The Wolf As Moralist

Can you still remember hearing once a story told to you by meOf the wolf who chanced anointed to the royal throne to be?I shall now impart what followed in his state or polity.Hearing first His lawful Highness that under his reign and ruleMost of his revered lieutenants were inured to dealing foulBy oppressing beastly members like a single loaded mule,That the justice writs were falsely just invoked and held in hand, In the claws so false extended scratching into bleeding hearts As to send to courtrooms plenty Some in need to be defended, Some as mere litigants,Summoned he his four-foot peers on the green under a tree In its shade as in the precincts of a very holy see. Bent he was on some directions, Setting them examples good,Making up his powerful sermonOf a just deed's timely hue.For their sense he kept evoking What is meet in office deedsEven though he spoke quite briefly.Not to lose them by his words.They responded duly coming to his summons in greatest numbers,Ready in good manners to attend the Crown;Whereupon he started his discourse to sound,Fairly addressing words to put them down:"Gentlemen of best and better sort! Can this be? Ahem!Are you thus fulfilling your appointed duty,Fearing in action neither God nor men,Perpetrating evil, all good souls despoiling?!Though in faith, the Country, sees to your full weal Gifts bestows at feast days To complete your wages, But the evil habits That you let your nature To corrupt and nurture You don't make desist.Mark how vice is chastised with a dire deathAnd how ill reputed are those false of breath.On the day of judgment rivet you your conscience,Of your soul take counsel and from me the instanceTake as paragon for the good deeds' hue, In upholding virtue for the chosen few."I can tell you plainly how it came His WolfnessHad so chanced to hear how to chastise vices: T'other day he'd listenedTo the preaching parsonFor a Patron Saint's Day.Hence he now invited everyone to pray."So – what do you reckon, my genteel men, say? Will you start consenting to reform your ways?"Quoth the wolfish Highness in a fur cape draped.And the cape was one lamb's skinned off on his back."Well," he said, "my statesmen, will you be reformed?" "May you live well, thriving, your animal Highness!"Said a he-fox sire that all kept in praise"Pardon me the boldness if I were to ask youWhence you took the fustian for your mighty cape?" When the royal cape is fashioned from lambs' skinsNo one should then wonder at despoiling sins.

by Grigore Alexandrescu (1810-1885)