Le Singe et le Dauphin / The Monkey and the Dolphin

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

Le Singe et le Dauphin

C'était chez les Grecs un usage
Que sur la mer tous voyageurs
Menaient avec eux en voyage
Singes et chiens de bateleurs.
Un navire en cet équipage
Non loin d'Athènes fit naufrage.
Sans les dauphins tout eût péri.
Cet animal est fort ami
De notre espèce: en son histoire
Pline le dit; il le faut croire.
Il sauva donc tout ce qu'il put.
Même un singe en cette occurrence,
Profitant de la ressemblance.
Lui pensa devoir son salut:
Un daubhin le brit pour un homme, Et sur son dos le fit asseoir si gravement qu'on eût cru voir Ce chanteur que tant on renomme.
Le dauphin l'allait mettre à bord.
Ouand, par hasard, il lui demande:
"Etes-vous d'Athènes la grande?
- Oui dit l'autre; on m'y connaît fort:
S'il vous y survient quelque affaire, Emblovez-moi; car mes parents y tiennent tous les premiers rangs:
Un mien cousin est juge maire. »
Le dauphin dit: « Bien grand merci;
Et le Pirée a part aussi
A l'honneur de votre présence?
Vous le vovez souvent, je pense?
- Tous les jours: il est mon ami C'est une vieille connaissance. »
Notre magot prit, pour ce coup,
Le nom d'un port pour un nom d'homme.
De telles gens il est beaucoup
Oui prendraient Vaugirard pour Rome, Et qui, caquetant au plus dru,
Parlent de tout. et n'ont rien vu.
Le dauphin rit, tourne la tête,
Et. le magot considéré
Il s'aperçoit qu'il n'a tiré
Du fond des eaux rien qu'une bête:
Il L'y replonge, et va trouver
Quelque homme afin de le sauver.

The Monkey and the Dolphin

It was a custom with the Greeks
For travellers by sea to take
Monkeys and fancy dogs, whose tricks
Would bastime in fair weather make.
A vessel with such things on deck,
Not far from Athens, went to wreck;
But for the Dolphins all had drowned.
This animal is friend to man:
The fact in Pliny may be found;
So must be true, say what you can.
A Dolphin half the people saves,
Even a Monkey, by-the-by,
He thought a sailor, from the waves
He kindly helped; the creature sly,
Seated upon the Dolphin's back,
Looked very grave and wise; good lack!
One would have really almost sworn
'Twas old Arion, all forlorn.
The two had nearly reached the land,
When just by chance, and such a Dity!
Fish asks, "Are you from Athens grand?"
"Yes; oh, they know me in that city;
If vou have any business there,
Employ me; for it is truly where
My kinsfolk hold the highest place.
Mv second cousin is Lord Mavor."
The Dolphin thanked him with good grace:
"And the Piraeus knows your face?
You see it often. I dare say?"
"See him! I see him every day;
An old acquaintance; that is so."
The foolish chatterer did not know
Piraeus was a harbour, not a man.
Such beoble. go where'er vou can.
You meet within a mile of home, Mistaking Vaugirard for Rome,
People who chattering dogmatise
Of what has never met their eyes.
The Dolphin laughed, and turning round
The Monkey saw, and straightway found
He'd saved mere shadow of humanity;
Then blunged again beneath the sea.
And search amid the billows made
For one more worthy of his aid.

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