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Quotes and Images From The Tales and Novels of Jean de La Fontaine   By: (1621-1695)

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QUOTES AND IMAGES FROM THE NOVELS OF FONTAINE

THE TALES AND NOVELS

OF

J. DE LA FONTAINE

A pretty wife? Beware the monks as you would guard your life

Above all law is might

Avoid attorneys, if you comfort crave

Delays are dangerous, in love or war

Ev'ry grave's the same

Extremes in ev'ry thing will soonest tire

In childhood FEAR 's the lesson first we know!

In country villages each step is seen

In the midst of society, he was absent from it

Monks are knaves in Virtue's mask

No folly greater than to heighten pain

Some ostentation ever is with grief

The god of love and wisdom ne'er agree

Those who weep most the soonest gain relief

Tis past our pow'r to live on love or air

Twere wrong with hope our fond desires to feed

We scarcely good can find without alloy

Who knows too much, oft shows a want of sense

LIFE OF

JEAN DE LA FONTAINE

Jean de La Fontaine was born on the 8th of July, 1621, at Chateau Thierry, and his family held a respectable position there.

His education was neglected, but he had received that genius which makes amends for all. While still young the tedium of society led him into retirement, from which a taste for independence afterwards withdrew him.

He had reached the age of twenty two, when a few sounds from the lyre of Malherbe, heard by accident, awoke in him the muse which slept.

He soon became acquainted with the best models: Phoedrus, Virgil, Horace and Terence amongst the Latins; Plutarch, Homer and Plato, amongst the Greeks; Rabelais, Marot and d'Urfe, amongst the French; Tasso, Ariosto and Boccaccio, amongst the Italians.

He married, in compliance with the wishes of his family, a beautiful, witty and chaste woman, who drove him to despair.

He was sought after and cherished by all distinguished men of letters. But it was two Ladies who kept him from experiencing the pangs of poverty.

La Fontaine, if there remain anything of thee, and if it be permitted to thee for a moment to soar above all time; see the names of La Sabliere and of Hervard pass with thine to the ages to come!

The life of La Fontaine was, so to speak, only one of continual distraction. In the midst of society, he was absent from it. Regarded almost as an imbecile by the crowd, this clever author, this amiable man, only permitted himself to be seen at intervals and by friends.

He had few books and few friends.

Amongst a large number of works that he has left, everyone knows his fables and his tales, and the circumstances of his life are written in a hundred places.

He died on the 16th of March, 1695.

He was buried in the cemetery of Saint Joseph, by the side of Moliere.

THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE

TO THE FIRST VOLUME OF THESE TALES

I had resolved not to consent to the printing of these Tales, until after I had joined to them those of Boccaccio, which are those most to my taste; but several persons have advised me to produce at once what I have remaining of these trifles, in order to prevent from cooling the curiosity to see them, which is still in its first ardour. I gave way to this advice without much difficulty, and I have thought well to profit by the occasion. Not only is that permitted me, but it would be vanity on my part to despise such an advantage........... Now, that I should be permitted to write about these as so many others have done and with success I do not believe it can be doubted; and people cannot condemn me for so doing, without also condemning Ariosto before me and the Ancients before Ariosto. It may be said that I should have done better to have suppressed certain details, or at least to have disguised them. Nothing was more easy, but it would have weakened the tale and taken away some of its charm: So much circumspection is only necessary in works which promise great discretion from the beginning, either by their subject or by the manner in which they are treated. I confess that it is necessary to keep within certain limits, and that the narrowest are the best; also it must be allowed me that to be too scrupulous would spoil all... Continue reading book >>




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