HomeJean de La FontaineTHE QUARREL OF THE DOGS AND THE CATS; AND, ALSO, THAT OF THE CATS AND THE MICE

THE QUARREL OF THE DOGS AND THE CATS; AND, ALSO, THAT OF THE CATS AND THE MICE. Jean de La Fontaine

Discord has always ruled this universe;
Our world of this could many facts rehearse.
This goddess over countless subjects reigns;
The elements not Jupiter himself restrains;
Nor these four potentates alone wage war:
In many races there′s a ceaseless jar.
A house once, full of Dogs and Cats, grew free
Of strife, at last, by many a grave decree.
The master fixed their hours, and every meal,
And let the quarrelsome his horsewhip feel.
They live, at last, like cousins, almost brothers,
And furnish quite examples to all others.
At length peace ended;—some stray tempting bone,
Some broth, or little preference to one shown,
Made both belligerents half crazy run.
To plead the grievous injury that′s done,
I′ve heard that learned writers of old law
Attribute this to some small legal flaw.
Be what it might, they both made angry claims,
And set the kitchen and the hall in flames.
Some loud for Dog and some for Cat cried out:
The Cats went mewing, the Dogs whined about.
They deafened every one. Cats′ advocate
Referred to the decree; and the debate
Ceased at that word; but still they searched in vain
Where it was hid, and sought and sought again.
The Mice had eaten it; then, lo, once more
The Mice were sufferers—many, many a score
The old Cats swallowed—some, with cruel claws,
Expounded to the Mice their code of laws;
Laid ambuscades; caught them in many ways,
And from their master obtained food and praise.
Mais à nos moutons. Not beneath the skies
Lives there a creature without enemies.
′Tis Nature′s law; and how is purblind man
The secret of Gods mysteries to scan?
It is God′s will; further I do not go:
We waste our time in trying but to know.
Man is, at sixty years, a wondering fool,
Fit to be whipped, and sent again to school.

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