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CHAPTER II.: THE FIRST SUMMONS. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe’s Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc) 
Goethe’s Works, illustrated by the best German artists, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: G. Barrie, 1885). Vol. 3.
Part of: Goethe’s Works, 5 vols.
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THE FIRST SUMMONS.
NOW with his ragged staff the Bear set forth,
And with his best grease larded the lean earth.
Through forests vast he went and deserts drear;
But his bold heart knew neither doubt nor fear.
At length the mountain region he approached,
Wherein Sir Reynard generally poached:
But Bruin would not tarry or delay;
Tow’rds Malepartus held he on his way,
The fav’rite fastness of the robber chief;
And there he hoped to catch the wily thief:
Thither for safety usually he fled,
When threat’ning danger overhung his head.
At length Sir Bruin stood before the gate,
And, finding it was shut, he scratched his pate,
Not knowing whether best to go or wait.
Then he began to cry, with mighty din:
“What, Cousin Reynard, ho! are you within?
Bruin the Bear it is who calls. I bring
A missive from our sov’reign lord, the king:
He orders you, all bus’ness laid aside,
Repair to court and there your doom abide;
That equal right and justice may be done,
And satisfaction giv’n to every one.
I am to fetch you: if you hesitate,
The gallows or the wheel will be your fate.
Better to come at once, fair cousin, sith
The king, you know, will not be trifled with.”
Reynard, from the beginning to the end,
Had heard this summons; and did now perpend
In what way he might punish his fat friend.
Into a private corner he had fled,
Where he could hear securely all was said.
His keep was built with many a secret door,
With traps above and pits beneath the floor;
With labyrinthine passages and channels,
With secret chambers and with sliding panels.
There he would often hide, the cunning hound,
When he was wanted, and would not be found.
Amid this intricate obscurity,
Where none could safely find his path but he,
Full many a simple beast had lost his way,
And to the wily robber fall’n a prey.
Reynard suspected there might be some cheat;
For the deceitful always fear deceit.
Was Bruin quite alone? He felt afraid,
There might be others hid in ambuscade.
But soon as he was fully satisfied
His fears were vain, forth from the door he hied;
And, “Welcome, dearest uncle, here,” quoth he,
With studied look of deep humility,
And the most jesuitical of whispers.
“I heard you call; but I was reading vespers.
I am quite grieved you should have had to wait,
In this cold wind too, standing at my gate.
How glad I am you’re come; for I feel sure
With your kind aid my cause will be secure;
However that may be, at least, I know
More welcome nobody could be than you.
But truly ’twas a pity I must say
T’ have sent you such a long and tedious way.
Good Heav’ns! how hot you are! you’re tired to death!
How wet your hair is, and how scant your breath!
Although no slight our good king could have meant,
Some other messenger he might have sent
Than Bruin, the chief glory of his court,
His kingdom’s main adornment and support.
Though I should be the last to blame his choice,
Who have, in sooth, no cause but to rejoice.
How I am slandered well aware am I,
But on your love of justice I rely,
That you will speak of things just as you find them;
As to my enemies I need not mind them:
Their malice vainly shall my cause assail;
For truth, we know, is great, and must prevail.
“To court to-morrow we will take our way:
I should myself prefer to start to-day,
Not having cause—why should I have?—to hide;
But I am rather bad in my inside.
By what I’ve eaten I am quite upset,
And nowise fitted for a journey yet.”
“What was it?” asked Sir Bruin, quite prepar’d,
For Reynard had not thrown him off his guard.
“Ah!” quoth the Fox, “what boots it to explain?
E’en your kind pity could not ease my pain.
Since flesh I have abjured, for my soul’s weal,
I’m often sadly put to’t for a meal.
I bear my wretched life as best I can;
A hermit fares not like an alderman.
But yesterday, as other viands failed,
I ate some honey,—see how I am swelled!
Of that there’s always to be had enough:
Would I had never touched the cursed stuff.
I ate it out of sheer necessity:
Physic is not so nauseous near to me.”
“Honey!” exclaimed the Bear; “did you say honey?
Would I could any get for love or money!
How can you speak so ill of what’s so good?
Honey has ever been my fav’rite food;
It is so wholesome, and so sweet and luscious;
I can’t conceive how you can call it nauseous.
Do get me some on’t; and you may depend
You’ll make me evermore your steadfast friend.”
“You’re surely joking, uncle!” Reynard cried;
“No, on my sacred word!” the Bear replied;
“I’d not, though jokes as blackberries were rife,
Joke upon such a subject for my life.”
“Well! you surprise me,” said the knavish beast;
“There’s no accounting certainly for taste;
And one man’s meat is oft another’s poison.
I’ll wager that you never set your eyes on
Such store of honey as you soon shall spy
At Gaffer Joiner’s, who lives here hard by.”
