L'Élephant et le Singe de Jupiter / The Elephant and Jupiter's Monkey

oil on canvas
81 x 100 cm
signed and dated 'W Aractingii 89' (lower right)


The Artist's Estate

Condition Report
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Beirut, Lebanon

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About this artwork

L'Eléphant et le Singe de Jupiter

Autrefois l'éléphant et le rhinocéros, En dispute du pas et des droits de l'empire,
Voulurent terminer la querelle en champ clos.
Le jour en était pris, quand quelqu'un vint leur dire Que le singe de Jupiter, Portant un caducée, avait paru dans l'air.
Ce singe, avait nom Gille, à ce que dit l'histoire.
Aussitôt l'éléphant de croire
Qu'en qualité d'ambassadeur
Il venait trouver sa grandeur.
Tout fier de ce sujet de gloire,
Il attend maître Gille, et le trouve un peu lent
A lui présenter sa créance.
Maître Gille enfin, en passant,
Va saluer son excellence.
L'autre était préparé sur la légation: Mais bas un mot. L'attention Qu'il croyait que les dieux eussent à sa querelle
N'agitait pas encor chez eux cette nouvelle.
Qu'importe à ceux du firmament
Qu'on soit mouche ou bien éléphant?
Il se vit donc réduit à commencer lui-même:
« Mon cousin Jupiter, dit-il, verra dans peu
Un assez beau combat, de son trône suprême;
Toute sa cour verra beau jeu.
- "Quel combat?» dit le singe avec un front sévère.
L'éléphant repartit: « Quoi! vous ne savez pas
Que le rhinocéros me dispute le pas;
Qu'Eléphantide a guerre avecque Rhinocère?
Vous connaissez ces lieux, ils ont quelque renom.
- Vraiment je suis ravi d'en apprendre le nom, Repartit maître Gille: on ne s'entretient guère De semblables suiets dans nos vastes lambris »
L'éléphant, honteux et surpris,
Lui dit: « Eh! parmi nous que venez-vous donc faire?
- Partager un brin d'herbe entre quelques fourmis:
Nous avons soin de tout. Et quant à votre affaire, On n'en dit rien encor dans le conseil des dieux:
Les petits et les grands sont égaux à leurs veux. »

The Elephant and Jupiter's Monkey

An Elephant had words, one day,
With a Rhinoceros, they say.
They settled they would fight it out.
But, while the matter was about,
Jove's Monkey, like a Mercury, came
Giles was, historians say, bis name.
The Elephant, a brute ambitious,
Was pleased to find the heaven propitious.
Eager for fame, he smiled to see
So dignified an embassy.
But Giles, though wise in all essentials,
Is slow presenting his credentials.
At length he comes to pay respect,
Yet still shows somewhat of neglect;
Steaks not a word no single mention
Of the great deities' attention.
What care those living in the skies
If perish Elephants or flies?
The potentate's compelled to speak:
"My cousin, Jupiter, this week
Will see, from bis Olympic throne,
A pretty combat, as be'll own;
And his Court, too, will see it partly."
"What combat?" said the Monkey, tartly.
"Pooh!" said the Elephant; "vou know
'Bout the Rhinoceros, and the blow;
'Tis property that we dispute.
In a long, tedious Chancery suit
Elephantor and Rhinocere
Are warring, as you've heard up there."
"I'm pleased to learn their names, good sir."
Said Master Giles; "but, King, you err
!f you think we of such things beed."
The Elephant, surprised indeed,
Said, "Who, then, come vou now to aid?"
"I come to part a blade of grass
Between some ants. To every class
Our cares of sovereignty extend.
As for your wars, my noble friend,
The gods have not heard of them yet;
Or, if they have, they do forget.
The small and great are, in Jove's eye,
Guarded with like equality."

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