Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MORAL FABLES: THE MOUSE AND THE PADDOCK, by AESOP

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MORAL FABLES: THE MOUSE AND THE PADDOCK, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Upon ane tyme (as esope culd report)
Last Line: Grant us till pas in till ane blissit hour.

Upon ane tyme (as Esope culd Report)
Ane lytill Mous come till ane Rever syde;
Scho micht not waid, hir schankis were sa schort,
Scho culd not swym, scho had na hors to ryde:
Of verray force behovit hir to byde,
And to and ffra besyde that Revir deip
Scho ran, cryand with mony pietuous peip.

'Help over, help over,' this silie Mous can cry,
'For Goddis lufe, sum bodie over the brym.'
With that ane Paddok, in the watter by,
Put up hir heid, and on the bank can clym,
Quhilk be nature culd douk, and gaylie swym;
With voce full rauk, scho said on this maneir:
'Gude morne (schir Mous), quhat is your erand heir?'

'Seis thow,' quod scho, 'off corne yone Jolie flat,
Off ryip Aitis, off Barlie, Peis, and Quheit?
I am hungrie, and fane wald be thair at,
Bot I am stoppit be this watter greit;
And on this syde I get na thing till eit
Bot hard Nuttis, quhilkis with my teith I bore.
Wer I beyond, my feist wer fer the more.

'I have no Boit; heir is no Maryner;
And thocht thair war, I have no fraucht to pay.'
Quod scho, 'sister, lat be thy hevie cheir;
Do my counsall, and I sall find the way
Without Hors, Brig, Boit, or yit Galay,
To bring the over saiflie, -- be not afeird! --
And not wetand the campis off thy beird.'

'I haif grit wounder,' quod the lytill Mous,
'How can thow fleit without fedder or fyn.
This Rever is sa deip and dangerous,
Me think that thow suld drounit be thairin.
Tell me, thairfoir, quhat facultie or gin
Thow hes to bring the over this watter wan?'
That to declair the Paddok thus began.

'With my twa feit' (quod scho), 'lukkin and braid,
In steid off Airis, I row the streme full styll;
And thocht the brym be perrillous to waid,
Baith to and ffra I row at my awin will.
I may not droun, ffor quhy my oppin Gill
Devoidis ay the watter I resaiff:
Thairfoir to droun forsuith na dreid I haif.'

The Mous beheld unto hir fronsit face,
Hir runkillit cheikis, and hir lippis syde,
Hir hingand browis, and hir voce sa hace,
Hir loggerand leggis, and hir harsky hyde.
Scho ran abak, and on the Paddok cryde:
'Giff I can ony skill of Phisnomy,
Thow hes sumpart off falset and Invy.

'For Clerkis sayis, the Inclinatioun
Of mannis thocht proceidis commounly
Efter the Corporall complexioun
To gude or evill, as Nature will apply:
Ane thrawart will, ane thrawin Phisnomy.
The auld Proverb is witnes off this Lorum --
Distortum vultum sequitur distortio morum.'

'Na' (quod the Taid), 'that Proverb is not trew;
For fair thingis oftymis ar fundin faikin.
The Blaberyis, thocht thay be sad off hew,
Ar gadderit up quhen Primeros is forsakin.
The face may faill to be the hartis takin.
Thairfoir I find this Scripture in all place:
Thow suld not Juge ane man efter his face.

'Thocht I unhailsum be to luke upon,
I have na cause quhy I suld lakkit be;
Wer I als fair as Jolie Absolon,
I am no causer off that grit beutie.
This difference in forme and qualitie
Almychtie God hes causit dame Nature
To prent and set in everilk creature.

'Off sum the face may be full flurischand,
Off silkin toung and cheir rycht amorous,
With mynd Inconstant, fals, and wariand,
Full off desait and menis Cautelous.'
'Let be thy preiching' (quod the hungrie Mous),
'And be quhat craft thow gar me understand
That thow wald gyde me to yone yonder land?'

'Thow wait' (quod scho), 'ane bodie that hes neid
To help thame self suld mony wayis cast;
Thairfoir ga tak ane doubill twynit threid,
And bind thy leg to myne with knottis fast.
I sall the leir to swym -- be not agast! --
Als weill as I.' 'As thow?' (than quod the Mous),
'To preif that play it war richt perrillous.

'Suld I be bund and fast quhar I am fre,
In hoip off help, na than I schrew us baith,
For I mycht lois baith lyfe and libertie.
Gif it wer swa, quha suld amend the skaith?
Bot gif thow sweir to me the murthour aith,
But fraud, or gyle, to bring me over this flude,
But hurt or harme.' 'In faith' (quod scho), 'I dude.'
Scho goikit up, and to the hevin can cry:
'O Juppiter, off Nature God and King,
I mak ane aith trewlie to the, that I
This lytill Mous sall over this watter bring.'
This aith wes maid. The Mous, but persaving
The fals Ingyne of this foull carpand Pad,
Tuke threid and band hir leg, as scho hir bad.

