Le Rat de Ville et le Rat des Champs / The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

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


The Artist's Estate

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Beirut, Lebanon

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About this artwork

Le Rat de ville et le Rat des champs

Autrefois le rat de ville
Invita le rat des champs,
D’une façon fort civile,
À des reliefs d’ortolans.
Sur un tapis de Turquie
Le couvert se trouva mis.
Je laisse à penser la vie
Que firent ces deux amis.
Le régal fut fort honnête,
Rien ne manquait au festin ;
Mais quelqu’un troubla la fête
Pendant qu’ils étaient en train.
À la porte de la salle
Ils entendirent du bruit :
Le rat de ville détale ;
Son camarade le suit.
Le bruit cesse, on se retire :
Rats en campagne aussitôt ;
Et le citadin de dire :
« Achevons tout notre rôt.
C’est assez, dit le rustique ;
Demain vous viendrez chez moi :
Ce n’est pas que je me pique
De tous vos festins de roi ;
Mais rien ne vient m’interrompre :
Je mange tout à loisir.
Adieu donc ; fi du plaisir
Que la crainte peut corrompre. »

The City Rat, and the Country Rat

A city rat, one night,
Did, with a civil stoop,
A country rat invite
To end a turtle soup.
Upon a Turkey carpet
They found the table spread,
And sure I need not harp it
How well the fellows fed.
The entertainment was
A truly noble one;
But some unlucky cause
Disturb'd it when begun.
It was a slight rat-tat,
That put their joys to rout;
Out ran the city rat;
His guest, too, scamper'd out.
Our rats but fairly quit,
The fearful knocking ceased.
'Return we,' cried the cit,
To finish there our feast.
'No,' said the rustic rat;
'To-morrow dine with me.
I'm not offended at
Your feast so grand and free, -
'For I've no fare resembling;
But then I eat at leisure,
And would not swap, for pleasure
So mix'd with fear and trembling.'

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