In fancy o’er the treat did Bruin gloat;
While his mouth fairly watered at the thought.
“Oh, take me, take me there, dear coz,” quoth he,
“And I will ne’er forget your courtesy.
Oh, let me have a taste, if not my fill:
Do, cousin.” Reynard grinned, and said, “I will.
Honey you shall not long time be without:
’Tis true just now I’m rather sore of foot;
But what of that? the love I bear to you
Shall make the road seem short and easy too.
Not one of all my kith or kin is there
Whom I so honor as th’ illustrious Bear.
Come then! and in return I know you’ll say
A good word for me on the council-day.
You shall have honey to your heart’s content,
And wax too, if your fancy’s that way bent.”
Whacks of a different sort the sly rogue meant.
Off starts the wily Fox, in merry trim,
And Bruin blindly follows after him.
“If you have luck,” thought Reynard, with a titter,
“I guess you’ll find our honey rather bitter.”
When they at length reached Goodman Joiner’s yard,
The joy that Bruin felt he might have spar’d.
But Hope, it seems, by some eternal rule,
Beguiles the wisest as the merest fool.
’Twas ev’ning now, and Reynard knew, he said,
The Goodman would be safe and sound in bed.
A good and skilful carpenter was he:
Within his yard there lay an old oak tree,
Whose gnarled and knotted trunk he had to split;
A stout wedge had he driven into it:
The cleft gaped open a good three foot wide;
Towards this spot the crafty Reynard hied;
“Uncle,” quoth he, “your steps this way direct,
You’ll find more honey here than you suspect.
In at this fissure boldly thrust your pate;
But I beseech you to be moderate:
Remember, sweetest things the soonest cloy,
And temperance enhances ev’ry joy.”
“What!” said the Bear, a shocked look as he put on
Of self-restraint; “d’ye take me for a glutton?
With thanks I use the gifts of Providence,
But to abuse them count a grave offence.”
And so Sir Bruin let himself be fooled:
As strength will be whene’er by craft ’tis ruled.
Into the cleft he thrust his greedy maw
Up to the ears, and either foremost paw.
Reynard drew near; and tugging might and main
Pulled forth the wedge; and the trunk closed again.
By head and foot was Bruin firmly caught:
Nor threats nor flatt’ry could avail him aught.
He howled, he raved, he struggled and he tore,
Till the whole place re-echoed with his roar;
And Goodman Joiner, wakened by the rout,
Jumped up much wond’ring what ’twas all about;
And seized his axe, that he might be prepar’d,
And danger, if it came, might find him on his guard.
Still howled the Bear and struggled to get free
From the accursed grip of that cleft tree.
He strove and strained; but strained and strove in vain,
His mightiest efforts but mereased his pain:
He thought he never should get loose again.
And Reynard thought the same, for his own part;
And wished it too, devoutly from his heart.
And as the Joiner coming he espied,
Armed with his axe, the jesting ruffian cried:
“Uncle, what cheer? Is th’ honey to your taste?
Don’t eat too quick, there’s no such need of haste.
The Joiner’s coming; and I make no question.
He brings you your desert, to help digestion.”
Then deeming ’twas not longer safe to stay,
To Malepartus back he took his way.
The Joiner, when he came and saw the Bear,
Off to the ale-house did with speed repair,
Where oft the villagers would sit and swill;
And a good many sat carousing still.
“Neighbors,” quoth he, “be quick! In my courtyard
A Bear is trapped; come, and come well prepar’d:
I vow, ’tis true.” Up started every man,
And pell-mell, helter-skelter off they ran;
Seizing whatever handiest they could take,
A pitchfork one, another grasps a rake,
A third a flail; and arm’d was ev’ry one
With some chance weapon, stick or stake or stone.
The priest and sacristan both joined the throng,
A mattock this, the other bore a prong.
The parson’s maid came too; (Judith her name,
And fair was she of face and fair of fame;
His rev’rence could not live without her aid;
She cooked his victuals, and she warmed his bed.)
She brought the distaff she had used all day,
With which she hoped the luckless Bear to pay.
Bruin with terror heard th’ approaching roar,
And with fresh desperation tugged and tore:
His head he thus got free from out the cleft:
But hide and hair, alack! behind he left;
While from the hideous wound the crimson blood
Adown his breast in copious currents flow’d.
Was never seen so pitiable a beast!
It help’d him naught his head to have releas’d:
His feet still being fastened in the tree,
These with one more huge effort he set free.
But than his head no better fared his paws;
For he rent off alike the skin and claws.
This was in sooth a different sort of treat
From what he had expected there to meet;
He wished to Heav’n he ne’er had ventured there:
It was a most unfortunate affair!
