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Songs

Le loup et l'agneau (1919)


Part of a series or song cycle:

Trois Fables de Jean de la Fontaine


Le loup et l'agneau

La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure :
Nous l'allons montrer tout à l'heure.
Un agneau se désaltérait
Dans le courant d'une onde pure.
Un loup survint à jeun, qui cherchait aventure,
Et que la faim en ces lieux attirait.
Qui te rend si hardi de troubler mon breuvage ?
Dit cet animal plein de rage :
Tu seras châtié de ta témérité.
Sire, répond l'agneau, que Votre Majesté
Ne se mette pas en colère ;
Mais plutôt qu'elle considère
Que je me vas désaltérant
Dans le courant,
Plus de vingt pas au-dessous d'elle ;
Et que, par conséquent, en aucune façon
Je ne puis troubler sa boisson.
Tu la troubles ! reprit cette bête cruelle ;
Et je sais que de moi tu médis l'an passé.
Comment l'aurais-je fait, si je n'étais pas né ?
Reprit l'agneau : je tette encore ma mère. --
Si ce n'est toi, c'est donc ton frère. --
Je n'en ai point. -- C'est donc quelqu'un des tiens ;
Car vous ne m'épargnez guère,
Vous, vos bergers et vos chiens.
On me l'a dit : il faut que je me venge.
Là-dessus, au fond des forêts
Le loup l'emporte, et puis le mange,
Sans autre forme de procès.

The Wolf and the lamb

The mightiest are always right,
Which we shall now set out to prove.
A lamb was slaking its thirst
In the waters of a limpid stream
A famished wolf arrived to try his luck,
Drawn by hunger to this place.
'Who made you so bold to foul my drink?'
Said this animal full of rage:
'You shall be punished for such cheek.'
'Sir,' said the lamb, 'so please your Grace,
Do not fly into a rage;
Consider, rather, first,
The stream where i assuage my thirst
Is twenty yards downstream,
Below your place,
It can in no way therefore be the case
That I am fouling your drink.'
'You foul it all the same,' the cruel beast went on,
'And last year I know that you slandered me.'
'How can that be, if I wasn't yet born?'
Replied the lamb, 'My mother still suckles me.'
'If it isnt' you, it's your brother then.'
'I have no brother.' 'Then some relation:
For you are always plaguing me,
You, your dogs and shepherds too,
They tell me I shoudl wreak revenge.'
Whereupon the wold dragged him through
The forest's depths and ate him up
Without futher ado.
Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

Composer

André Caplet  was a French composer and conductor now known primarily through his orchestrations of works by Claude Debussy.

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Poet

Jean de La Fontaine (8 September 1621 – 13 April 1695) was a French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional languages.

After a long period of royal suspicion, he was admitted to the French Academy and his reputation in France has never faded since. Evidence of this is found in the many pictures and statues of the writer, as well as later depictions on medals, coins and postage stamps.

Taken from Wikipedia. You can read the full article here.

You can read or download Fontaine's Fables for free here on Gutenberg Press.


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