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THE LION AND THE ASS. Jean de La Fontaine

The King of Animals a battue made
Upon his birthday, bent to fill his bags.
The Lion′s game is not with sparrows played;
But boars of bulk, and good-sized portly stags.
For an ally in this affair,
He had an able minister.
The Ass, with Stentor′s voice, served as his hunting-horn;
The Lion hid deep ′mid the thickest wood,
And ordered him to bray loud as he could;
So that the clamour shrilly borne,
Might drive from every nook and lair
Those not initiated to the sound.
The hideous tempest came; the air
Shook with the dreadful discord; round
It flew, and scared the fiercest forest creatures;
They fled with terror-stricken features.
And fell into the ready snare,
Where the King Lion stood to meet his prey.
"Have I not served thee brave and true?"
The Ass said, taking to himself the palm.
"Yes," quoth the Lion, grave and calm,
"′Twas nobly brayed; I own to you,
Had I not known your name and race,
I had been almost frightened too!"
Had he been rash, the Ass, his rage
Would not have hidden, I′ll engage.
Just was the rallying, though severe;
For who can bear a bragging Ass?
It does not fit their rank or class,
And very ill becomes their business here.

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