Bleeding upon the ground he could but sprawl,
For he could neither stand, nor walk, nor crawl.
The Joiner now came up with all his crew:
To the attack with eager souls they flew;
With thwacks and thumps belaboring the poor wight;
They hoped to slay him on the spot outright.
The priest kept poking at him with his prong,
From afar off—the handle being long.
Bruin in anguish roiled and writhed about;
Each howl of his called forth an answering shout.
On every side his furious foemen swarmed,
With spits and spades, with hoes and hatchets armed:
Weapons all wielded too by nerves of pith:
His large sledge-hammer bore the sinewy smith.
They struck, they yelled, they pelted and they halooed:
While in a pool of filth poor Bruin wallowed
To name these heroes were too long by half:
There was the long-nosed Jem, the bandy Ralph;
These were the worst; but crooked-fingered Jack,
With his flail fetched him many a grievous thwack:
His step-brother, hight Cuckelson the fat,
Stood, but aloof, with an enormous bat:
Dame Judith was not idle with her distaff:
While Gaffer Grumble stirred him up with his staff;
And men and women many more were there,
All vowing vengeance ’gainst th’ unhappy Bear.
The foremost—in the noise—was Cuckelson;
He boasted that he was Dame Gertrude’s son;
And all the world believed that this was true;
But who his father, no one ever knew.
Fame indeed said—but fame is such a liar,
That Brother Joseph, the Franciscan friar,
Might, if he chose, claim the paternity;
Or share the same with others, it might be.
Now stones and brickbats from all sides were shower’d;
And Bruin, tho’ he scorned to die a coward,
Was by opposing numbers all but overpower’d.
The Joiner’s brother then, whose name was Scrub,
Whirling around his head a massive club,
Rushed in the midst, with execrations horrid,
And dealt the Bear a blow plump on the forehead.
That blow was struck with such tremendous might,
Bruin lost both his hearing and his sight.
One desp’rate plunge he made though, and as luck
Would have it, ’mong the women ran a-muck.
Ye saints! how they did scream and shriek and squall!
Over each other how they tumbled all!
And some fell in the stream that ran hard by,
And it was deep just there, unluckily.
The pastor cried aloud—“Look, neighbors, look!
See, yonder—in the water—Jude, my cook;
With all her wool—she’s left her distaff here,
Help! save her! you shall have a cask of beer;
As well as absolution for past crimes,
And full indulgence for all future times.”
Fired with the promised boon, they left the Bear,
Who lay half dead, all stunned and stupid there;
Plunged to the women’s rescue; fished out five;
All that had fallen in, and all alive.
The miserable Bear, while thus his foes
Were busied, finding respite from their blows,
Managed to scramble to the river’s brim;
And in he rolled; but not with hopes to swim;
For life a very burden was to him:
Those shameful blows no more he could abide;
They pierced his soul more than they pained his hide.
He wished to end his days in that deep water,
Nor feared t’ incur the perils of self-slaughter.
But no! against his will he floated down;
It seemed in truth he was not born to drown.
Now when the Bear’s escape the men descried,
“O shame! insufferable shame!” they cried;
Then in a rage began to rate the women;
“See where the Bear away from us is swimming;
Had you but stayed at home, your proper place,
We should not have encountered this disgrace.”
Then to the cleft tree turning, they found there
The bleeding strips of Bruin’s hide and hair;
At this into loud laughter they broke out,
And after him thus sent a jeering shout:
“You’ll sure come back again, old devil-spawn,
As you have left your wig and gloves in pawn.”
Thus insult added they to injury,
And Bruin heard them and sore hurt was he;
He cursed them all, and his own wretched fate;
He cursed the honey that had been his bait;
He cursed the Fox who led him in the snare;
He even cursed the king who sent him there.
Such were his pray’rs as quick he swept along,
For the stream bore him onward, swift and strong;
So, without effort, in a little while,
He floated down the river near a mile.
Then with a heavy heart he crawled on shore,
For he was wet and weary, sick and sore.
The sun throughout his course would never see
A beast in such a shocking plight as he.
Hard and with pain he fetched his lab’ring breath,
And ev’ry moment looked and wished for death.
His head swam round with a strange sort of dizziness,
As he thought o’er the whole perplexing business.
“O Reynard!” he gasped out, “thou traitor vile!
O scoundrel, thief!” and more in the same style.
He thought upon the tree; the jibes and knocks
He had endured; and once more cursed the Fox.
Reynard well pleased t’ have cozened Uncle Bruin,
And lured him, as he thought, to his sure ruin,
Had started off upon a chicken-chase;
He knew, close by, a tried and fav’rite place.
A fine fat Pullet soon became his prey,
Which in his felon clutch he bore away:
This he devoured, bones and all, right speedily;
And, if the truth be spoken, somewhat greedily.
