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

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THE MORAL FABLES: THE WOLF AND THE WETHER, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Qwhylum thair wes (as esope can report)
Last Line: Bot think upon the wolf, and on the wedder!
Subject(s): Scottish Translations

Qwhylum thair wes (as Esope can Report)
Ane scheipheird dwelland be ane Forrest neir,
Quhilk had ane Hound that did him grit comfort;
Full war he wes to walk his Fauld but weir,
That nouther Wolff nor Wildcat durst appeir,
Nor Foxe on feild, nor yit no uther beist,
Bot he thame slew, or chaissit at the leist.

Sa happinnit it (as euerilk beist man de),
This Hound off suddand seiknes to be deid;
Bot than (God wait) the keipar off the fe
For verray wo woxe wanner nor the weid:
'Allace' (quod he), 'now se I na remeid
To saif the selie beistis that I keip,
For wit(h) the Wolff weryit beis all my scheip.'

It wald have maid ane mannis hart sair to se
The selie scheiphirdis lamentatioun:
'Now is my Darling deid, allace' (quod he);
'For now to beg my breid I may be boun,
With pyikstaff and with scrip to fair off toun;
For all the beistis befoir bandonit bene
Will schute upon my beistis with Ire and tene.'

With that ane Wedder wrechitlie wan on fute:
'Maister' (quod he), 'mak merie and be blyith;
To brek your hart ffor baill it is na bute;
For ane deid Dogge ye na cair on yow kyith.
Ga ffeche him hither, and fla his skyn off swyth;
Syne sew it on me; and luke that it be meit,
Baith heid, and crag, bodie, taill, and feit.

'Than will the Wolff trow that I am he;
For I sall follow him fast quhar ever he fair.
All haill, the cure I tak it upon me,
Your scheip to keip at midday, lait and air.
And he persew, be God, I sall not spair
To follow him as fast as did your Doig,
Swa that, I warrand, ye sall not want ane hoig.'

'Than,' said the scheipheird, 'this come of ane gude wit;
Thy counsall is baith sicker, leill, and trew;
Quha sayis ane scheip is daft, thay lieit of it.'
With that in hy the Doggis skyn off he flew,
And on the scheip rycht softlie couth it sew.
Than worth the Wedder wantoun off his weid:
'Now off the Wolff' (quod he) 'I have na dreid.'

In all thingis he counterfait the Dog;
For all the nycht he stude, and tuke na sleip,
Swa that weill lang thair wantit not ane Hog.
Swa war he wes and walkryfe thame to keip,
That Lowrence durst not luke upon ane scheip;
For and he did, he followit him sa fast,
That off his lyfe he maid him all agast.

Was nowther Wolff, Wildcat, nor yit Tod
Durst cum within thay boundis all about,
Bot he wald chase thame baith throw rouch and snod.
Thay bailfull beistis had of thair lyvis sic dout,
For he wes mekill and semit to be stout,
That everilk beist thay dred him as the deid,
Within that woid, that nane durst hald thair heid.

Yit happinnit thair ane hungrie Wolff to slyde
Out throw his scheip, quhair thay lay on ane le;
'I sall have ane' (quod he), 'quhat ever betyde,
Thocht I be werryit, for hunger or I de;'
With that ane Lamb in till his cluke hint he.
The laif start up, ffor thay wer all agast;
Bot (God wait) gif the Wedder followit fast.

Went never Hound mair haistelie fra the hand,
Quhen he wes rynnand maist raklie at the Ra,
Nor went this Wedder baith over Mois and strand,
And stoppit nouther at bank, busk, nor bra;
Bot followit ay sa ferslie on his fa,
With sic ane drift, quhill dust and dirt over draif him,
And maid ane Vow to God that he suld have him.

With that the Wolff let out his Taill on lenth,
For he wes hungrie, and it drew neir the ene,
And schupe him for to ryn with all his strenth,
Fra he the Wedder sa neir cummand had sene.
He dred his lyfe, and he overtane had bene;
Thairfoir he spairit nowther busk nor boig,
For weill he kennit the kenenes off the Doig.

