Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MORAL FABLES: THE TRIAL OF THE FOX, by AESOP

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MORAL FABLES: THE TRIAL OF THE FOX, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: This foirsaid ffoxe, that deit ffor his misdeid
Last Line: And thus endis the talking of the tod.
Subject(s): Scottish Translations

This foirsaid ffoxe, that deit ffor his misdeid,
Had not ane barne wes gottin richteouslie,
Till airschip be Law that micht succeid,
Except ane Sone, quhilk in Adulterie
He gotten had in purches privelie,
And till his Name wes callit Father war,
That luifit weill with pultrie to tig and tar.

It followis weill be ressoun naturall,
And gre be gre, off richt comparisoun,
Off euill cummis war, off war cummis werst of all,
Off wrangus geir cummis fals successioun.
This ffoxe, Bastard of generatioun,
Off verray kinde behuifit to be fals;
Swa wes his Father, and his Grandschir als.

As Nature will, seikand his meit be sent,
Off cace he fand his ffatheris Carioun,
Nakit, new slane; and till him hes he went,
Tuke up his heid, and on his kne fell doun,
Thankand grit God off that conclusioun;
And said, 'Now sall I bruke, sen I am air,
The boundis quhair thow wes wont ffor to repair.'

'Fy! Covetice, unkynd, and venemous:
The Sone wes fane he fand his ffather deid,
Be suddand schot, ffor deidis odious,
That he micht ringe, and raxe in till his steid,
Dreidand na thing the samin lyfe to leid,
In thift, and reif, as did his ffather befoir;
Bot to the end attent he tuke no moir.

Yit nevertheles, throw Naturall pietie,
The Carioun upon his bak he tais.
'Now find I weill this prouerb trew' (quod he),
'"Ay rinnis the ffoxe, als lang as he fute hais."'
Syne with the Corps unto ane peitpoit gais,
Off watter ffull, and kest him in the deip,
And to the Devill he gaif his banis to keip.

O fulische man! plungit in warldlynes,
To conqueis warldlie gude, and gold, and rent,
To put thy Saull in pane, or hevines,
To richt thy air, quhilk efter thow art went,
Have he thy gude, he takis bot small tent
To execute, to do, to satisfie
Thy letter will, thy det, and legacie.

This Tod to rest him, he passit to ane Craig,
And thair he hard ane busteous Bugill blaw,
Quhilk, as he thocht, maid all the warld to waig.
Ane Unicorne come lansand over ane Law.
Than start he up, quhen he this hard and saw;
With horne in hand, ane bill in breist he bure,
Ane pursephant semelie, I yow assure.

Unto ane bank, quhair he micht se about
On everilk syde, in haist he culd him hy,
Schot out his voce, full schyll, and gaif ane schout,
And on this wyis twyse or thryse did cry.
With that the beistes in the feild thairby,
All mervelland, quhat sic ane thing suld mene,
Gritlie agast, thay gaderit on ane grene.

Out off ane bus ane bull sone can he braid,
And red the Text withoutin tarying:
Commandand silence, sadlie thus he said:
'The Nobill Lyoun, off all beistis the King,
Greting to God, helth everlestyng
To brutall beistis, and Irrationall,
I send, as to my subjectis grit and small.

'My celsitude, and hie magnificence,
Lattis yow to wait, that evin incontinent,
Thinkis the morne, with Royall deligence,
Upon this hill to hald ane Parliament.
Straitlie thairfoir I gif commandement
For to compeir befoir my Tribunall,
Under all pane and perrell that may fall.'

The morrow come, and Phebus with his bemis
Consumit had the mistie cluddis gray.
The ground wes grene, and als as gold it glemis,
With gers growand gudelie, grit and gay;
The spyce thay spred to spring on everilk spray;
The Lark, the Maveis, and the Merll, full hie,
Sweitlie can sing, creippand ffra tre to tre.
The Leopardis come with Croun off massie gold;
Beirand thay brocht unto that hillis hicht,
With Jaspis Jonit, and Royall Rubeis rold,
And mony diveris Dyamontis dicht,
With towis proud ane Palyeoun doun thay picht;
And in that Throne thair sat ane wild Lyoun,
In Rob Royall, with Sceptour, Swerb, and Croun.

