The Wolf and the Lamb

Original Text: 

The Fables of La Fontaine, trans. Elizur Wright, Jr. (London: William Smith, 1842): 4. Internet Archive

1 That innocence is not a shield,
2     A story teaches, not the longest.
3    The strongest reasons always yield
4        To reasons of the strongest.
5    A lamb her thirst was slaking
6        Once at a mountain rill.
7    A hungry wolf was taking
8        His hunt for sheep to kill,
9When, spying on the streamlet's brink
10        This sheep of tender age,
11        He howl'd in tones of rage,
12How dare you roil my drink?
13Your impudence I shall chastise!
14Let not your majesty, the lamb replies,
15        Decide in haste or passion!
16For sure 'tis difficult to think
17        In what respect or fashion
18My drinking here could roil your drink,
19Since on the stream your majesty now faces
20I'm lower down full twenty paces.
21        You roil it, said the wolf; and, more, I know
22        You cursed and slander'd me a year ago.
23    O no! how could I such a thing have done!
24        A lamb that has not seen a year,
25        A suckling of its mother dear?
26Your brother then. But brother I have none.
27            Well, well, what's all the same,
28            Twas some one of your name.
29        Sheep, men, and dogs of every nation,
30        Are wont to stab my reputation,
31            As I have truly heard.
32            Without another word,
33        He made his vengeance good --
34        Bore off the lambkin to the wood,
35And there, without a jury,
36Judged, slew, and ate her in his fury.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Data entry: Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2012