To mak him lycht, he kest the Lamb him fra,
Syne lap ouer leis, and draif throw dub and myre.
'Na' (quod the Wedder), 'in Faith we part not swa:
It is not the Lamb, bot the, that I desyre;
I sall cum neir, ffor now I se the tyre.'
The Wolff ran still quhill ane strand stude behind him,
Bot ay the neirar the Wedder he couth bind him.
Sone efter that he followit him sa neir,
Quhill that the Wolff ffor fleidnes fylit the feild;
Syne left the gait, and ran throw busk and breir,
And schupe him ffra the schawis ffor to scheild.
He ran restles, for he wist off na beild;
The wedder followit him baith out and in,
Quhill that ane breir busk raif rudelie off the skyn.

The Wolff wes wer, and blenkit him behind,
And saw the wedder come thrawand throw the breir;
Syne saw the Doggis skyn hingand on his lind.
'Na' (quod he), 'is this ye that is sa neir?
Richt now ane Hound, and now quhyte as ane Freir:
I fled over fer, and I had kennit the cais:
To God I vow that ye sall rew this rais.

'Quhat wes the cause ye gaif me sic ane katche?'
With that in hy he hint him be the horne.
'For all your mowis ye met anis with your matche,
Suppois ye leuch me all this yeir to scorne.
For quhat enchessoun this Doggis skyn have ye borne?'
'Maister' (quod he), 'bot to have playit with yow;
I yow requyre that ye nane uther trow.'

'Is this your bourding in ernist than?' (quod he),
'For I am verray effeirit, and on flocht;
Cum bak agane and I sall let yow se.'
Than quhar the gait wes grimmit he him brocht.
'Quhether call ye this fair play, or nocht?
To set your Maister in sa fell effray,
Quhill he ffor feiritnes hes fylit up the way.

'Thryis (be my Saull) ye gart me schute behind;
Upon my hoichis the senyeis may be sene;
For feiritnes full oft I ffylit the wind.
Now is this ye? na, bot ane Hound, I wene;
Me think your teith over schort to be sa kene.
Blissit be the busk that reft yow your array,
Ellis, fleand, bursin had I bene this day.'

'Schir' (quod the Wedder), 'suppois I ran in hy,
My mynd wes never to do your persoun ill;
Ane flear gettis ane follower commounly,
In play or ernist, preif quha sa ever will.
Sen I bot playit, be gracious me till,
And I sall gar my freindis blis your banis,
Ane full gude servand will crab his Maister anis.'

'I have bene oftymis set in grit effray,
Bot (be the Rude) sa rad yit wes I never,
As thow hes maid me with thy prettie play.
I schot behind, quhen thow overtuke me ever,
Bot sickkerlie now sall we not dissever.'
Than be crag bane smertlie he him tuke,
Or ever he ceissit, and it in schunder schuke.


Esope, that poete, first Father of this Fabill,
Wrait this Parabole, quhilk is convenient.
Because the sentence wes fructuous and agreabill,
In Moralitie exemplative prudent;
Quhais problemes bene verray excellent;
Throw similitude of figuris, to this day,
Gevis doctrine to the Redaris of it ay.

Heir may thow se that riches of array
Will cause pure men presumpteous for to be;
Thay think thay hald of nane, be thay als gay,
Bot counterfute ane Lord in all degre.
Out of thair cais in pryde thay clym sa hie,
That thay forbeir thair better in na steid,
Quhill sum man tit thair heillis over thair heid.

Richt swa in service uther sum exceidis,
And thay haif withgang, welth, and cherising,
That thay will lychtlie Lordis in thair deidis,
And lukis not to thair blude, nor thair offspring:
Bot yit nane wait how lang that reull will ring;
Bot he was wyse, that bad his Sone considder:
Bewar in welth, for Hall benkis ar rycht slidder.

Thairfoir I counsell men of everilk stait
To knaw thame self, and quhome thay suld forbeir,
And fall not with thair better in debait;
Suppois thay be als galland in thair geir,
It settis na servand for to uphald weir,
Nor clym so hie, quhill he fall of the ledder;
Bot think upon the Wolf, and on the wedder!

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