Efter the tennour off the cry befoir,
That gais on all fourfuttit beistis in eird,
As thay commandit wer withoutin moir,
Befoir thair Lord the Lyoun thay appeird:
And quhat thay wer, to me as Lowrence leird,
I sall reheirs ane part of everilk kynd,
Als fer as now occurris to my mynd.

The Minotaur, ane Monster mervelous,
Bellerophont that beist of Bastardrie,
The Warwolff, and the Pegase perillous,
Transformit be assent of sorcerie.
The Linx, the Tiger full off Tiranie:
The Elephant, and eik the Dromedarie;
The Cameill with his cran nek furth can carie.

The Leopard, as I haif tauld beforne,
The Anteloip, the Sparth furth couth speid,
The peyntit Pantheir, and the Unicorne;
The Rayndeir Ran throw Reveir, Rone, and Reid,
The Jolie Gillet, and the gentill Steid,
The Asse, the Mule, the Hors of everilk kynd;
The Da, the Ra, the hornit Hart, the Hynd.

The Bull, the Beir, the Bugill, and the Bair,
The tame Cat, Wildcat, and the Wildwod Swyne,
The Hardbakkit Hurcheoun, and the Hirpland Hair,
Baith Otter and Aip, and Pennit Porcupyne;
The Gukit Gait, the selie Scheip, the Swyne,
The wyld Once, the Buk, the Welterand Brok,
The Fowmart, with the Fibert ffurth can flok.

The gray Grewhound, with Sleuthound furth can slyde,
With Doggis all divers and different;
The Rattoun ran, the Glebard furth can glyde,
The quhrynand Quhitret, with the Quhasill went,
The Feitho that hes furrit mony fent,
The Mertrik, with the Cunning and the Con,
The Bowranbane, and eik the Lerioun.

The marmisset the Mowdewart couth leid,
Because that Nature denyit had hir sicht;
Thus dressit thay all ffurth, ffor dreid off deid;
The musk, the lytill Mous with all hir micht
With haist scho haikit unto that hill of hicht;
And mony kynd off beistis I couth not knaw,
Befoir thair Lord the Lyoun thay loutit law.

Seing thir beistis all at his bidding boun,
He gaif ane braid, and luikit him about;
Than flatlingis to his feit thay ffell all doun,
For dreid off deith thay droupit all in dout.
He lukit quhen that he saw thame lout,
And bad thame, with ane countenance full sweit,
'Be not efferit, bot stand up on your feit.

'I lat yow wit my micht is merciabill,
And steiris nane that ar to me prostrait,
Angrie, austerne, and als unamyabill
To all that standfray ar to myne estait.
I rug, I reif all beistis that makis debait
Aganis the micht off my Magnyficence:
Se nane pretend to pryde in my presence.

'My Celsitude and my hie Maiestie
With micht and mercie myngit sall be ay;
The lawest heir I can ffull sone up hie,
And mak him maister over yow all I may.
The Dromedarie, giff he will mak deray,
The grit Camell, thocht he wer never sa crous,
I can him law als lytill as ane Mous.

'Se neir be twentie mylis quhair I am
The Kid ga saiflie be the gaittis syde,
The Tod Lowrie luke not to the lam,
Na revand beistis nouther Ryn nor ryde.'
Thay couchit all efter that this wes cryde;
The Justice bad the Court ffor to gar fence,
The sutis callit, and ffoirfalt all absence.

The Panther, with his payntit Coit Armour,
Fensit the Court, as off the Law effeird.
Than Tod Lowrie luikit quhair he couth lour,
And start on fute, all stonist, and all steird,
Ryifand his hair, he cryit with ane reird,
Quaikand ffor dreid, and sichand couth he say:
'Allace this hour, allace this dulefull day!

'I wait this suddand Semblie that I se,
Haifand the pointis off ane Parliament,
Is maid to mar sic misdoars as me;
Thairfoir, geve I me schaw, I will be schent;
I will be socht, and I be red absent;
To byde, or fle, it makis no remeid;
All is alyke, thair ffollowis not bot deid.'

Perplexit thus in his hart can he mene
Throw ffalset how he micht himself defend;
His Hude he drew laich attour his Ene,
And, winkand with ane Eye, furth he wend;
Clinschand he come, that he micht not be kend,
And, for dreddour that he suld bene arreist,
He playit bukhude behind, ffra beist to beist.