Prepared for any chance that might betide.
He slowly sauntered by the river-side;
Stopping from time to time to take a draught;
And thought aloud, while in his sleeve he laugh’d:
“How pleased I am t’ have tricked that stupid Bear!
Honey he longed for, and has had his share;
I’m not to blame; I warned him of the wax:
By this he knows how tastes a Joiner’s axe.
I’m glad to have shown him this good turn, as he
Has ever been so good and kind to me.
Poor uncle! well; by chance should he be dead,
I’ll for his soul have scores of masses said.
It is the least methinks that I can do.”
While musing thus he chanced to look below;
And saw Sir Bruin on the other shore
Writhing and welt’ring in a pool of gore.
Reynard could scarce, so great was his surprise,
Believe the evidence of his own eyes.
“Bruin alive! and in this place!” quoth he,
“Why, Joiner, what a booby you must be!
A Bear’s hams make the most delicious food!
You could not surely know they were so good.
A dish, by which a duke would set vast store,
To be so slighted by a stupid boor!
My friend has left though, I am glad to see,
A pledge for your kind hospitality.”
Thus spake the Fox, as he beheld the Bear,
Lying all weary-worn and bleeding there.
Then he called out—“Why, uncle, is that you?
What upon earth can you have here to do?
You’ve something at the Joiner’s left, I fear,
Shall I run back and let him know you’re here?
Prithee, is stolen honey very sweet?
Or did you honestly pay for your treat?
How red your face is! you have ate too quick;
I trust you have not gorged till you are sick.
Really you should have been more moderate;
I could have got you lots at the same rate.
Nay, I declare—I trust there is no harm in’t—
You seem t’ have on some sort of priestly garment;
With scarlet gloves, and collar too, and hat;
Rather a dangerous prank to play is that.
Yet, now I look more close, your ears are gone, sure;
Have you of late submitted to the tonsure,
And did the stupid barber cut them off?”
Thus did the cruel-hearted Reynard scoff;
While Bruin, all unable to reply,
Could only moan with grief and agony.
No longer could he these sharp jibes sustain,
So crept into the water back again:
He floated downward with the stream once more,
And again landed on the shelving shore,
There in a miserable state he lay,
And piteously unto himself did say:
“That some one would but slay me here outright!
Ne’er shall I reach the court in this sad plight;
But on this spot in shame and grief shall die,
A mortal proof of Reynard’s treachery.
Oh! I will have a dire revenge, I swear,
If it please Providence my life to spare.”
With firm resolve his pain to overcome,
At length he started on his journey home;
And after four long toilsome days were past,
Crippled and maimed, he reached the court at last.
When the king saw the Bear so sorely maimed,
“Great Heaven! Is this Sir Bruin?” he exclaimed;
“My trusty messenger in such a state!”
“Ah, sire!” said Bruin, “and is this the fate
That should a king’s ambassador befall?
But spare my breath—the Fox has done it all.”
Then spake the king in wrath: “Now by the mass,
This outrage vile shall not unpunished pass.
What! shall the noblest baron of our court
Afford this traitor means of savage sport?
No; by my sceptre and my crown I swear,
If crown or sceptre I am fit to bear,
Or of stern justice longer wield the sword,
Right shall be done! Pledged is my royal word.”
Summoned in haste the council promptly sate,
On this fresh outrage to deliberate.
Subject to the king’s will, they all agree
That Reynard once again must summoned be;
At court he should appear; and, if he might,
Answer th’ impeachment and defend his right:
Tybalt, the Cat, should now the summons carry,
As he was well known to be wise and wary.
So counsell’d one and all: the king concurr’d;
And thus to Tybalt spoke his sov’reign lord:
“Now mark your mission and the sequence well;
If a third summons Reynard should compel,
He and his whole race, I have sworn an oath
Shall feel the deadly power of my wrath.
So let him come in time, if he be wise;
Nor this last warning recklessly despise.”
Tybalt replied: “My liege, I fear that I
Shall scarcely prosper in this embassy;
Not that indeed I ought to say, ‘I fear;’
To do your will all danger would I dare:
I merely hint, that for this task, of all
I am least fit, being so very small.
If the stout, stalwart Bear was so abused,
What can poor I do? Hold me, pray, excused.”
“Nay,” said the king, “wisdom and wit, ‘tis known,
Are not the attributes of strength alone.
How often do we see a little man
Succeed more neatly than a great one can.
Though not a giant, you are learned and wise,
And wisdom compensates for want of size.”
The Cat was flattered and he bowed his head;
“Your will be done, my sov’reign liege,” he said;
“If on my right I only see a sign,
A prosp’rous journey will, I know, be mine.”