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JEAN DE LA FONTAINE
French poet and fabulist
(1621 - 1695)
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The ruins of a house may be repaired; why cannot those of the face?
      - [Ruins]

We believe easily what we fear of what we desire.
      - [Credulity]

What is denominated discretion in man we call cunning in brutes.
      - [Discretion]

Imitators are a slavish herd and fools in my opinion.
  [Fr., C'est un betail servile et sot a mon avis
    Que les imitateurs.]
      - Clymene (v. 54) [Imitation]

A fly sat on the chariot wheel
  And said "what a dust I raise."
      - Fables (bk. VII, 9) [Flies]

The reasoning of the strongest is always the best.
  [Fr., La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure.]
      - Fables (I, 10) [Reason]

As sheepish as a fox captured by a fowl.
  [Fr., Honteux comme un renard qu'une poule aurait pris.]
      - Fables (I, 18) [Foxes]

Lynx-eyes toward our equals, and moles to ourselves.
  [Fr., Lynx envers nos pareils, et taupes envers nous.]
      - Fables (I, 7) [Criticism]

'Tis thus we heed no instincts but our own,
  Believe no evil, till the evil's done.
    [Fr., Nous n'ecoutons d'instincts que ceux qui sont les notres.
      Et ne croyons le mal que quand il est venu.]
      - Fables (I, 8) [Instinct]

The fastidious are unfortunate: nothing can satisfy them.
  [Lat., Les delicats sont malheureux,
    Rien ne saurait les satisfaire.]
      - Fables (II, 1) [Satisfaction]

By time and toil we sever
  What strength and rage could never.
    [Fr., Patience et longueur de temps.
      Font plus que force ni que rage.]
      - Fables (II, 11) [Patience]

It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.
  [Fr., Car c'est double plaisir de tromper le trompeur.]
      - Fables (II, 15) [Deceit]

Neither blows from pitchfork, nor from the lash, can make him change his ways.
  [Fr., Coups de fourches ni d'etriveres,
    Ne lui font changer de manieres.]
      - Fables (II, 18) [Change]

Alas! we see that the small have always suffered for the follies of the great.
  [Fr., Helas! on voit que de tout temps
    Les Petits ont pati des sottises des grands.]
      - Fables (II, 4) [Folly]

Example is a dangerous lure: where the wasp got through the gnat sticks fast.
  [Fr., L'exemple est un dangereux leurre;
    Ou la guepe a passe, le moucheron demeure.]
      - Fables (II, XVI) [Example]

He is very foolish who aims at satisfying all the world and his father.
  [Fr., Est bien fou du cerveau
    Qui pretend contenter tout le monde et son pere.]
      - Fables (III, 1) [Satisfaction]

We ought to consider the end in everything.
  [Fr., En toute chose il faut considerer la fin.]
      - Fables (III, 5) [End]

O tyrant love, when held by you,
  We may to prudence bid adieu.
    [Fr., Amour! Amour! quand tu nous tiens
      On peut bien dire, Adieu, prudence.]
      - Fables (IV, 1) [Love]

From a distance it is something; and nearby it is nothing.
  [Fr., De loin, c'est quelque chose; et de pres, ce n'est rien.]
      - Fables (IV, 10) [Fear]

Let us not overstrain our talents, lest we do nothing gracefully: a clown, whatever he may do, will never pass for a gentleman.
  [Fr., Ne forcons point notre talent;
    Nous ne ferions rien avec grace:
      Jamais un lourdaud, quoi qu'il fasse,
        Ne saurit passer pour galant.]
      - Fables (IV, 5) [Talent]

I bend and do not break.
  [Fr., Je plie et ne romps pas.]
      - Fables (IX, 14) [Prudence]

Too many expedients may spoil an affair.
  [Fr., Le trop d'expedients peut gater une affaire.]
      - Fables (IX, 14) [Prudence]

But a rascal of a child (that age is without pity).
  [Fr., Mais un pripon d'enfant (cet age est sans pitie).
      - Fables (IX, 2) [Childhood]

We ought never to scoff at the wretched, for who can be sure of continued happiness?
  [Fr., Il ne se faut jamais moquer des miserables,
    Car qui peut s'assurer d'etre toujours heureux?]
      - Fables (V, 17) [Misery]

Sensible people find nothing useless.
  [Fr., Il n'est rien d'inutile aux personnes de sens.]
      - Fables (V, 19) [Sense]


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