The Lion Going To War

: A Hundred Fables Of La Fontaine

The lion had an enterprise in hand;

Held a war-council, sent his provost-marshal,

And gave the animals a call impartial--

Each, in his way, to serve his high command.

The elephant should carry on his back

The tools of war, the mighty public pack,

And fight in elephantine way and form;

The bear should hold himself prepared to storm;

The fox all secret stratagems should fix;

The monkey should amuse the foe by tricks.

"Dismiss," said one, "the blockhead asses,

And hares, too cowardly and fleet."

"No," said the king; "I use all classes;

Without their aid my force were incomplete.

The ass shall be our trumpeter, to scare

Our enemy. And then the nimble hare

Our royal bulletins shall homeward bear."

_A monarch provident and wise_

_Will hold his subjects all of consequence,_

_And know in each what talent lies._

_There's nothing useless to a man of sense._