La doctrine militaire



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Dec 31, 1671
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Âge : 7-10 ans Niveau de lecture : CE2

Redécouvrez les plus célèbres fables de La Fontaine dans une collection unique accompagnée d'illustrations colorées qui raviront petits et grands.

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Le Chêne et le Roseau
Le Chêne un jour dit au Roseau :Vous avez bien sujet d’accuser la Nature ;Un Roitelet pour vous est un pesant fardeau.Le moindre vent qui d’aventureFait rider la face de l’eauVous oblige à baisser la tête :Cependant que mon front, au Caucase pareil,Non content d’arrêter les rayons du Soleil,Brave l’effort de la tempête.Tout vous est Aquilon, tout me semble Zéphyr.Encor si vous naissiez à l’abri du feuillageDont je couvre le voisinage,Vous n’auriez pas tant à souffrir :Je vous défendrais de l’orage ;Mais vous naissez le plus souventSur les humides bords des Royaumes du vent.La nature envers vous me semble bien injuste.– Votre compassion, lui répondit l’Arbuste,Part d’un bon naturel ; mais quittez ce souci.Les vents me sont moins qu’à vous redoutables.Je plie, et ne romps pas. Vous avez jusqu’iciContre leurs coups épouvantablesRésisté sans courber le dos ;Mais attendons la fin. Comme il disait ces motsDu bout de l’horizon accourt avec furieLe plus terrible des enfantsQue le Nord eût porté jusques-là dans ses flancs.L’Arbre tient bon ; le Roseau plie.Le vent redouble ses efforts,Et fait si bien qu’il déracineCelui de qui la tête au Ciel était voisine,Et dont les pieds touchaient à l’Empire des Morts.


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. It has sufficed me to wish that no one should be imposed upon in my favour, and to follow a road contrary to that of certain persons, who only make friends in order to gain voices in their favour by their means; creatures of the Cabal, very different from that Spaniard who prided himself on being the son of his own works. Although I may still be as much in want of these artifices as any other person, I cannot bring myself to resolve to employ them; however I shall accommodate myself if possible to the taste of the times, instructed as I am by my own experience, that there is nothing which is more necessary. Indeed one cannot say that all seasons are suitable for all classes of books. We have seen the Roundelays, the Metamorphoses, the Crambos, reign one after another. At present, these gallantries are out of date and nobody cares about them: so certain is it that what pleases at one time may not please at another! It only belongs to works of truly solid merit and sovereign beauty, to be well received by all minds and in all ages, without possessing any other passport than the sole merit with which they are filled. As mine are so far distant from such a high degree of perfection, prudence advises that I should keep them in my cabinet unless I choose well my own time for producing them. This is what I have done, or what I have tried to do in this edition, in which I have only added new Tales, because it seemed to me that people were prepared to take pleasure in them. There are some which I have extended, and others which I have abridged, only for the sake of diversifying them and making them less tedious. But I am occupying myself over matters about which perhaps people will take no notice, whilst I have reason to apprehend much more important objections. There are only two principal ones which can be made against me; the one that this book is licentious; the other that it does not sufficiently spare the fair sex. With regard to the first, I say boldly that the nature of what is understood as a tale decided that it should be so, it being an indispensable law according to Horace, or rather according to reason and common sense, that one must conform one's self to the nature of the things about which one writes. 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. He who would wish to reduce Boccaccio to the same modesty as Virgil, would assuredly produce nothing worth having, and would sin against the laws of propriety by setting himself the task to observe them. For in order that one may not make a mistake in matters of verse and prose, extreme modesty and propriety are two very different things. Cicero makes the latter consist in saying what is appropriate one should say, considering the place, the time, and the persons to whom one is speaking. This principle once admitted, it is not a fault of judgment to entertain the people of to-day with Tales which are a little broad. Neither do I sin in that against morality.

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