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CHAPTER VI.: THE RELAPSE. - 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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THUS Reynard gained once more his sov’reign’s grace:
Who slowly mounting up to his high place,
Prepared t’ address the meeting from his throne;
Bade them be silent all, and all sit down,
After their rank, ranged on the verdant sward;
On either hand drew up the royal guard;
At the queen’s side th’ undaunted Reynard stood;
And thus the monarch spake in thoughtful mood:
“Be still and listen, all ye Beasts and Birds,
Both small and great, hear and attend our words!
Here, in our mercy, see where Reynard stands,
Late doomed to suffer by the hangman’s hands.
But now for certain reasons, grave and high,
Touching ourself, our crown and dignity,
And, at the intercession of our queen,
Restored to grace and favor hath he been;
And free we here pronounce him, from this date,
In life and limb, in person and estate.
In our protection him and his we take,
Desiring they be honored, for our sake:
And furthermore, it is our royal will.
Henceforth of him none dare to utter ill;
Convinced, as we his former faults forgive,
In future he a better life will live.
To-morrow will he leave his hearth and home,
And start upon a pilgrimage for Rome;
Thence will he make, as he doth now aver,
A journey to the Holy Sepulchre;
And then return, his sins confessed and shriven,
Completely reconciled to us and Heaven.”
He ceased. The Cat, in anger and despair,
Sought out his dear allies, the Wolf and Bear:
“Our labor’s lost,” he cried, “ah! well-a-day,
The very devil is there here to pay!
From this cursed place would I were safe away!
If Reynard once get pow’r, be sure that he
His fierce revenge will wreak on all us three.
Of my right eye already am I reft;
Alas! the other will not long be left.”
“Woe’s me! what shall we do?” exclaimed the Bear.
“Let us,” said Is’grim, “to the throne repair!
Sure ’tis the strangest thing that e’er was seen!”
Forthwith they knelt before the king and queen:
For justice loud they spoke, or rather stammered;
For justice, inarticulately clamored.
But angrily the king broke forth:—“My lords!
Either you did not hear, or mark my words.
It is my pleasure Reynard to forgive;
It is a branch of my prerogative;
For is it not to ev’ry schoolboy known,
Mercy’s the brightest jewel of the crown?”
His mighty wrath had now to fury risen;
He bade them both be seized and cast in prison;
Deeming they still might plot, if left at large,
The treasons, laid by Reynard to their charge.
The Fox was now well paid for all his pains;
Himself in favor, and his foes in chains:
Nay, more—he from the king contrived to win
The grant of a square-foot of Bruin’s skin;
He vowed—and never could enough extol it,—
It was the very thing to make a wallet.
Thus was he for his pilgrim-journey suited;
But liking not to make it quite barefooted,
He sued the queen: “May’t please your majesty,
Your own devoted pilgrim now am I;
The road I have to go is rough and long,
And I in health am anything but strong;
It greatly would protect my tender toes,
Saving your presence, if I had some shoes.
Now Isegrim the Wolf hath got two pair;
Stout-built and strong; and one he well may spare;
It cannot incommode him much to lose them,
Since he has no occasion now to use them.
Speak for me, gracious madam, to the king,
He will not sure deny so small a thing.
Dame Gieremund, too, cannot be averse
To let me have the loan of two of hers;
As she’ll not see her lord some time to come,
Like a good housewife, she will stay at home.”
The queen replied, she thought it was but fair
That each of them should let him have a pair:
And Reynard thanked her with his best of bows,
Saying: “I promise, if I get the shoes,
Your majesty shall have my daily pray’rs,
That Heav’n preserve you free from fretting cares;
Besides, what holy relics back I bring,
You shall be sure to share them with the king.”
He had his wish: from Isegrim’s fore paws
Two shoes they stripped him off, both skin and claws;
And Gieremund, his next to widowed dame.
As to her hinder feet, they served the same.
Now while the Wolf and Bear together lie
In prison and in pain, and wish to die;
With shoes and wallet fitted out, the Fox
Draws near to Gieremund, whom thus he mocks:
“Look, best and dearest one, these shoes, you see,
Fit just as though they had been made for me!
Though you have wished me ill in days bygone,
Such well-timed kindness can for all atone.
Who would have thought, a few short hours ago,
To see me honored and accoutred so?
But fortune’s wheel is ever on the move
And what is now depressed soon mounts above.
Act on this maxim, and you baffle fate;
Hope, when in trouble; fear, when fortunate.
