HomeJean de La FontaineThe Dog which Carried Round His Neck His Master′s Dinner

THE DOG WHICH CARRIED ROUND HIS NECK HIS MASTER′S DINNER. Jean de La Fontaine

The Dog which Carried Round His Neck His Master′s Dinner. Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1751

The Dog which Carried Round His Neck His Master′s Dinner. Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1751

Few eyes are against beauty proof;
Few hands from gold can keep aloof;
Few people guard a treasure well,
Or of strict faithfulness can tell.
A certain Dog, true, brave, and stout,
Carried his master′s dinner out.
This self-denial pressed him hard,
When he had dainty food to guard:
Yet long he kept it safe and sound.
Well, we are tempted oft, ′tis found,
By good things near us! Strange, we learn
From dogs, and yet we hopeless turn
From men when temperance is in view!
One day this Dog, so staunch and true,
A mastiff met, who wished to seize
The dinner. Not so, if you please.
The Dog put down the food, to fight
A mighty combat. Left and right
Came other dogs,—mere thieves and foes,
Who cared not for the hardest blows.
Our Dog, who dreaded every stranger,
And saw the food was much in danger,
Wanted his share. "Come, gentlemen,
This rabbit does for me; now, then,
You take the rest!" so he leaped on it,
And then the others fell upon it.
He snapped the best, and then they flew
And shared the plunder,—the whole crew.
So, sometimes, when they yield a town,
And soldiers burghers trample down,
Sheriffs and provosts are the worst
To rob and pillage, being first:

Pleasant to see them pistoles seize,
Filling their purses at their ease!
And if, by chance, to one more cool
Some scruples come, they call him fool:
Then he repents him of the blunder,
And is the first to lead the plunder.

The dog who carries his master's dinner round his neck. Oil painting of La Fontaine's Fable. Joseph Stevens, 1846

The dog who carries his master's dinner round his neck. Oil painting of La Fontaine's Fable. Joseph Stevens, 1846


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