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

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THE MORAL FABLES: THE WOLF AND THE LAMB, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Ane cruell wolff, richt ravenous and fell
Last Line: All sic wolfis to banes out of the land.
Subject(s): Scottish Translations

Ane cruell Wolff, richt ravenous and fell,
Upon ane tyme past to ane Reveir,
Descending from ane Rotche unto ane well,
To slaik his thrist, drank of the watter cleir.
Swa upon cace ane selie Lamb come neir,
Bot of his fa, the Wolff, na thing he wist,
And in the streme laipit to cule his thrist.

Thus drank thay baith, bot not of ane Intent;
The Wolfis thocht wes all on wickitnes;
The selie Lamb wes meik and Innocent:
Upon the Rever, in ane uther place,
Beneth the Wolff, he drank ane lytill space,
Quhill he thocht gude, belevand thair nane ill;
The Wolff him saw, and Rampand come him till.

With girnand teith and awfull angrie luke,
Said to the Lamb: 'thow Cative wretchit thing,
How durst thow be sa bald to fyle and bruke,
Quhar I suld drink, with thy foull slavering?
It wer Almous the ffor to draw and hing,
That suld presume, with thy foull lippis wyle,
To glar my drink, and this fair watter fyle.'

The selie Lamb, quaikand for verray dreid,
On kneis fell, and said: 'Schir, with your leif,
Suppois I dar not say thairoff ye leid;
Bot, be my Saull, I wait ye can nocht preif
That I did ony thing that suld yow grief;
Ye wait alswa that your accusatioun
Failyeis ffra treuth, and contrair is to ressoun.

'Thocht I can nocht, Nature will me defend,
And off the deid perfyte experience;
All hevie thing man off the selff discend;
Bot giff sum thing on force mak resistence,
Than may the streme on na way mak ascence,
Nor ryn bakwart: I drank beneth yow far;
Ergo, ffor me your Bruke wes never the war.

'Alswa my lippis, sen that I wes ane Lam,
Tuitchit na thing that wes contagious;
Bot sowkit milk ffrom Pappis off my dam,
Richt Naturall, sweit, and als delitious.'
'Weill' (quod the Wolff), 'thy language Rigorous
Cummis the off kynd swa thy Father before;
Held me at bait, baith with boist and schore.

'He wraithit me, and than I culd him warne
Within ane yeir, and I brukit my heid,
I suld be wrokkin on him, or on his barne,
For his exorbetant and frawart pleid;
Thow sall doutles ffor his deidis be deid.'
'Schir, it is wrang, that ffor the ffatheris gilt,
The saikles sone suld punist be or spilt.

'Haiff ye not hard quhat halie Scripture sayis,
Endytit with the mouth of God Almycht?
Off his awin deidis ilk man sall beir the prais,
As pane ffor sin, reward ffor werkis rycht;
For my trespas quhy suld my sone have plycht?
Quha did the mis lat him sustene the pane.'
'Yaa' (quod the Wolff), 'yit pleyis thow agane?

'I let the wit, quhen that the ffather offendis,
I will refuse nane off his Successioun;
And off his barnis I may weill tak amendis,
Unto the twentie degre descending doun.
Thy ffather thocht to mak ane strang poysoun,'
And with his mouth into my watter did spew.'
'Schir' (quod the Lamb), 'thay twa ar nouther trew.

'The Law sayis, and ye will vnderstand,
Thair suld na man, ffor wrang, nor violence
His adversar punis at his awin hand,
Without proces off Law and evidence;
Quhilk suld have leif to mak lawfull defence,
And thairupon Summond Peremptourly,
For to propone, contrairie, or reply.

'Set me ane lauchfull Court, I sall compeir
Befoir the Lyoun, Lord and leill Justice,
And, be my hand, I oblis me rycht heir,
That I sall byde ane unsuspect Assyis.
This is the Law, this is the Instant gyis;
Ye suld pretend thairfoir; ane Summondis mak
Aganis that day, to gif ressoun and tak.'

