The Dragon with Many Heads

La Fontaine January 17, 2015
1 min read
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    An envoy of the Porte Sublime,
    As history says, once on a time,
    Before th’ imperial German court
    Did rather boastfully report,
    The troops commanded by his master’s firman,
    As being a stronger army than the German:
    To which replied a Dutch attendant,
    “Our prince has more than one dependant
    Who keeps an army at his own expense.”
    The Turk, a man of sense,
    Rejoin’d, “I am aware
    What power your emperor’s servants share.
    It brings to mind a tale both strange and true,
    A thing which once, myself, I chanced to view.
    I saw come darting through a hedge,
    Which fortified a rocky ledge,
    A hydra’s hundred heads; and in a trice
    My blood was turning into ice.
    But less the harm than terror,—
    The body came no nearer;
    Nor could, unless it had been sunder’d,
    To parts at least a hundred.
    While musing deeply on this sight,
    Another dragon came to light,
    Whose single head avails
    To lead a hundred tails:
    And, seized with juster fright,
    I saw him pass the hedge,—
    Head, body, tails,—a wedge
    Of living and resistless powers.—
    The other was your emperor’s force; this ours.”

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