The Wolves And The Sheep.

A poem by Jean de La Fontaine

[1]

By-gone a thousand years of war,
The wearers of the fleece
And wolves at last made peace;
Which both appear'd the better for;
For if the wolves had now and then
Eat up a straggling ewe or wether,
As often had the shepherd men
Turn'd wolf-skins into leather.
Fear always spoil'd the verdant herbage,
And so it did the bloody carnage.
Hence peace was sweet; and, lest it should be riven,
On both sides hostages were given.
The sheep, as by the terms arranged,
For pups of wolves their dogs exchanged;
Which being done above suspicion,
Confirm'd and seal'd by high commission,
What time the pups were fully grown,
And felt an appetite for prey,
And saw the sheepfold left alone,
The shepherds all away,
They seized the fattest lambs they could,
And, choking, dragg'd them to the wood;
Of which, by secret means apprised,
Their sires, as is surmised,
Fell on the hostage guardians of the sheep,
And slew them all asleep.
So quick the deed of perfidy was done,
There fled to tell the tale not one!

From which we may conclude
That peace with villains will be rued.
Peace in itself, 'tis true,
May be a good for you;
But 'tis an evil, nathless,
When enemies are faithless.

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