HomeJean de La FontaineTHE FISH AND THE SHEPHERD WHO PLAYED ON THE CLARIONET

THE FISH AND THE SHEPHERD WHO PLAYED ON THE CLARIONET. Jean de La Fontaine

Tircis, for his loved Annette
Playing on the Clarionet,
Poured forth strains of music, such
As the very dead might touch:—
Played and sang beside a stream
Which through the meadows flowed like some delicious dream.
Meanwhile, Annette, demure and pretty,
With rod and line, on fishes bent,
Stood, listening unto Tircis′ ditty,
Which failed to lure them from their element.
Still Tircis sang, "Come, come, ye fishes, come:
Come from the cool depths of your watery home;
Forsake your naiad, and see one more fair:
Surrender all your lives to Annette′s care!
She is gentle, she is kind;
In her keeping you will find
Your lives more safe than down below.
Safe in a crystal pool, no want you′ll know.
And should you in her keeping die,
Your fate I′d suffer willingly."
Now this song was well sung, and the instrument′s strains
Were deliciously sweet, but, in spite of his pains,
The fishes avoided the charmer′s keen hook.
Then Tircis lost patience, and hastily took
A net called a trammel, and, sweeping the stream,
Placed at Annette′s disposal trout, greyling, and bream.

Oh, shepherds of men, and not of sheep;
Kings, who think you can safely keep
Your subjects in order by rule of right,
Attend to my counsel, and spread out your nets,
Before the time comes for forlorn regrets,
And let them cringe, under the rule of might.


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