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The beasts whose breasts were battle-proof,
Not first, but, as we say, in fine,
He, for prime minister the swine.
THE CAT AND THE THRUSH.
A THRUSH that sang one rustic ode
To make him safe from every foe;
Was undisturb’d by spade or hoe.
Though there it cost them vastly more,
In 1844 Mr. Wright wrote the Preface to the first collected edition of the works of the poet J. G. Whittier ; and soon after he seems to have become completely absorbed in politics, and in the mighty anti-slavery struggle, which constituted the greater part of the politics of the United States in those and many succeeding years.
He became a journalist in the anti-slavery cause; and, in 1850, he wrote a trenchant answer to Mr. Carlyle's then just published "Latter Day Pamphlets.” Later on, slavery having been at length abolished, he appeared as a writer in yet another field
, publishing several works, one as lately as 1877, on
TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS TRANSLATION.
(BOSTON, U.S.A., 1841.]
Four years ago, I dropped into Charles de Behr's repository of foreign books, in Broadway, New York, and there, for the first time, saw La Fontaine's Fables. cheap copy, adorned with some two hundred woodcuts, which, by their worn appearance, betokened an extensive manufacture. I became a purchaser, and gave the book to my little boy, then just beginning to feel the intellectual magnetism of pictures. In the course of the next year,
he frequently tasked my imperfect knowledge of French for the story which belonged to some favourite vignette. This led me to inquire whether any English version existed; and, not finding any, I resolved, though quite unused to literary exercises of the sort, to cheat sleep of an hour every morning till there should be one. The result is before
If in this I have wronged La Fontaine, I hope the best-natured of poets, as well as yourselves, will forgive me, and lay the blame on the better qualified, who have so long neglected the task. Cowper should have done it. The author of "John Gilpin," and the “Retired Cat,” would have put La Fontaine into every chimney-corner which resounds with the Anglo-Saxon tongue. To you who have so generously enabled me to publish this work with so great adrantages, and without selling the copyright for the promise of a song, I return my heartfelt thanks. A hatchetfaced, spectacled, threadbare stranger knocked at your
doors, with a prospectus, unbacked by "the trade," soliciting your subscription to a costly edition of a mere translation. It is a most inglorious, unsatisfactory species of literature. The slightest preponderance of that worldly wisdom which never buys a pig-in-a-poke would have sent him and his translation packing. But a kind faith in your species got the better in your case. You not only gave the hungrylooking stranger your good wishes, but your good names. A list of those names.it would delight me to insert; and I should certainly do it if I felt authorized. As it is, I hope to be pardoned for mentioning some of the individuals, who have not only given their names, but expressed an interest in my enterprise which has assisted me in its accomplishment. Rev. John Pierpont, Prof. George Ticknor, Prof. Henry W. Longfellow, William H. Prescott, Esq., Hon. Theodore Lyman, Prof. Silliman, Prof. Denison Olmsted, Chancellor Kent, William C. Bryant, Esq., Dr. J. W. Francis, Hon. Peter A. Jay, Hon. Luther Bradish, and Prof. J. Molinard, have special claims to my gratitude....
The work—as it is, not as it ought to be I commit to your kindness. I do not claim to have succeeded in translating "the inimitable La Fontaine,”—perhaps I have not even a right to say in his own language
« J'ai du moins ouvert le chemin." However this may be, I am, gratefully,
Your obedient servant,
ELIZUR WRIGHT, JR.
DORCHESTER, September, 1817.