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

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THE MORAL FABLES: THE FOX, THE WOLF, AND THE CADGER, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Quhylum thair wynnit in ane wildernes
Last Line: Of the nekhering, interpreit in this kynd.
Subject(s): Scottish Translations

Quhylum thair wynnit in ane wildernes,
(As myne Authour expreslie can declair),
Ane revand Wolff, that levit upon purches,
On bestiall, and maid him weill to ffair;
Wes nane sa big about him he wald spair,
And he war hungrie, outher ffor favour or feid,
Bot in his wraith he weryit thame to deid.

Swa happinnit him in watching, as he went,
To meit ane Foxe in middis off the way;
He him foirsaw, and fenyeit to be schent,
And with ane bek he bad the Wolff gude day.
'Welcum to me' (quod he), 'thow Russell gray;'
Syne loutit doun, and tuke him be the hand.
'Ryse up, Lowrence, I leif the for to stand.

'Quhair hes thow bene this sesoun ffra my sicht?
Thow sall beir office, and my Stewart be,
For thow can knap doun Caponis on the nicht,
And, lourand law, thow can gar hennis de.'
'Schir' (said the Foxe), 'that ganis not for me:
And I am rad, gif thay me se on far,
That at my figure, beist and bird will skar.'
'Na' (quod the Wolff), 'thow can in covert creip
Upon thy wame, and hint thame be the heid;
And mak ane suddand schow upon ane scheip,
Syne with thy wappinnis wirrie him to deid.'
'Schir' (said the Foxe), 'ye knaw my Roib is reid,
And thairfoir thair will na beist abyde me,
Thocht I wald be sa fals as ffor to hyde me.'

'Yis' (quod the Wolff), 'throw buskis & throw brais,
Law can thow lour to cum to thy Intent.'
'Schir' (said the Foxe), 'ye wait weill how it gais;
Ane lang space ffra thame thay will feill my sent,
Then will thay eschaip, suppois I suld be schent;
And I am schamefull ffor to cum behind thame
In to the feild thocht I suld sleipand find thame.'

'Na' (quod the Wolff), 'thow can cum on the wind,
For everie wrink, forsuith, thow hes ane wyle.'
'Schir' (said the Foxe), 'that beist ye mycht call blind,
That micht not eschaip than ffra me ane myle.
How micht I ane off thame that wyis begyle?
My tippit twa eiris, and my twa gray Ene,
Garris me be kend, quhair I wes never sene.'

'Than' (said the Wolff), 'Lowrence, I heir the le,
And castys ffor perrellis thy ginnes to defend;
Bot all thy senyes sall not availl the,
About the busk with wayis thocht thow wend;
Falset will failye ay at the latter end;
To bow at bidding, and byde not quhill thow brest,
Thairfoir I giff the counsall ffor the best.'

'Schir,' said the Foxe, 'it is Lentring, ye se;
I can nocht fische, ffor weiting off my feit,
To tak ane Banestikill; thocht we baith suld de,
I have nane uther craft to win my meit;
Bot wer it Pasche, that men suld pultrie eit,
As Kiddis, Lambis, or Caponis in to ply,
To beir your office than wald I not set by.'

'Than' (said the Wolff), in wraith, 'wenis thow with wylis,
And with thy mony mowis me to mat?
It is ane auld Dog, doutles, that thow begylis:
Thow wenis to draw the stra befoir the cat!'
'Schir' (said the Foxe), 'God wait, I mene not that;
For and I did, it wer weill worth that ye
In ane reid Raip had tyit me till ane tre.

'Bot now I se he is ane fule perfay
That with his maister fallis in ressoning;
I did bot till assay quhat ye wald say;
God wait, my mynd wes on ane uther thing;
I sall fulfill in all thing your bidding,
Quhat ever ye charge, on nichtis or on dayis.'
'Weill' (quod the Wolff), 'I heir weill quhat thow sayis.

'Bot yit I will thow mak to me ane aith,
For to be leill attour all levand leid.'
'Schir,' said the Foxe, 'that ane word make me wraith,
For now I se ye haif me at ane dreid;
Yit sall I sweir, suppois it be not neid,
Be Juppiter, and on pane off my heid,
I sall be trew to you, quhill I be deid.'

With that ane Cadgear, with capill and with creillis,
Come carpand ffurth; than Lawrence culd him spy.
The Foxe the flewer off the fresche hering feillis,
And to the Wolff he roundis prively:
'Schir, yone ar hering the Cadgear caryis by;
Thairfoir I reid that we se ffor sum wayis
To get sum fische aganis thir fasting dayis.

'Sen I am Stewart, I wald we had sum stuff,
And ye ar silver seik, I wait richt weill;
Thocht we wald thig, yone verray Churlische chuff,
He will not giff us ane hering off his Creill,
Befoir yone Churle on kneis thocht we wald kneill;
Bot yit I trou alsone that ye sall se,
Giff I can craft to bleir yone Carllis Ee.