Whene’er to Rome I get, or cross the sea,
My heart untravelled with my friends will be;
And you the largest portion shall obtain
Of those indulgences I hope to gain.”
Poor Gieremund meanwhile in torture lay,
And scarce could muster strength enough to say:
“This hour is thine, and we must needs submit;
But there may come a day of reck’ning yet.”
Thus Isegrim and Bruin both remained
Wounded, disgraced, imprisoned and enchained;
And Reynard’s triumph seemed complete to be;—
Although he grieved that Tybalt still was free.
When morning came, the hypocrite arose,
And first he greased, and then he donned his shoes;
Next to the royal levée hastening,
To make his congé, thus addressed the king:
“Your servant, sire, your notice would engage
Ere he sets out on his long pilgrimage.
Sad is my lot: the church’s ban hangs o’er me,
A dreary, dang’rous journey lies before me:
’Twould give me hope, and confidence of heart
To have your chaplain’s blessing ere I start;
Success would then my onward steps attend,
And bring my travels to a happy end.”
Now Noble’s private chaplain was the Ram;
A gentle brute, and Bellyn was his name;
The king, who of his services was chary,
Employed him also as his secretary.
Him now he bade come forth and thus address’d:
“Speak over Reynard,—’tis his own request,—
Some holy words, his deep remorse t’ assuage,
And cheer him on his lonely pilgrimage;
He goes, you know, to Rome; then o’er the sea;
And by your blessing sanctified would be;
Then, having hung his wallet by his side,
Give him a Palmer’s staff his steps to guide.”
And Bellyn answered thus: “My gracious lord,
What Reynard has avowed you surely heard;
He owns he still is excommunicate;
And truly I lament his wretched state;
But should I do the thing you now require,
I might incur my worthy bishop’s ire;
The matter easily might reach his ear;
And he could punish me, and would, I fear.
To Reynard, certes, I wish nothing ill;
And gladly would perform my sov’reign’s will;
For this, all things in reason would I venture,
Could I be sure to ’scape my bishop’s censure;
But the good prelate is an awful man,
And such a strict disciplinarian;
Besides, there are th’ archdeacon and the dean”—
The king no longer could contain his spleen,—
“What,” he exclaimed, “boots all this idle prate?
I asked for deeds, not words, Sir Woolypate.”
And then he swore, and loudly, at the Ram,
Saying, “Are you aware, sir, who I am?
Nor priest nor pope shall in my realm have sway;
I look my subjects shall their king obey.
And whether you wish Reynard well or ill
Can have no influence on my royal will.
It is my pleasure he should go to Rome;
May be ’tis yours he should remain at home.”
Astounded by the monarch’s stern reproof,
The poor Ram trembled to his very hoof;
And straight he took his book and ’gan to read
A blessing over Reynard’s sinful head;
But little did that wretch attend to it,
Or little care about the benefit.
The blessing o’er, they bring his scrip and staff;
How in his sleeve doth the false pilgrim laugh;
While down his cheeks dissembling tear-drops course,
As though his heart were melting with remorse.
And in good sooth he did feel some regret,
That Tybalt was not in his power yet:
He wished to cage him with the other three,
Whom he had brought to such extremity.
He begged them all, and chiefly Isegrim,
That they would pardon and would pray for him;
Then, with some fear still ling’ring at his heart,
Lest he might be detained, prepared to start.
And Noble, King of Beasts, much edified
To see such symptoms of repentance, cried:
“Say, my good Reynard, prithee, why such haste?
Some few hours with your friends you sure may waste.”
“Nay, my kind lord,” said that false-hearted loon,
“A good work ne’er can be commenced too soon.
Dismiss me, sire; th’ important hour is come,
Big with the fate that Reynard leads to Rome.”
The monarch, taken in by Reynard’s art,
Gave him his gracious license to depart;
And bade th’ assembled barons of his court
The pilgrim a short distance to escort.
The Wolf and Bear ’scaped this humiliation;
And from their fetters forged some consolation.
To the king’s favor quite restored again,
Reynard sets forth with all that lordly train,
Upon his pious journey to be shriven,—
Much the same road that lawyers go to heaven;—
Pleased to have brought the king to such a pass,
Led by the nose as easy as an Ass.
Honored was he and waited on by those
Who even now had been his bitter foes.
Nor could he yet let his old tricks alone;
But turning back he knelt before the throne,
Kissed the king’s hand, and cried:—“Ah, dearest lord!
Vouchsafe to let me speak one parting word:
Remember what great int’rests are at stake,
And of those traitors an example make:
Some acts of mercy reason will condemn;
Your people suffer, if you pardon them.”
