The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)/The Dove and the Magpie

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps) by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian, translated by John Wolcott Phelps
The Dove and the Magpie
Fables of Florian31.jpg

FABLE XLVII.
THE DOVE AND THE MAGPIE.

Once on a time a dove had built
Her nest near where a magpie dwelt.
It must be own'd the neighborhood
Could not be reckon'd very good.
But that is neither here nor there;
We simply state things as they were.
       In the dwelling of the dove.

       Ev'rything was peace and love,
       While in t'other all was strife—
       Husband fighting with the wife,
       Broken eggs and wretched life.
Twas one day after being beat,
The magpie sought the dove's retreat,
       Where she chatter'd, scolded, cried
Told all she knew and more beside,
And with her clamor fill'd the house
About the failings of her spouse.
"He is exacting, hard, and proud,"
       She shriek'd aloud,
"And passionate and jealous too;
       And yet he goes
       To see the crows,
As I can well attest to you."
And in her anger she gave vent
To many things of like intent.
"But you," the gentle dove replied,
"Have you no faults on your side?"
"I have, the pie resum'd, "'tis true;
And I may say, between us two,
In my behavior I've been light,
And sometimes shown a deal of spite.
I've often, too, play'd the coquette,
Merely to see him writhe and fret."
(Pies hardly would this fault admit
If they thought doves would credit it.)
"But what of that? I'd like to know,
Don't other birds do even so?"

"Oh no, indeed," the dove rejoined;
"You'll never peace in that way find.
If thus you irritate your mate,
You give him cause for all his hate."
"I give him cause!" the pie exclaim'd,
With anger at the dove inflam'd,
"That's very bright, upon my word!
Such impudence who ever heard?
When I come here for sympathy,
You set about abusing me!
Keep your advice at home, say I,
And so, impertinence, good bye!"
Quite too indignant to say more,
She flung impatient from the door,
Enraged to find herself oppos'd,
By her own faults which she'd disclos'd.