Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MORAL FABLES: THE FOX AND THE WOLF, by AESOP

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MORAL FABLES: THE FOX AND THE WOLF, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Leif we this wedow glaid, I yow assure
Last Line: Efter your deith, to blis withouttin end.
Subject(s): Scottish Translations

Leif we this wedow glaid, I yow assure,
Off Chantecleir mair blyith than I can tell,
And speik we off the subtell aventure
And destenie that to this Foxe befell,
Quhilk durst na mair with waitting Intermell,
Als lang as Leme or Licht wes off the day,
Bot, bydand nicht, full styll Lurkand he Lay,

Quhill that the Goddes off the flude
Phebus had callit to the harbery,
And Hesperous put up his cluddie hude,
Schawand his Lustie Visage in the sky.
Than Lowrence luikit up, quhair he couth ly,
And kest his hand upon his Ee on hicht,
Merie and glade that cummit wes the nicht.

Out off the wod unto ane hill he went,
Quhair he micht se the twinkling sternis cleir,
And all the planetis off the firmament,
Thair cours, and eik thair moving in the Spheir,
Sum retrograde, and sum Stationeir,
And off the Zodiak, in quhat degre
Thay wer ilk ane, as Lowrence leirnit me.

Than Saturne auld wes enterit in Capricorne,
And Juppiter movit in Sagittarie,
And Mars up in the Rammis heid wes borne,
And Phebus in the Lyoun furth can carie;
Venus the Crab, the Mone wes in Aquarie;
Mercurius, the God off Eloquence,
Into the Virgyn maid his residence.

But Astrolab, Quadrant, or Almanak,
Teichit off nature be Instructioun,
The moving off the hevin this Tod can tak,
Quhat influence and constellatioun
Wes lyke to fall upon the eirth adoun.
And to him self he said, withoutin mair,
'Weill worth my ffather, that send me to the Lair.

'My destenie, and eik my weird I ken,
My aventure is cleirlie to me kend;
With mischeif myngit is my mortall men,
My misleving the soner bot gif I mend:
It is reward off sin ane schamefull end.
Thairfoir I will ga seik sum Confessour,
And schryiff me clene off my sinnis to this hour.

'Allace' (quod he), 'richt waryit ar we thevis,
Our lyifis set ilk nicht in aventure;
Our cursit craft full mony man mischevis;
For ever we steill, and ever ar lyke pure:
In dreid and schame our dayis we Indure;
Syne widdinek, and Crakraip callit als,
And till our hyre hangit up be the hals.'

Accusand thus his cankerit conscience,
In to ane Craig he kest about his Ee;
So saw he cummand ane lyttill than frome hence,
Ane worthie Doctour in Divinitie,
Freir Wolff Waitskaith, in science wonder sle,
To preich and pray wes new cummit ffra the Closter
With Beidis in hand, sayand his pater noster.

Seand this Wolff, this wylie tratour Tod
On kneis fell, with hude in to his nek:
'Welcome, my Gostlie ffather under God'
(Quod he), with mony binge and mony bek.
'Ha' (quod the Wolff), 'Schir Tod, for quhat effek
Mak ye sic feir? Ryse up, put on your hude.'
'Father' (quod he), 'I haif grit cause to dude.

'Ye ar Mirrour, Lanterne, and sicker way,
Suld gyde sic sempill folk as me to grace.
Your bair feit, and your Russet Coull off gray,
Your lene cheik, your paill pietious face,
Schawis to me your perfite halines.
For weill wer him, that anis in his lyve
Had hap to yow his sinnis ffor to schryve.'

'Na, selie Lowrence' (quod the Wolf), and leuch:
'It plesis me that ye ar penitent.'
'Off reif and stouth, Schir, I can tell aneuch,
That causis me full sair for to repent.
Bot, ffather, byde still heir upon the bent,
I you beseik, and heir me to declair
My conscience, that prikkis me sa sair.
'Weill' (quod the Wolff), 'sit doun upon thy kne.'
And he doun bairheid sat full humilly,
And syne began with Benedicitie.
Quhen I this saw, I drew ane lytill by,
For it effeiris nouther to heir, nor spy,
Nor to reveill thing said under that seill:
Unto the Tod this Gait the Wolf couth kneill.

'Art thow contrite, and sorie in thy Spreit
For thy trespas?' 'Na, Schir, I can not duid:
Me think that hennis ar sa honie sweit,
And Lambes flesche that new ar lettin bluid;
For to repent my mynd can not concluid,
Bot off this thing, that I haif slane sa few.'
'Weill' (quod the Wolff), 'in faith, thow art ane schrew.'

