by Jean de La Fontaine (1621 - 1695)
Translation © by David Jonathan Justman

Le loup et l'agneau
Language: French (Français) 
Available translation(s): ENG
La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure :
        Nous l'allons montrer tout à l'heure.

        Un agneau se désaltérait
        Dans le courant d'une onde pure.
Un loup survint à jeun, qui cherchait aventure,
    Et que la faim en ces lieux attirait.
Qui te rend si hardi de troubler mon breuvage ?
        Dit cet animal plein de rage :
Tu seras châtié de ta témérité.
Sire, répond l'agneau, que Votre Majesté
        Ne se mette pas en colère ;
        Mais plutôt qu'elle considère
        Que je me vas désaltérant
                Dans le courant,
        Plus de vingt pas au-dessous d'elle ;
Et que, par conséquent, en aucune façon
        Je ne puis troubler sa boisson.
Tu la troubles ! reprit cette bête cruelle ;
Et je sais que de moi tu médis l'an passé.
Comment l'aurais-je fait, si je n'étais pas né ?
    Reprit l'agneau : je tette encore ma mère. --
        Si ce n'est toi, c'est donc ton frère. --
    Je n'en ai point. -- C'est donc quelqu'un des tiens ;
        Car vous ne m'épargnez guère,
        Vous, vos bergers et vos chiens.
    On me l'a dit : il faut que je me venge.
        Là-dessus, au fond des forêts
        Le loup l'emporte, et puis le mange,
        Sans autre forme de procès.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (David Jonathan Justman) , "The wolf and the lamb", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 29
Word count: 203

The wolf and the lamb
Language: English  after the French (Français) 
The right of the stronger... is always better:
We will prove it right now.

A lamb was quenching its thirst
In the current of a pure flow.
A wolf looking for adventure, and whom hunger has 
Attracted to these parts, suddenly appears on an empty stomach.
"Who is so hardy as to muddy my waters?"
Says this animal full of rage.
You will be punished for your temerity.
"Sire," the lamb responds, "May Your Majesty
not get angry:
But may he instead consider
That I am quenching my thirst 
in the current,
More than twenty paces below him;
And that, therefore, 
in no way can I muddy his drink."
"You are muddying it!"  that cruel beast continued;
"And I know that you spoke ill of me last year."
"How could I have done so if I wasn't born yet?"
Continued the lamb;  I am still nursing."
"If it wasn't you, then it was your brother."
"I haven't any brother." --  "Then it's one of yours;
For you hardly spare me,
You, your shepherds, and your dogs.
Others have been telling me that I must avenge myself."
Up there, in the heart of the forest
The wolf drags him off and then eats him,
With no other form of process.

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © by David Jonathan Justman, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
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Based on

 

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 29
Word count: 208