Le Héron / The Heron

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


The Artist's Estate

Condition Report
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Beirut, Lebanon

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About this artwork

Le Héron

Un jour, sur ses longs pieds, allait je ne sais où
Le héron au long bec emmanché d'un long cou.
Il côtoyait une rivière.
L'onde était transparente ainsi qu'aux plus beaux jours:
Ma commère la carpe y faisait mille tours
Avec le brochet son combère.
Le héron en eût fait aisément son profit:
Tous approchaient du bord; l'oiseau n'avait qu'à prendre.
Mais il crut mieux faire d'attendre
Qu'il eût un peu plus d'appétit;
Il vivait de régime, et mangeait à ses heures.
Après quelques moments, l'appétit vint: l'oiseau,
S'approchant du bord, vit sur l'eau
Des tanches qui sortaient du fond de ces demeures
Le mets ne lui plut pas; il s'attendait à mieux, Et montrait un goût dédaigneux, Comme le rat du bon Horace.
"Moi, des tanches! dit-il; moi, héron, que je fasse Une si pauvre chère! Et pour qui me prend-on?" La tanche rebutée, il trouva du goujon.
"Du goujon! c'est bien là le diner d'un béron!
Jouvrirais pour si peu le bec! aux dieux ne plaise!" Il l'ouvrit pour bien moins; tout alla de façon
Qu'il ne vit plus aucun poisson.
La faim le prit: il fut tout heureux et tout aise
De rencontrer un limaçon.

Ne soyons pas si difficiles:
Les plus accommodants, ce sont les plus habiles;
On hasarde de perdre en voulant trop gagner.
Gardez-vous de rien dédaigner.

The Heron

One day, on his stilt legs, walked, bere and there,
A Heron, with long neck and searching beak;
Along a river side he came to seek.
The water was transparent, the day fair,
Gossip, the Carp, was gambolling in the stream:
The Pike, her neighbour, was in spirits, too.
The Heron had no trouble, it would seem,
But to approach the bank, and snap the two;
But he resolved for better appetite
To calmly wait: - he had his stated bours:
He lived by rule. At last, there came in sight
Some Tench, that exercised their finny powers.
They pleased him not, and so he waited still,
Scornful, like rat of whom good Horace wrote.
"What! eat a tench? - who can take my fill,
Munch such poor trash?" - hell sing another note.
The tench refused, a gudgeon next came by:
" pretty dish for such as me, forsooth!
The gods forgive me if I eat such fry:
I'll never open beak for that:" - and yet, in truth,
He opened for far less. The fish no more
Returned. Then Hunger came; - thus ends my tale.
He who'd rejected dishes half a score,
Was forced, at last, to snap a paltry snail.
Do not be too exacting. The cleverer people are
The sooner pleased, by far.
We all may lose by trying for too much; -
I have known such.

Hold nothing in contempt, and the less so,
If you are needing help, for know
In that trap many fall, not only birds,
Like Herons, to whom now I gave some words.
Listen, my fellow-men, - another fable;
Some lessons can be found amid vour lords.

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