'Schir, ane thing is, and we get off yone pelff,
Ye man tak travell, and mak us sum supple;
For he that will not laubour and help him selff,
In to thir dayis, he is not worth ane fle;
I think to work als besie as ane Be.
And ye sall follow ane lytill efterwart,
And gadder hering, ffor that sall be your part.'

With that he kest ane cumpass ffar about,
And straucht him doun in middis off the way,
As he wer deid he fenyeit him, but dout,
And than upon lenth unliklie lay;
The quhyte he turnit up off his Ene tway;
His toung out hang ane handbreid off his heid,
And still he lay, als straucht as he wer deid.

The Cadgear fand the Foxe, and he wes fane,
And till him self thus softlie can he say:
'At the nixt bait, in Faith, ye sall be flane,
And off your skyn I sall mak mittennis tway.'
He lap full lichtlie about him quhair he lay,
And all the trace he trippit on his tais;
As he had hard ane pyper play, he gais.

'Heir lyis the Devyll' (quod he), 'deid in ane dyke.
Sic ane selcouth saw I not this sevin yeir;
I trow ye have bene tussillit with sum tyke,
That garris you ly sa still withouttin steir:
Schir Foxe, in Faith, ye ar deir welcum heir;
It is sum wyfis malisone, I trow,
For pultrie pyking, that lychtit hes on yow.

'Thair sall na Pedder, for purs, nor yit for gluifis,
Nor yit ffor poyntis pyke your pellet ffra me;
I sall off it mak mittennis to my lufis,
Till hald my handis hait quhair ever I be;
Till Flanderis sall it never saill the se.'
With that in hy, he hint him be the heillis,
And with ane swak he swang him on the creillis.

Syne be the heid the hors in hy hes hint;
The fraudfull ffoxe thairto gude tent hes tane,
And with his teith the stoppell, or he stint,
Pullit out, and syne the hering ane and ane
Out of the creillis he swakkit doun gude wane.
The Wolff wes war, and gadderit spedilie;
The Cadgear sang, 'huntis up, up, upon hie.'

Yit at ane burne the Cadgear luikit about;
With that the ffoxe lap quyte the creillis ffray;
The Cadgear wald haif raucht the ffoxe ane rout,
Bot all ffor nocht, he wan his hoill that day.
Than with ane schout thus can the Cadgear say:
'Abyde, and thou ane Nekhering sall haif,
Is worth my Capill, Creillis, and all the laif.'

'Now' (quod the ffoxe), 'I schrew me, and we meit:
I hard quhat thow hecht to do with my skyn.
Thy handis sall never in thay mittinnis tak heit,
And thow wer hangit, Carll, and all thy kyn!
Do furth thy mercat; at me thou sall nocht wyn;
And sell thy hering thow hes thair till hie price,
Ellis thow sall wyn nocht on thy merchandice.'

The Cadgear trimillit for teyne quhair that he stude;
'It is weill worthie' (quod he), 'I want yone tyke,
That had nocht in my hand sa mekill gude,
As staff, or sting, yone truker ffor to stryke.'
With that lychtlie he lap out over ane dyke,
And hakkit doun ane staff, ffor he wes tene,
That hevie wes and off the Holyne grene.

With that the ffoxe unto the Wolff could wend,
And fand him be the hering, quhair he lyis;
'Schir' (said he than), 'maid I not fair defend?
Ane wicht man wantit never, and he wer wyis;
Ane hardie hart is hard for to suppryis.'
(Than said the Wolff): 'thow art ane Berne full bald,
And wyse at will, in gude tyme be it tald.

'Bot quhat wes yone the Carll cryit on hie,
And schuke his hand,' quod he, 'hes thou no feill?'
'Schir' (said the Foxe), 'that I can tell trewlie;
He said the Nekhering wes in till the creill.'
'Kennis thow that hering?' 'Ye, Schir, I ken it weill,
And at the creill mouth I had it thryis but doubt;
The wecht off it neir tit my tuskis out.

'Now, suithlie, Schir, micht we that hering fang,
It wald be fische to us thir fourtie dayis.'
Than (said the Wolff), 'Now God nor that I hang,
Bot to be thair, I wald gif all my clays,
To se gif that my wappinnis mycht it rais.'
'Schir' (said the ffoxe), 'God wait, I wischit you oft,
Quhen that my pith micht not beir it on loft.

'It is ane syde off Salmond, as it wair,
And callour, pypand lyke ane Pertrik Ee;
It is worth all the hering ye have thair,
Ye, and we had it swa, is it worth sic thre.'
'Than' (said the Wolff), 'quhat counsell gevis thou me?'
'Schir' (said the ffoxe), 'wirk efter my devyis,
And ye sall have it, and tak you na suppryis.