And then with downcast look away he went,
And all the bearing of a penitent.
The king broke up his court without delay;
Then to his royal palace took his way:
And those who, to their shame, and Reynard’s pride,
His progress had some way accompanied,
Now took their leave and hastened to depart.
Meanwhile the rogue so well had plied his art,
Insisting on the blessings of repentance,
He’d softened not a few of his attendants;
And specially the tender-hearted Hare
From sympathetic tears could not forbear.
Him now the cunning Fox accosted thus:
“And must we part indeed, dear Cousin Puss?
If you and Bellyn could persuaded be
A little further yet to go with me,
’Twould be an act of kindness on your part,
And comfort much my poor afflicted heart.
How greatly to my credit ’twill redound
If I in such society am found;
Pleasant companions are ye both, I ken,
And, what’s far better, honest, gentle men;
Ne’er doing wrong, you others’ wrongs forgive,
And, as I lately did, you always live:
Of grass and herbs and leaves you make your food,
And never soil your guiltless teeth with blood;
Hence are your consciences serene and quiet;—
Such good results from vegetable diet.”
And thus into the snare he laid they fell:
A little flattery sometimes does well.
To Malepartus, journeying on, they came;
When thus the wily Fox addressed the silly Ram:
“Dear Bellyn, will you tarry here a little?
You must, by this time, surely want some victual;
And hereabouts you’ll find enough to eat;
The herbage is particularly sweet,
In fact we rather of our pastures vaunt;
I’ll just take Pussy in to see his aunt;—
Poor soul! she sits alone disconsolate,
And mourning over my unhappy fate;
And when she hears that I to Rome must go,
’Twill cause her quite an ecstacy of woe.
Pussy, I know, for his dear uncle’s sake,
Will to his aunt the sad news gently break.”
And thus, to carry out his own vile ends,
The Fox contrived to separate the friends.
Puss entered with him; when—omen of ill!—
His footsteps stumbled on the very sill;
But Reynard smiled, and they passed onward, where
His vixen wife and cubby children were.
How Ermelyne rejoiced to see her lord
In safety to her longing arms restored!
She’d suffered much anxiety and pain,
Lest by his wrathful foes he should be slain,
Or a close pris’ner for his life remain;
And seeing him decked out with scrip and staff,
She scarce knew whether first to cry or laugh,
So great her joy and wonder: thus she spoke:
“Reynie, my love; my heart had almost broke;
How glad I am you’re come! Where have you been?
And what does all this masquerading mean?”
And thus the Fox replied—“Ah, dearest wife!
But narrowly have I escaped with life:
My foes were powerful, and I was weak;
I had the halter round my very neck;
But our good king, with that peculiar sense
That marks all sov’reigns, saw my innocence;
And, as a testimonial to my worth,
In pious Palmer’s weeds has sent me forth;
My character without the slightest stain;
The Wolf and Bear as hostages remain;
And Master Puss, you see, has by the king
Been giv’n to me as a peace-offering:
For the king said—‘Reynard, you see that Hare,
Yon trembling coward, who stands crouching there;
That is the wretch by whom you’ve been betray’d.’
And for his treason he shall now be paid.”
Puss heard these threat’ning words with mortal fear;
They seemed to ring a death-knell in his ear;
Confused and scared he strove in haste to fly,
But Reynard darted on him viciously,
And clutched him by the throat; Puss shrieked amain,
“Help, Bellyn, help!” he cried, and cried again,
“Help! or by this false pilgrim I am slain.”
But long he did not cry: for Reynard’s teeth
Soon cut his windpipe, and let out his breath.
Thus did this cursed and incarnate fiend
Betray and murder his too-trusting friend.
“Come now,” he said, “to supper let us haste;
Our friend is fat and delicate to taste;
The simpleton was ne’er of use before;
To make him so long time ago I swore.
He wished to wound, but was afraid to strike;
So perish ev’ry one who does the like!”
Then the whole family sat down to sup;
The Hare was skinned and shared and eaten up:
The vixen greatly the repast enjoyed,
And oft exclaimed, as with the bones she toyed:
“Heav’n bless the king and queen! how good they are,
To cater for us such delicious fare.”
“For this time,” said the Fox. “it may suffice;
I hope ere long a nobler sacrifice;
That I may let the whole world plainly see,
None injures Reynard with impunity.”
Quoth Ermelyne—“Dear lord, I prithee tell,
How you have got away so safe and well.”
