Epilogue To Book XI.

A poem by Jean de La Fontaine

'Tis thus, by crystal fount, my muse hath sung,
Translating into heavenly tongue
Whatever came within my reach,
From hosts of beings borr'wing nature's speech.
Interpreter of tribes diverse,
I've made them actors on my motley stage;
For in this boundless universe
There's none that talketh, simpleton or sage,
More eloquent at home than in my verse.
If some should find themselves by me the worse,
And this my work prove not a model true,
To that which I at least rough-hew,
Succeeding hands will give the finish due.
Ye pets of those sweet sisters nine,
Complete the task that I resign;
The lessons give, which doubtless I've omitted,
With wings by these inventions nicely fitted!
But you're already more than occupied;
For while my muse her harmless work hath plied,
All Europe to our sovereign yields,[1]
And learns, upon her battle-fields,
To bow before the noblest plan
That ever monarch form'd, or man.
Thence draw those sisters themes sublime,
With power to conquer Fate and Time.

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