The Cock And The Fox.

A poem by Jean de La Fontaine

[1]

Upon a tree there mounted guard
A veteran cock, adroit and cunning;
When to the roots a fox up running,
Spoke thus, in tones of kind regard: -
'Our quarrel, brother, 's at an end;
Henceforth I hope to live your friend;
For peace now reigns
Throughout the animal domains.
I bear the news: - come down, I pray,
And give me the embrace fraternal;
And please, my brother, don't delay.
So much the tidings do concern all,
That I must spread them far to-day.
Now you and yours can take your walks
Without a fear or thought of hawks.
And should you clash with them or others,
In us you'll find the best of brothers; -
For which you may, this joyful night,
Your merry bonfires light.
But, first, let's seal the bliss
With one fraternal kiss.'
'Good friend,' the cock replied, 'upon my word,
A better thing I never heard;
And doubly I rejoice
To hear it from your voice;
And, really there must be something in it,
For yonder come two greyhounds, which I flatter
Myself are couriers on this very matter.
They come so fast, they'll be here in a minute.
I'll down, and all of us will seal the blessing
With general kissing and caressing.'
'Adieu,' said fox; 'my errand's pressing;
I'll hurry on my way,
And we'll rejoice some other day.'
So off the fellow scamper'd, quick and light,
To gain the fox-holes of a neighbouring height,
Less happy in his stratagem than flight.
The cock laugh'd sweetly in his sleeve; -
'Tis doubly sweet deceiver to deceive.

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