“’Twould take,” said he, “full many a weary hour
To show how I escaped the law’s grim pow’r;
T’ explain the tricks I played my enemies,
And how I dammed—with dust—King Noble’s eyes.
In sooth the bonds that now our hearts unite,
Though we are sworn as lieges, are but slight;
And when the truth shall break upon his mind,
Within no bounds his rage will be confin’d.
Me if again within his pow’r he hold
No wealth can save of silver or of gold;
No chance of mercy left, my fate will be
To hang like fruit, upon the gallows tree.
“Let us, dear love, at once to Swabia fly;
Unknown by all, perdue we there may lie;
A safe asylum we are sure to find,
And heaps of provender of ev’ry kind;
Fowls, Geese, Hares, Rabbits; butter, cheese and cream;
Birds in the air and fishes in the stream.
There far from faithless friends and furious foes
Our life will ebb in leisure and repose;
In charity with all we’ll pass our days,
And bring our children up in virtue’s ways.
“For, dearest Chuck, to speak without disguise,
I’ve told a most infernal pack of lies:
A tale I forged about King Emmerick’s store;
And that ’twas hid at Krekelburn I swore.
If they go thither, as they will no doubt,
They soon must find the whole deception out;
And when ’tis all discovered, you may form
Some faint idea of how the king will storm,
How he will swear; what vengeance he will vow;
And sure I feel that what he swears, he’ll do.
You may suppose what fibs I told, dear wife;
Ne’er was I so put to it in my life:
Again to lie were not the slightest use,
And therefore would admit of no excuse.
“But happen now what may, one thing is plain;
Nothing shall tempt me back to court again:
Not for the wide world’s wealth, from north to south,
I’d thrust my head into the Lion’s mouth.”
Him answered thus the sorrowing Ermelyne:
“And why should we be outcasts, husband mine?
Why should we leave our comfortable home,
Abroad, like rogues and vagabonds, to roam?
Here known by all, by all respected too,
Your friends are faithful and your vassals true;
And certainties against uncertainties
To change, is neither provident nor wise.
Against our will we cannot hence be torn;
Our stronghold here might laugh a siege to scorn.
Let the king hither come with all his host:
He’ll have his journey for his pains at most.
Of our escape I entertain no doubt;
So many ways we have of getting out.
The king is strong and we are weak; but yet
We to his pow’r can well oppose our wit.
For this I have no fears: but for your vow
To undertake a pilgrimage just now,
That chills my heart with icy fears I own:
What can I do, left friendless and alone?”
To her thus Reynard: “Sweet, you have prevailed;
’Twas but a moment that my courage failed:
His threats are idle, and my fears are vain;
Shadows avaunt! Reynard’s himself again!
As for my vow—better to be forsworn,
Than live the wretched finger-mark of scorn:
Vows, when compulsory, bind not the least;
I’ve heard that doctrine taught by many a priest:
For my part, it may to the devil go;—
I speak not of the doctrine, but my vow.
“So be it as you wish. I stay at home;
For what on earth have I to do at Rome?
And for my promised journey to Jerusalem,
I only named the project to bamboozle ’em;
Nor if, instead of the one oath I swore,
I’d sworn a dozen, would I go the more.
With you and my dear children will I stay,
And get out of my scrape as best I may.
And though the king should have me in his clutch,
Perchance it may not help him over-much;
I may succeed, as I have done ere now,
To fit a fool’s cap on his royal brow:
At least I’ll try: the vow I freely make,
I dare be sworn, I think, I shall not break.”
Bellyn meanwhile had all impatient grown;
Had ate his fill, and wanted to be gone;
“Puss! are you ready? It is getting late.”
Thus he calls out at Malepartus’ gate;
And softly at the first, then louder knocks:
When to the door proceeds the wily Fox,
And says—“You must excuse our cousin Puss;
You can return; he’ll pass the night with us.”
“Methought,” replied the Ram, “I heard him cry,
‘Help! Bellyn, help! oh, help me or I die!’
I trust no ill could here my coz befall.”
“I thought,” said Reynard, “you’d have heard him call;
For in good sooth he made a mighty din;
I’ll tell you how it happened—just step in.”
But Bellyn’s heart was not quite free from fear;
So he said, “Thank ye; I am better here.”
Then wily Reynard answered: “Very well!
You shall hear how the accident befell.
I had just told my wife about my vow—
My promised pilgrimage to Rome, you know—
When she, alas! good soul, was so cast down,
That with the shock she fell into a swoon.
