The Swan And The Cook.

A poem by Jean de La Fontaine


The pleasures of a poultry yard
Were by a swan and gosling shared.
The swan was kept there for his looks,
The thrifty gosling for the cooks;
The first the garden's pride, the latter
A greater favourite on the platter.
They swam the ditches, side by side,
And oft in sports aquatic vied,
Plunging, splashing far and wide,
With rivalry ne'er satisfied.
One day the cook, named Thirsty John,
Sent for the gosling, took the swan,
In haste his throat to cut,
And put him in the pot.
The bird's complaint resounded
In glorious melody;
Whereat the cook, astounded
His sad mistake to see,
Cried, 'What! make soup of a musician!
Please God, I'll never set such dish on.
No, no; I'll never cut a throat
That sings so sweet a note.'

'Tis thus, whatever peril may alarm us,
Sweet words will never harm us.

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