Monday, May 06, 2013

Umpired Umbathy, Pathic and Pathological, Part IX

The Wolf and the Lamb

The strong are always best at proving they’re right.
Withness the case we’re now going to cite.
A lamb was drinking, serene,
At a brook running clear all the way.
A ravenous Wolf happened by, on the lookout for prey,
Whose sharp hunger drew him to the scene.
“ What makes you so bold as to muck up my beverage?”
This creature snarled in rage.
“ You will pay for your temerity!”
“ Sire” replied the Lamb, “ let not Your Majesty
Now give in to unjust ire,
But rather do consider, Sire:
I’m drinking—just look—
In the brook
Twenty feet farther down, if not more,
And therefore in no way at all, I think,
Can I be muddying what you drink.”
“ You’re muddying it!” insisted the cruel carnivore.
“ And I know that, last year, you spoke ill of me.”
“ How could I do that? Why I’d not yet even come to be,”
Said the Lamb. “At my dam’s teat I still nurse.”
If not you, then your brother. All the worse.”
“I don’t have one.” “Then it’s someone else in your clan.
For to me you’re all of you a curse:
You, your dogs, your shepherds to a man.
So I’ve been told: I have to pay you all back.”
With that, deep into the wood
The wolf dragged and ate his midday snack.
So trial and judgment stood.

--La Fontaine

As quoted in Rogues: Two Essays on Reason, by Jacques Derrida, Stanford University Press, 2005.

No mention of Sarah Palin.


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