Page:La Fontaine - The Original Fables Of, 1913.djvu/109

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XXXIV

THE GODS WISHING TO INSTRUCT
A SON OF JUPITER

(Book XI.—No. 2)

Jupiter had a son, who, sensible of his lofty origin, showed always a god-like spirit. Childhood is not much concerned with loving; yet to the childhood of this young god, loving and wishing to be loved was the chief concern. In him, love and reason which grow with years, outraced Time, that light- winged bearer of the seasons which come, alas! only too quickly.

Flora, [1] with laughing looks and winning airs, was the first to touch the heart of the youthful Olympian. Everything that passion could inspire—delicate sentiments full of tenderness, tears, and sighs—all were there: he forgot nothing. As a son of Jupiter he would by right of birth be dowered with greater gifts than the sons of other gods; and it seemed as though all his behaviour were prompted by the reminiscence that he had indeed already been a lover in some former state, so well did he play the part.

Nevertheless, it was Jupiter's wish that the boy should be taught, and assembling the gods in council he said, "So far, I have never been at fault in the con-

  1. The Goddess of Spring and of Flowers, was also regarded by the Greeks as the Goddess of Youth and its pleasures.