Our simple friend, alarmed, began to cry,
‘Help! Bellyn, help!—help, or my aunt will die.’ ”
“Certes,” said Bellyn, “he did loudly call.”
“He did,” quoth Reynard. “Now I’ve told you all.
As for my inj’ring him,” the false one said;
“I could not hurt a hair of that dear head.
I would be torn to pieces, limb by limb,
Sooner than even think of harming him.
“And now,” quoth he, “to bus’ness. Yesterday,
The king desired me, as I came away,
That I, by letter, should communicate
My thoughts on certain grave affairs of State.
This letter, with some other papers too,
I beg you’ll carry back to court with you.
I’ve giv’n the king some excellent advice,
Which, though I say it, is beyond all price.
While Puss was resting from his weary jaunt,
And talking old times over with his aunt,
I just contrived a spare half hour to snatch,
And have drawn up a masterly despatch.”
“I would with pleasure all your letters take;”
Said Bellyn, “but I fear the seals might break;
And I a serious censure should expect,
Having no pouch the papers to protect.”
“That’s true, dear nephew,” answered Reynard, pat,
“But we can very soon get over that:
The wallet that they made of Bruin’s skin,
Will be the very thing to put them in;
’Tis strong and thick, and will the wet repel;
I’ve one within will suit me just as well;
And doubt not that your labor will be vain;
Some favor from the king you’ll sure obtain.”
The silly Ram believed all Reynard said;
Then back into his house the sly one sped,
And in his wallet crammed the poor Hare’s head;
Next having thought how he might best prevent
The Ram from finding out what ’twas he sent;
Unto the door returning, thus he spake:
‘Here, nephew, hang this wallet round your neck.
In its contents I trust you will not pry;
’Twould prove a fatal curiosity.
The knots in a peculiar way are done,
Which only to the king and me are known;
A mode that I invariably use,
Whenever I transmit important news;
If the king sees the fastenings all right,
The messenger finds favor in his sight.
“Nay, if a greater merit you desire;
And to preferment in the church aspire;
You have my fullest leave to tell the king,
The letters were of your imagining;
That though the handiwork by me was done,
The whole idea was yours, and yours alone;
So shall your mental powers be highly rated,
And you, no doubt, be duly elevated.
You’ll rise to any station that you wish, up:
Be made a prebend or—who knows?—a bishop.”
Who then so happy as that silly Ram?
He frisked and gambolled like a very lamb;
And joyfully he cried: “Now do I see
The love, dear uncle, that you bear to me.
What credit will not this adventure bring!
How shall I be respected by the king!
That I such clever letters should indite—
I, who was ne’er considered over-bright!
And all this pleasure and this honor too,
I’ve none to thank for, uncle dear, but you.
No longer will I tarry. Let me see:—
You’re sure that Puss will not go back with me?”
“Nay,” answered Reynard, “that’s impossible:
For, truth to speak, he’s just now far from well;
A cold he’s got has settled in his head;
He’s had his gruel and is gone to bed:
His aunt it is, this treatment doth advise;
She’s greatly skilled in all such remedies.
He’ll follow speedily; nay, I would swear
He’ll be at court as soon as you are there.”
“Farewell, then!” said the Ram; “no time I’ll waste;
Farewell!” And off he started in great haste:
Travelled all night, the roads not being heavy,
And just arrived in time for the king’s levée.
When the king saw him with the wallet on,
He motioned him he should approach the throne,
Then said, while he held out his hand to kiss,
“Bellyn, you’re welcome back; but what means this?
Is not that Reynard’s wallet that you bear?
Methinks that I should know it anywhere.
I trust you left him safe and well in health;
I would not have him harmed for thrice his wealth.”
And Bellyn said: “Despatches, sire, I bring
From Reynard greeting to my lord the king;
To get them all complete we both combin’d;
And what he executed, I design’d.
For though the handiwork by him was done,
The whole idea was mine, and mine alone.
He tied the knots in a peculiar way,
Which you would understand, he bade me say.”
The king, perplexed, straight for the Beaver sent;
He was a man for learning eminent;
Could read off-hand, and seldom stopped to spell;
Knew foreign tongues—and his own pretty well;
He acted for the king as notary;
To read despatches oft employed was he;
Vast was his science; Castor was his name;
And at the royal bidding now he came.
And Tybalt was commanded to assist,
The fastenings of the wallet to untwist.
The strings untied, the pouch was op’d; when lo!
A sight of dread and agonizing woe!
