Against The Hard To Suit.

Jean de La Fontaine 1621 (Château-Thierry) – 1695 (Paris)




  
Were I a pet of fair Calliope,
I would devote the gifts conferr'd on me
To dress in verse old Aesop's lies divine;
For verse, and they, and truth, do well combine;
But, not a favourite on the Muses' hill,
I dare not arrogate the magic skill,
To ornament these charming stories.
A bard might brighten up their glories,
No doubt. I try, - what one more wise must do.
Thus much I have accomplish'd hitherto: -
By help of my translation,
The beasts hold conversation,
In French, as ne'er they did before.
Indeed, to claim a little more,
The plants and trees,with smiling features,
Are turn'd by me to talking creatures.
Who says, that this is not enchanting?
'Ah,' says the critics, 'hear what vaunting!
From one whose work, all told, no more is
Than half-a-dozen baby stories.'
Would you a theme more credible, my censors,
In graver tone, and style which now and then soars?
Then list! For ten long years the men of Troy,
By means that only heroes can employ,
Had held the allied hosts of Greece at bay, -
Their minings, batterings, stormings day by day,
Their hundred battles on the crimson plain,
Their blood of thousand heroes, all in vain, -
When, by Minerva's art, a horse of wood,
Of lofty size before their city stood,
Whose flanks immense the sage Ulysses hold,
Brave Diomed, and Ajax fierce and bold,
Whom, with their myrmidons, the huge machine
Would bear within the fated town unseen,
To wreak upon its very gods their rage -
Unheard-of stratagem, in any age.
Which well its crafty authors did repay....
'Enough, enough,' our critic folks will say;
'Your period excites alarm,
Lest you should do your lungs some harm;
And then your monstrous wooden horse,
With squadrons in it at their ease,
Is even harder to endorse
Than Renard cheating Raven of his cheese.
And, more than that, it fits you ill
To wield the old heroic quill.'
Well, then, a humbler tone, if such your will is: -
Long sigh'd and pined the jealous Amaryllis
For her Alcippus, in the sad belief,
None, save her sheep and dog, would know her grief.
Thyrsis, who knows, among the willows slips,
And hears the gentle shepherdess's lips
Beseech the kind and gentle zephyr
To bear these accents to her lover....
'Stop!' says my censor:
'To laws of rhyme quite irreducible,
That couplet needs again the crucible;
Poetic men, sir,
Must nicely shun the shocks
Of rhymes unorthodox.'
A curse on critics! hold your tongue!
Know I not how to end my song?
Of time and strength what greater waste
Than my attempt to suit your taste?
  
Some men, more nice than wise,
There's nought that satisfies.
Font size:
Collection  PDF     
 

Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:20 min read
13

Quick analysis:

Scheme AABBCCDDEEFFGGHHIIJDHXKKLLMMNNOOPPQQLLRRSDSDCCJXTTUUVVVCXVWWXXXX YY
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 2,496
Words 465
Stanzas 2
Stanza Lengths 64, 2

Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine, (8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695) was a famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional languages. After a long period of royal suspicion, he was at last admitted to the French Academy and his reputation in France has never faded since. Evidence of this is found in the many pictures and statues of the writer, as well as later depictions on medals, coins and postage stamps. more…

All Jean de La Fontaine poems | Jean de La Fontaine Books

1 fan

Discuss the poem Against The Hard To Suit. with the community...

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "Against The Hard To Suit." Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 16 Jun 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/55771/against-the-hard-to-suit.>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    June 2024

    Poetry Contest

    Join our monthly contest for an opportunity to win cash prizes and attain global acclaim for your talent.
    14
    days
    3
    hours
    45
    minutes

    Special Program

    Earn Rewards!

    Unlock exciting rewards such as a free mug and free contest pass by commenting on fellow members' poems today!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    In poetry, the word "foot" refers to _______.
    A a unit of 12 lines
    B two or more syllables
    C a dozen poems
    D one stanza