O fylit Spreit, and cankerit Conscience!
Befoir ane Roy Renyeit with richteousnes,
Blakinnit cheikis and schamefull countenance!
Fairweill thy fame, now gone is all thy grace,
The Phisnomie, the favour off thy face,
For thy defence is foull and diffgurate,
Brocht to the licht, basit, blunt, and blait.

Be thow atteichit with thift, or with tressoun,
For thy misdeid wrangous and wickit fay,
Thy cheir changis, Lowrence; thow man luke doun;
Thy worschip of this warld is went away.
Luke to this Tod, how he wes in effray,
And fle the filth of falset,I the reid,
Quhairthrow thair followis syn and schamefull deid.

Compeirand thus befoir thair Lord and King,
In ordour set as to thair estait effeird,
Of everilk kynd he gart ane part furth bring,
And awfullie he spak, and at thame speird
Geve there wes ony kynd of beistis in eird
Absent, and thairto gart thame deiplie sweir;
And thay said: 'nane, except ane Stude gray Meir.'

'Ga, mak ane message sone unto that Stude.'
The Court than cryit: 'now see, quha sall it be?'
'Cum furth, Lowrie, lurkand under thy hude.'
'Na, Schir, mercie! lo, I have bot ane Ee;
Hurt in the hoche, and cruikit as ye may se;
The Volff is better in Ambassatry,
And mair cunning in Clergie fer than I.'

Rampand he said, 'ga furth, brybouris baith!'
And thay to ga withoutin tarying.
Over Ron and Rute thay ran togidder raith,
And fand the Meir at hir meit in the morning.
'Now,' quod the Tod, 'Madame, cum to the King,
The Court is callit, and ye ar Contumax.'
'Let be, Lowrence' (quod scho), 'your Courtlie Knax.'

'Maistres' (quod he), 'cum to the Court ye mon;
The Lyoun hes commandit so in deid.'
'Schir Tod, tak ye the Flyrdome, and the Fon,
I have respite ane yeir, and ye will reid.'
'I can not spell' (quod he), 'sa God me speid:
Heir is the Volff, ane Nobill Clerk at all,
And of this Message is maid principall.

'He is Autentik, and ane man of age,
And hes grit practik of the Chanceliary;
Let him ga luke, and reid your Privilage,
And I sall stand, and beir witnes yow by.'
'Quhair is thy Respite? '(quod the Wolff), in hy.
'Schir, it is heir, under my hufe weill hid.'
'Hald up thy heill' (quod he); and so scho did.

Thocht he wes blindit with pryde, yit he presumis
To luke doun law, quhair that hir letter lay.
With that the meir gird him upon the gumis,
And straik the hattell off his heid away.
Halff out off lyif, thair lenand doun he lay:
'Allace' (quod Lowrence), 'Lupus, thow art loist.'
'His cunning' (quod the Meir) 'wes worth sum coist.

'Lowrence' (quod scho), 'will thow luke on my letter,
Sen that the Wolff na thing thairoff can wyn?'
'Na, be Sanct Bryde' (quod he), 'me think it better
To sleip in haill nor in ane hurt skyn.
Ane skrow I ffand, and this wes writtin in,
-- For ffyve schillingis I wald not anis fforfaut him --
Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautu.'

With brokin skap, and bludit cheikis reid,
This wretchit Wolff weipand, thus on he went,
Off his menye markand to get remeid,
To tell the King the cace wes his Intent.
'Schir' (quod the Tod), 'byde still upon this bent,
And ffra your browis wesche away the blude,
And tak ane drink, ffor it will do yow gude.'

To fetche watter this ffraudfull Fox furth fure,
Sydelingis abak he socht unto ane syke;
On cace he meittis, cummand ffra the mure,
Ane Trip of Lambis dansand on ane dyke.
This Tratour Tod, this Tirrant, and this Tyke,
The fattest off this flock he ffellit hais,
And eit his fill; syne to the Wolff he gais.

Thay drank togidder ,and syne thair Journey takis;
Befoir the King syne kneillit on thair kne.
'Quhair is yone Meir, Schir Tod, wes Contumax?'
Than Lowrence said: 'My Lord, speir not at me!
Speir at your Doctour off Divinitie,
With his reid Cap can tell yow weill aneuch.'
With that the Lyoun, and all the laif thay leuch.
'Tell on the cais now, Lowrence, let us heir.'
'This wittie Wolff' (quod he), 'this Clerk off age,
On your behalff he bad the Meir compeir,
And scho allegit to ane privilage --
"Cum neir and se, and ye sall haiff your wage."
Because he red his rispite plane and weill,
Yone reid Bonat scho raucht him with hir heill.'

