The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)/The Persecuted Poodle

Fables of Florian29.jpg


A shaggy poodle being shorn
So as to have a lion's mane,
Could hardly longer well be borne,
He so conceited was and vain;
For vanity will sure deceive

All who her flattery receive.
We on this head a story know.
It came to pass, not long ago.
That after long and bloody strife,
Where many a lion lost his life,
The elephant the victor was,
Who thereupon decreed these laws:—
That brawls and blood-shed to prevent,
All into exile must be sent
Who civil war and strife foment;
And never more should lions come
Within his realms to make their home.
The lions, overcome, subdu'd,
And by their enemies pursu'd,
Were hunted down on ev'ry hand,
And forc'd to fly and leave the land.
Their fate admitted no relief;
But still they made the best of it.
They kept their courage with their grief,
And learn'd in patience to submit.
But with our poodle 'twas not so:
The dread decree fill'd him with woe.
"Oh, am I then," he moaning cried,
"No longer suffer'd here to dwell?
Must I in other lands reside,
Far from the scenes I've lov'd so well?
       And in my old age too!
Oh barb'rous king to drive me forth
From this dear spot that gave me birth,
       Which I no more shall view!

I go unaided and in gloom,
In foreign lands to seek a tomb;
And even that may be denied!
And all to please this tyrant's pride,
Who only thus is satisfied!"
A spaniel heard the pug complain,
And touch'd at heart with so much pain,
Ask'd why he felt obliged to fly.
"Why?" said the pug, "do you ask why?
Just look and see that hard decree,
How cruel and severe on me!"
       The spaniel cried:—
"That law with lions has to do;
But what concern is that to you?"
       The pug replied:—
"Why, am not I a lion too?"