'Na' (quod the Wolff), 'thow wald Intruse ressoun,
Quhair wrang and reif suld dwell in propertie.
That is ane poynt, and part of fals tressoun,
For to gar reuth remane with crueltie.
Be his woundis, fals tratour, thow sall de,
For thy trespas, and for thy Fatheris als.'
With that anone he hint him be the hals.

The selie Lamb culd do na thing bot bleit;
Sone wes he deid: the Wolff wald do na grace,
Syne drank his blude, and off his flesche can eit,
Quhill he wes full, and went his way on pace.
Of his murther quhat sall we say, allace?
Wes not this reuth, wes not this grit pietie,
To gar this selie Lamb but gilt thus de?


The pure pepill this Lamb may signifie,
As Maill men, Merchandis, and all lauboureris,
Of quhome the lyfe is half ane Purgatorie,
To wyn with lautie leving as efferis.
The Wolf betakinnis fals extortioneris
And oppressouris of pure men, as we se,
Be violence, or craft in facultie.

Thre kynd of Wolfis in this warld now Rings:
The first ar fals perverteris of the Lawis,
Quhilk under Poete termis falset mingis,
Lettand that all wer Gospell that he schawis;
Bot for ane bud the pure man he overthrawis,
Smoirand the richt, garrand the wrang proceid:
Of sic Wolfis hellis fyre sall be thair meid.

O man of Law! let be thy subteltie,
With nice gimpis, and fraudis Intricait,
And think that God in his Divinitie
The wrang, the richt, of all thy werkis wait:
For prayer, price, for hie nor law estait,
Of fals querrellis se thow mak na defence;
Hald with the richt, hurt not thy conscience.

Ane uther kynd of Wolfis Ravenous,
Ar mychtie men, haifand full grit plentie,
Quhilkis ar sa gredie and sa covetous,
Thay will not thoill the pure in pece to be;
Suppois he and his houshald baith suld de
For falt of fude, thairof thay gif na rak,
Bot over his heid his mailling will thay tak.

O man! but mercie, quhat is in thy thocht,
War than ane Wolf, and thow culd understand?
Thow hes aneuch; the pure husband richt nocht
Bot croip and caff upon ane clout of land.
For Goddis aw, how durst thow tak on hand,
And thow in Barn and Byre sa bene, and big,
To put him fra his tak and gar him thig?

The thrid Wolf ar men of heritage,
As Lordis that hes land be Goddis lane,
And settis to the Mailleris ane Village,
And for ane tyme Gressome payit and tane;
Syne vexis him, or half his terme be gane,
With pykit querrellis for to mak him fane
To flit, or pay his Gressome new agane.

His Hors, his Meir, he man len to the Laird,
To drug and draw in Court or in Cariage;
His servand or his self may not be spaird
To swing and sweit, withoutin Meit or wage.
Thus how he standis in labour and bondage,
That scantlie may he purches by his maill,
To leve upon dry breid and watter caill.

Hes thow not reuth to gar thy tennentis sweit
In to thy laubour with faynt and hungrie wame,
And syne hes lytill gude to drink or eit,
With his menye at evin quhen he cummis hame?
Thow suld dreid for rychteous Goddis blame;
For it cryis ane vengeance unto the hevinnis hie,
To gar ane pure man wirk but Meit or fe.

O thow grit Lord, that riches hes and rent,
Be nocht ane Wolf, thus to devoir the pure;
Think that na thing cruell nor violent
May in this warld perpetuallie Indure:
This sall thow trow and sikkerlie assure,
For till oppres thow sall haif als greit pane
As thow the pure had with thy awin hand slane.

God keip the Lamb, quhilk is the Innocent,
From Wolfis byit and fell exortioneris;
God grant that wrangous men of fals Intent
Be manifestit, and punischit as effeiris.
And God, as thow all rychteous prayer heiris,
Mot saif our King, and gif him hart and hand
All sic Wolfis to banes out of the land.

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