Then fute for fute thay lap baith in the brym;
Bot in thair myndis thay wer rycht different:
The Mous thocht off na thing bot ffor to swym,
The Paddok ffor to droun set hir Intent.
Quhen thay in midwart off the streme wer went,
With all hir force the Paddok preissit doun,
And thocht the Mous without mercie to droun.

Persavand this, the Mous on hir can cry:
'Tratour to God, and manesworne unto me,
Thow swore the murthour aith richt now, that I
But hurt or harme suld ferryit be and fre;'
And quhen scho saw thair wes bot do or de,
With all hir mycht scho forsit hir to swym,
And preissit upon the Taiddis bak to clym.

The dreid of deith hir strenthis gart Incres,
And forcit hir defend with mycht and mane.
The Mous upwart, the Paddok doun can pres;
Quhyle to, quhyle ffra, quhyle doukit up agane.
The selie Mous, plungit in to grit pane,
Gan fecht als lang als breith wes in hir breist,
Till at the last scho cryit ffor ane Preist.

Fechtand thusgait, the Gled sat on ane twist,
And to this wretchit battell tuke gude heid;
And with ane wisk, or ony off thame wist,
He claucht his cluke betuix thame in the threid;
Syne to the land he flew with thame gude speid,
Fane off that fang, pyipand with mony pew;
Syne lowsit thame, and baith but pietie slew.

Syne bowellit thame, that Boucheour with his bill,
And belliflaucht full fettillie thame flaid;
Bot all thair flesche wald scant be half ane fill,
And guttis als, unto that gredie gled.
Off thair debait, thus quhen I hard outred,
He tuke his flicht, and over the feildis flaw:
Giff this be trew, speir ye at thame that saw.


My Brother, gif thow will tak advertence
Be this Fabill, thow may persave and se,
It passis far all kynd of Pestilence,
Ane wickit mynd with wordis fair and sle.
Be war thairfore, with quhome thow fallowis the;
To the wer better beir the stane barrow,
For all thy dayis to delf quhill thow may dre,
Than to be machit with ane wickit marrow.

Ane fals Intent under ane fair pretence
Hes causit mony Innocent for to de.
Grit folie is to gif over sone credence
To all that speikis fairlie unto the.
Ane silkin toung, ane hart of crueltie,
Smytis more sore than ony schot of arrow.
Brother, gif thow be wyse, I reid the fle,
To matche the with ane thrawart, fenyeit marrow.

I warne the als, it is grit nekligence
To bind the fast quhair thow wes frank and fre;
Fra thow be bund, thow may mak na defence
To saif thy lyfe, nor yit thy libertie.
This simpill counsall, brother, tak of me,
And it to cun perqueir se thow not tarrow,
Better but stryfe to leif allane in le
Than to be matchit with ane wickit marrow.

This hald in mynde: rycht more I sall the tell
Quhair by thir beistis may be figurate.
The Paddok, usand in the flude to duell,
Is mannis bodie, swymand air and lait
In to this warld, with cairis Implicate,
Now hie, now law, quhylis plungit up, quhylis doun,
Ay in perrell, and reddie for to droun.

Now dolorus, now blyth as bird on breir;
Now in fredome, now wrappit in distres;
Now haill and sound, now deid and brocht on beir;
Now pure as Job, now rowand in riches;
Now gouins gay, now brats laid in pres;
Now full as fitche, now hungrie as ane Hound;
Now on the quheill, now wrappit to the ground.

This lytill Mous, heir knit thus be the schyn,
The Saull of man betakin may in deid;
Bundin, and fra the bodie may not wyn,
Quhill cruell deith cum brek of lyfe the threid;
The quhilk to droun suld ever stand in dreid,
Of carnall lust be the Suggestioun
Quhilk drawis ay the Saull, and druggis doun.

The watter is the warld, ay welterand,
With mony wall of tribulatioun:
In quhilk the saull and body wer steirrand,
Standand rycht different in thair opinioun:
The Saull upwart, the body precis doun:
The Saull rycht fane wald be brocht over I wis,
Out of this warld, into the hevinnis blis.

The Gled is Deith, that cummis suddandlie,
As dois ane theif, and cuttis sone the battall.
Be vigilant, thairfoir, and ay reddie,
For mannis lyfe is brukill, and ay mortall:
My friend, thairfoir, mak the ane strang Castell
Of Faith in Christ; for deith will the assay,
Thow wait not quhen -- evin, morrow or midday.

Adew, my friend; and gif that ony speiris
Of this Fabill, sa schortlie I conclude,
Say thow, I left the laif unto the Freiris,
To mak exempill and ane similitude.
Now Christ for us that deit on the Rude,
Of saull and lyfe as thow art Salviour,
Grant us till pas in till ane blissit hour.

Discover our poem explanations - click here!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net