'First, ye man cast ane cumpas far about,
Syne straucht you doun in middis off the way;
Baith heid, and feit, and taill ye man streik out,
Hing furth your toung, and clois weill your Ene tway;
Syne se your heid on ane hard place ye lay;
And dout not for na perrell may appeir,
Bot hald you clois, quhen that the Carll cummis neir.

'And thocht ye se ane staf, have ye na dout,
Bot hald you wonder still in to that steid;
And luke your Ene be clois, as thay wer out,
And se that ye schrink nouther fute nor heid:
Than will the Cadgear Carll trow ye be deid,
And in till haist will hint you be the heillis,
As he did me, and swak you on his creillis.'

'Now' (quod the Wolff), 'I sweir the be my thrift,
I trow yone Cadgear Carll he will me beir.'
'Schir' (said the Foxe), 'on loft he will you lift,
Upon his Creillis, and do him lytill deir.
Bot ane thing dar I suithlie to you sweir,
Get ye that hering sicker in sum place,
Ye sall not fair in fisching mair quhill Pasche.

'I sall say In principio upon yow,
And crose your corps from the top to tay;
Wend quhen ye will, I dar be warrand now
That ye sall de na suddan deith this day.'
With that the Wolff gird up sone, and to gay,
And caist ane cumpas about the Cadgear far;
Syne raucht him in the gait, or he come nar.
He laid his halfheid sicker hard and sad,
Syne straucht his four feit ffra him, and his heid,
And hang his toung furth as the ffoxe him bad;
Als styll he lay, as he wer verray deid,
Rakkand na thing off the Carlis ffavour nor feid,
Bot ever upon the Nekhering he thinkis,
And quyte forgettis the Foxe and all his wrinkis.

With that the Cadgear, wavering as the wind,
Come rydand on the laid, for it wes licht,
Thinkand ay on the Foxe that wes behind,
Upon quhat wyse revengit on him he micht;
And at the last of the Wolff gat ane sicht,
Quhair he in lenth lay streikit in the gait;
Bot giff he lichtit doun, or nocht, God wait!

'Softlie,' he said, 'I wes begylit anis;
Be I begylit twyis, I schrew us baith,
That evill bot it sall licht upon thy banis,
He suld have had that hes done me the skaith.'
On hicht he hovit the staf, ffor he wes wraith,
And hit him with sic will upon the heid,
Quhill neir he swonit and swelt in to that steid.

Thre battis he bure, or he his feit micht find,
Bot yit the Wolff wes wicht, and wan away.
He mycht not se, he wes sa verray blind,
Nor wit reddilie quhether it wes nicht or day.
The Foxe beheld that service quhair he lay,
And leuch on loft, quhen he the Wolff sa seis,
Baith deif, and dosinnit, fall swonand on his kneis.

He that of ressoun can not be content,
Bot covetis all, is abill all to tyne.
The Foxe, quhen that he saw the Wolf wes schent,
Said to him self, 'thir hering sall be myne;'
I le, or ellis he wes efterwart syne
That fand sic wayis his Maister for to greif;
With all the fische thus Lowrence tuke his leif.

The Wolff wes neir weill dungin to the deid,
That uneith with his lyfe away he wan,
For with the Bastoun weill brokin wes his heid.
The Foxe in to his den sone drew him than,
That had betraisit his Maister and the man:
The ane wantit the hering off his creillis,
The utheris blude wes rynnand over his heillis.


This Taill is myngit with Moralitie,
As I sall schaw sumquhat, or that I ceis:
The Foxe unto the warld may likkinnit be,
The revand Wolf unto ane man but leis,
The Cadgear Deith, quhome under all man preis:
That ever tuke lyfe throw cours of kynd man dee,
As man, and beist, and fische in to the see.

The warld, ye wait, is Stewart to the man,
Quhilk makis man to haif na mynd of Deid,
Bot settis for winning all the craftis thay can;
The Hering I likkin unto the gold sa reid,
Quhilk gart the Wolf in perrell put his heid:
Richt swa the gold garris Landis and Cieteis
With weir be waistit, daylie as men seis.

And as the Foxe with dissimulance and gyle
Gart the Wolff wene to haif worschip for ever,
Richt swa this warld with vane glore for ane quhyle
Flatteris with folk, as thay suld failye never,
Yit suddandlie men seis it oft dissever;
With thame that trowis oft to fill the sek,
Deith cummis behind and nippis thame be the nek.

The micht of gold makis mony men sa blind,
That settis on Avarice thair felicitie,
That thay forget the cadgear cummis behind
To stryke thame, of quhat stait sa ever thay be.
Quhat is mair dirk than blind prosperitie?
Quhairfoir I counsell mychtie men to haif mynd
Of the Nekhering, Interpreit in this kynd.

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