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Le corbeau et le renard (1842)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Six Fables de La Fontaine

Le corbeau et le renard

Maître Corbeau, sur un arbre perché,
Tenait en son bec un fromage.
Maître Renard, par l'odeur alléché,
Lui tint à peu près ce langage:
Hé! Bonjour, Monsieur du Corbeau.
Que vous êtes joli! Que vous me semblez beau!
Sans mentir, si votre ramage
Se rapporte à votre plumage,
Vous êtes le phénix des hôtes de ces bois.
A ces mots le corbeau ne se sent pas de joie;
Et, pour montrer sa belle voix,
Il ouvre un large bec, laisse tomber sa proie.
Le renard s'en saisit, et dit: Mon bon monsieur,
Apprenez que tout flatteur
Vit aux dépens de celui qui l'écoute:
Cette leçon vaut bien un fromage, sans doute.
Le corbeau, honteux et confus,
Jura, mais un peu tard, qu'on ne l'y prendrait plus.

The crow and the fox

Master Crow, perched on an oak,
Was holding a cheese in his beak.
Master Fox, lured by the scent,
Spoke more or less like this:
‘Good day, my dear Sir Crow,
How smart you are! How debonair you are!
In truth, if your song
Be as fine as your plumage,
You are the phoenix of these woods.’
At this, the crow grew wild with glee;
And to display his minstrelsy,
He opens a big beak and drops his booty.
The fox snaps it up, saying: ‘My dear sir,
Learn that every flatterer
Depends on an audience to live at ease.
This lesson is doubtless cheap at a cheese.’
The crow, shamefaced and in troubled state,
Vowed to be tricked no more – a little late.
Translation © Richard Stokes, author of A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

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Jacques Offenbach (20 June 1819 – 5 October 1880) was a German-French composer, cellist and impresario of the romantic period. He is remembered for his operettas and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann

Information from Wikipedia. Read more here.

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