Forth Castor drew the poor Hare’s mangled head:
“This call you a despatch, forsooth?” he said;
“I own it fairly puzzles my poor brains;
Heav’n only knows, for I don’t, what it means.”
Both king and queen were startled and distress’d;
And Noble’s head sunk down upon his breast;
The only words he said distinctly were—
“O Reynard! Reynard! would I had you here!”
Then long a stern and solemn silence kept;
Till, by degrees, along the circle crept
Th’ astounding tidings that the king had wept.
At length his grief found utt’rance, and he spoke,
While his strong frame like to a woman’s shook:—
“He has deceived me;—Me! his king and lord!
How could I trust the perjured traitor’s word?
O day of shame! where shall I hide my head?
Disgraced! dishonored! would that I were dead!”
He seemed quite frantic; and the courtly crew
Felt it their duty to seem frantic too.
But Leopardus, near the throne who stood,—
A prince he was, and of the royal blood—
Thus spake: “My gracious liege, I cannot see
Why you and our good queen thus grieved should be.
Banish such gloomy feelings, and take heart;
Despair was never yet a monarch’s part.
As you, sire, who so prudent? who so strong?
Remember too, a king can do no wrong.”
“Alas!” cried Noble, “it is even so;
And this it is adds sharpness to my woe.
’Tis not alone that I have been deceiv’d;
For that, I might have well in private griev’d;
But that the wretch, to gain his wicked ends,
Has caused me do injustice to my friends;—
Bruin and Is’grim, who in prison lie,
The victims of his cursed villany.
Is’t not enough my soul to overwhelm,
That the two noblest barons of my realm
Should be so punished, and for no offence,
But my blind trust in Reynard’s evidence.
Alas! ’twas in an evil hour, I ween,
I heeded the persuasions of the queen;
She, in simplicity a very child,
By his false tongue was easily beguil’d,
And for his pardon did so warmly pray—
I should have been more firm—but I gave way.
Idle is all regret; advice too late;
For even kings must sometimes bow to fate.”
The Leopard answered, “Sire, though you know best,
Haply I may a useful hint suggest.
Some comfort to the Wolf and Bear ’twould bring
To have the Ram as a peace-offering:
You heard him boldly, as a boast, declare,
’Twas he that counselled killing the poor Hare.
Thus shall you deal him forth a righteous fate,
And thus the injured peers propitiate.
Then will we hunt the Fox through all the land,
And kill him,—if we catch him,—out of hand;
For if he get but liberty of speech,
The very devil will he over-reach.
In fine, until that crafty brute is slain,
No respite from our griefs shall we obtain.”
He ceased; and Noble, King of Beasts, replies:
“Your counsel pleases me, as just and wise.
Hasten and set th’ imprisoned barons free;
In honor shall they take their state near me.
Be all the council summoned: they shall learn
How foully that base traitor is forsworn;
How he and Bellyn killed the gentle Hare;
How he traduced the loyal Wolf and Bear:
And, as you counsel, Bellyn and his heirs
Forever I make o’er to them and theirs.”
Then Leopardus went without delay
To where the Wolf and Bear in prison lay.
Straight from their bonds by his commands released,
In soothing words the twain he thus addressed.
“Hail, noble lords! good tidings, lo, I bring!
Full pardon and free conduct from the king!
By law, you both have been condemned of treason;
And law is the perfection of all reason;
But since ’tis proved you’re free of all offence,
You’re freely pardoned, for your innocence.
And likewise in some measure to atone
For all the suff’rings you have undergone,
Bellyn and all his tribe, the king declares,
Are given up to you and to your heirs:
In grove or green whene’er you chance to meet them,
You have full privilege to kill and eat them.
Further, the king will lend his royal aid
To punish him by whom you’ve been betray’d;
The Fox and all his kindred, to a man,
You’ve leave to take and torture, if you can.
These rights, which unto you the king doth yield,
Will all by his successors be upheld;
And, in return, you from your souls will cast
All painful recollections of the past;
Raised to your old estate, afresh will swear
Loyal allegiance to the king to bear.”
They took the pardon at the proffered price,
Bellyn the Simple fell a sacrifice:
And all his kindred suffered too with him,
Victims to the fierce clan of Isegrim.
Eternal war was entered on that day;
The Wolves thenceforth made all Sheep their prey;
Hunting and worrying them by day and night;
They had the power, and therefore had the right.
The monarch further solace yet imparts
To Isegrim’s and Bruin’s wounded hearts,
By ordering a twelve-days’ festival,
At which his barons should be present all;
That so his lieges might distinctly see
Those the king loved, should duly honored be