BOOK FOUR. 99 Which now, inspired with gratitude, Yea, kindled into zeal most fervent, Doth venture to intrude Within your maiden solitude, And kneel, your humble servant. — In times when animals were speakers, Among the quadrupedal seekers Of our alliance There came the lions. And wherefore not? for then They yielded not to men In point of courage or of sense. Nor were in looks without pretence. A high-born lion, on his way Across a meadow, met one day A shepherdess, who charmed him so, That, as such matters ought to go. He sought the maiden for his bride. Her sire, it cannot be denied, Had much preferred a son-in-law Of less terrific mouth and paw. It was not easy to decide — The lion might the gift abuse — 'T was not quite prudent to refuse. And if refusal there should be, Perhaps a marriage one would see. Some morning, made clandestinely. For, over and above The fact that she could bear
Page:Fables by La Fontaine translated by Elizur Wright.djvu/169
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