The Lyoun said, 'be yone reid Cap I ken
This Taill is trew, quha tent unto it takis;
The greitest Clerkis ar not the wysest men;
The hurt off ane happie the uther makis.'
As thay wer carpand in this cais, with knakis,
And all the Court in merines and in gam,
Swa come the Yow, the Mother off the Lam.

Befoir the Justice on hir kneis fell,
Put out hir playnt on this wyis wofully:
'This harlet huresone, and this hound off hell,
Devorit hes my Lamb full doggitly,
Within ane myle, in contrair to your cry.
For Goddis lufe, my Lord, gif me the Law
Off this lurker:' with that Lowrence let draw.

'Byde' (quod the Lyoun), 'Lymmer, let us se
Giff it be suthe the selie yow hes said.'
'Aa, Soverane Lord, saif your mercie' (quod he),
'My purpois wes with him ffor to haif plaid;
Causles he fled, as he had bene effraid;
For dreid off deith, he duschit ouer ane dyke,
And brak his nek.' 'Thow leis' (quod scho), 'fals tyke.'

'His deith be practik may be previt eith:
Thy gorrie gumis and thy bludie snout,
The woll, the flesche yit stikkis on thy teith,
And that is evidence aneuch, but dout.'
The Justice bad ga cheis ane Assyis about;
And so thay did, and fand that he wes fals,
Off Murther, thift, pyking, and tressoun als.

Thay band him fast, the Justice bad belyif
To gif the dome, and tak off all his clais;
The Wolff, that new maid Doctour, couth him schrif;
Syne furth him led, and to the Gallous gais,
And at the ledder fute his leif he tais;
The Aip was Bowcher, and bad him sone ascend,
And hangit him; and thus he maid his end.


Richt as the Mynour in his Minorall
Fair Gold with fyre may fra the Leid weill wyn,
Richt so under ane Fabill figurall
Sad sentence man may seik, and efter syne,
As daylie dois the Doctouris of Devyne,
That to our leving full weill can apply
And paynt thair mater furth be Poetry.

The Lyoun is the warld be liknes,
To quhom loutis baith Empriour and King,
And thinkis of this warld to get incres,
Thinkand daylie to get mair leving;
Sum for to reull: and sum to raxe and Ring;
Sum gadderis geir: sum Gold: sum uther gude,
To wyn this warld, sum wirkis as thay wer wod.

The Meir is Men of gude conditioun,
As Pilgrymes Walkand in this wildernes,
Approvand that for richt Religioun
Thair God onlie to pleis in everilk place;
Abstractit from this warldis wretchitnes,
Fechtand with lust, presumptioun, and pryde,
And fra this warld in mynd ar mortyfyde.

This Wolf I likkin to Sensualitie,
As quhen, lyke brutall beistis, we accord
Our mynd all to this warldis vanitie,
Lyking to tak and loif him as our Lord:
Fle fast thairfra, gif thow will richt remord;
Than sall Ressoun ryse, Rax and Ring,
And for thy Saull thair is na better thing.

Hir Hufe I likkin to the thocht of deid.
Will thow remember, Man, that thow man de?
Thow may brek Sensualiteis heid,
And fleschlie lust away fra the sall fle,
Fra thow begin thy mynd to mortifie;
Salomonis saying thow may persaif heirin:
'Think on thy end, thow sall not glaidlie sin.'

This Tod I likkin to Temptationis,
Beirand to mynd mony thochtis vane,
Assaultand men with sweit perswasionis,
Ay reddy for to trap thame in ane trayne;
Yit gif thay se Sensualitie neir slane,
And suddand deith draw neir with panis sore,
Thay go abak, and temptis thame no moir.

O Mediatour! mercifull and meik,
Thow soveraigne Lord, and King Celestiall,
Thy celsitude maist humillie we beseik,
Us to defend fra pane and perrellis all,
And help us up unto thy hevinlie hall,
In gloir, quhair we may se the face of God. --
And thus endis the talking of the Tod.

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