A Century of Fables in Verse, For the Most Part Paraphrased or Imitated from Various Languages
Evans, W. R
. Robert Hardwicke . London
Aesop and others
PN982.E92 1860 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Aesop and others
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There are some things not to miss in this little work. First, there is an unusual list of subscribers at the back. After some very careful reflections on how a person would come to write a book like this, the author sets forth that he needs the money for the books involved in his further studies. He is only a carpenter's son and has been working in the printer's trade since he was thirteen. His literary pursuits have to be done after hours. The T of C at the beginning gives the author of each fable, but note Evans' insistence that he has often gone beyond his sources. Century here refers to the total of one hundred fables, not to a time-period. I note some curiosities in the hundred fables here. In the first, Truth and Fable has become Truth and Fiction. TB here (20) involves two hunters who spend three days running up a bill at the lodge while seeking the bear. They finally promise the bearskin as payment for their room and board. In fact, one gets off a shot and then climbs a tree. The other's gun fails, and he must lie down as though dead. The bear's advice here is not to sell a bear's skin until they have killed the bear. Each of the fifty odd lines of The Old Man and Death (26) ends in -ing. The fox in FWT is asked to turn in order for the other foxes to see/If you without a tail display/A better shape than we (54). Among the fables, I find The Dancing Bear (14) particularly well done, with a pithy moral. Also good are The Ass and the Flute (42), The Wolf and the Hedgehog (61), and Gellert's The Cuckoo (74). A couple of short put-downs are also well done: The Hawk and the Thrush (89) and The Swan and the Drake (93). This is a book I would recommend to someone who wants to read verse renditions of something other than just the most standard fables from the tradition. It is quite a good little book.