'Sen thow can not forthink thy wickitnes,
Will thow forbeir in tyme to cum and mend?'
'And I forbeir, how sall I leif, allace,
Haifand nane uther craft me to defend?
Neid causis me to steill quhair evir I wend.
I eschame to thig, I can not wirk, ye wait,
Yit wald I fane pretend to gentill stait.'

'Weill' (quod the Wolff) 'thow wantis pointis twa,
Belangand to perfyte Confessioun.
To the thrid part off penitence let us ga:
Will thou tak pane for thy transgressioun?'
'Na, Schir, considder my Complexioun,
Selie and waik, and off my Nature tender;
Lo, will ye se, I am baith lene and sklender.'

'Yit, neuertheles, I wald, swa it wer licht,
Schort, and not grevand to my tendernes,
Tak part off pane, fulfill it gif I micht,
To set my selie Saull in way off grace.'
'Thou sall' (quod he), 'forbeir flesch untill pasche,
To tame this Corps, that cursit Carioun;
And heir I reik the full remissioun.'

'I grant thairto, swa ye will giff me leif
To eit puddingis, or laip ane lyttill blude,
Or heid, or feit, or paynches let me preif,
In cace I fall no flesch unto my fude.'
'For grit mister I gif the leif to dude
Twyse in the oulk, for neid may haif na Law.'
'God yeild yow, Schir, for that Text weill I knaw.'

Quhen this wes said, the Wolff his wayis went.
The Foxe on fuit he fure unto the flude --
To fang him fisch haillelie wes his intent.
Bot quhen he saw the watter, and wallis woude,
Astonist all still in to ane stair he stude,
And said, 'better that I had biddin at hame,
Nor bene ane ffischar in the Devillis Name.

'Now may I scraip my meit out off the sand,
And I haif nouther boittis nor net bait.'
As he wes thus ffor ffalt of meit murnand,
Lukand about his leving ffor to lait,
Under ane tre he saw ane trip off Gait;
Than wes he blyith, and in ane heuch him hid,
And ffra the Gait he stall ane lytill Kid.

Syne over the heuch unto the see he hyis,
And tuke the Kid be the hornis twane,
And in the watter outher twyis or thryis
He dowkit him, and till him can he sayne:
'Ga doun, Schir Kid, cum up Schir Salmond agane!'
Quhill he wes deid; syne to the land him drewch,
And off that new maid Salmond eit anewch.

Thus fynelie fillit with young tender meit,
Unto ane derne ffor dreid he him addrest,
Under ane busk, quhair that the sone can beit,
To beik his breist and bellie he thocht best.
And rekleslie he said, quhair he did rest,
Straikand his wame aganis the sonis heit,
'Upon this wame set wer ane bolt full meit.'

Quhen this wes said, the keipar off the Gait,
Cairfull in hart his Kid wes stollen away,
On everilk syde full warlie couth he wait,
Quhill at the last he saw quhair Lowrence lay.
Ane Bow he bent, ane flane with ffedderis gray
He haillit to the heid, and, or he steird,
The Foxe he prikkit fast unto the eird.

'Now' (quod the Foxe), 'allace and wellaway!
Gorrit I am, and may na forther gang.
Me think na man may speik ane word in play,
Bot now on dayis in ernist it is tane.'
He harlit him, and out he drew his flane;
And ffor his Kid, and uther violence,
He tuke his skyn, and maid ane recompence.


This suddand deith, and unprovysit end
Of this fals Tod, without provision,
Exempill is exhortand folk to amend,
For dreid of sic ane lyke confusioun;
For mony now hes gude professioun,
Yit not repentis, nor for thair sinnis greit,
Because thay think thair lustie lyfe sa sweit.

Sum bene also throw consuetude and ryte,
Vincust with carnall sensualitie;
Suppose thay be as for the tym contryte,
Can not forbeir, nor fra thair sinnis fle;
Use drawis Nature swa in propertie
Of beist and man, that neidlingis thay man do,
As thay of lang tyme hes bene hantit to.

Be war, gude folke, and feir this suddane schoit,
Quhilk smytis sair withoutin resistence.
Attend wyislie, and in your hartis be noit,
Aganis deith may na man mak defence.
Ceis of your sin, Remord your conscience,
Obey unto your God and ye sall wend,
Efter your deith, to blis withouttin end.

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