BOOK ONE. 13 'False, babbling prophetess/ says one, ' You M set us at some pretty fun ! To pull this field a thousand birds are needed, While thousands more with hemp are seeded.' The crop now quite mature, The swallow adds, * Thus far I 've failed of cure; I 've prophesied in vain Against this fatal grain : It 's grown. And now, my bonny birds, Though you have disbelieved my words Thus far, take heed at last : When you shall see the seed-time past, And men, no crops to labour for, On birds shall wage their cruel war, With deadly net and noose, — Of flying then beware, Unless you take the air Like woodcock, crane, or goose. But stop ; you 're not in plight For such adventurous flight. O'er desert waves and sands, In search of other lands. Hence, then, to save your precious souls, Remaineth but to say, 'T will be the safest way, To chuck yourselves in holes.' Before she had thus far gone,
Page:Fables by La Fontaine translated by Elizur Wright.djvu/81
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