
Of all the sorrow King Tereus wrought.
Leave, leave the terrible days behind you,
And give to the past not a tearful thought."
"′Tis the memory, dear, of our Thracian troubles,"
Said Philomel, sadly, "that bids me stay;
For the sight of humanity only doubles
The grief of the times that have passed away!"


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