The Snake

Kriloff’s Original Fables
A Snake from Jupiter did ask
The sweet voice of a nightingale. ” For life to me is now,” she said, “a weary task. Where’er I show me in the dale,
Those that are weaker fly, And those, that stronger are than I, God give me to escape from them the chance. No, life like this I cannot longer bear : But if like nightingales I filled the woods and air, Then, wonder my poor merits would enhance,
And I should love obtain, and to respect have right,
Of every joyous circle then the soul.” The Snake’s prayer found acceptance in Jove’s
sight
:
No trace of hissing in one trill, or roll. Climbing a tree, from it our Snake did hang,
And like the best of nightingales she sang : To her a flight of birds from all sides flew, But soon as they the songstress knew,
They showered from the tree like rain
;
Of such a greeting few that would be vain ! ” Is’t really that my voice disgusts you all ? ”
Asked the vexed Snake. ” No, no ! ” replied a Starling. ” It doth fall
Full sonorous and marvellous on the ear
;
When thou such melody dost make,
It seems to us a nightingale is’here ;
But fear our hearts, I must confess, doth wring,
When we but look upon thy sting
:
To be so close to thee a fearful thing
;
And so I’ll say to thee, but not in spite : Thy songs would fill us with delight,
If only thou wouldst from us farther sing.”
[It is clear, from the manuscript variations of this fable
at the close given by Kenevitch, that Kriloff intended it to point to a particular individual. There is a separate
moral, addressed in the second person to some one who
is warned that, though he (or she) may astonish by talent, to gain respect and love talent is not enough. Kenevitch,
however, could find no proof to fix it on any one, and
where he has failed it would be useless for a foreigner to
try.]

Leave a Reply 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *