(Recueil 2, Livre 11, Fable 10)
It's thus, by crystal fount, my muse has sung,
Translating into heavenly tongue
Whatever came within my reach,
From hosts of beings borr'wing nature's speech.
Interpreter of tribes diverse,
I have made them actors on my motley stage;
For in this boundless universe
There's none that talketh, simpleton or sage,
More eloquent at home than in my verse.
If some should find themselves by me the worse,
And this my work prove not a model true,
To that which I at least rough-hew,
Succeeding hands will give the finish due.
You pets of those sweet sisters nine,
Complete the task that I resign;
The lessons give, which doubtless I have omitted,
With wings by these inventions nicely fitted!
But you're already more than occupied;
For while my muse her harmless work has plied,
All Europe to our sovereign yields,
And learns, on her battle-fields,
To bow before the noblest plan
That ever monarch formed, or man.
Thence draw those sisters themes sublime,
With power to conquer Fate and Time.
Jean de La Fontaine