A Scythian Philosopher book cover

A Scythian Philosopher

"A Scythian Philosopher" is a philosophical narrative by Jean de La Fontaine. Set in Scythia, an ancient region of Central Eurasia, the story revolves around a philosopher who, through his wisdom and philosophy, provides profound insights about life, society, and the world. This book uses storytelling as a means to explore the depths of human nature, morality, and ethical dilemmas, making complex philosophical concepts accessible to a wider audience.

Genre: Fable

A Philosopher once, who, in Scythia born, Had somewhat, with study, his brain-pan outworn, Made his mind up, for pleasure and profit, to seek Repose for a time in the land of the Greek; And there he made friends with a man of the kind Whom Virgil so well in the Georgics defined: A man who's a king, for himself he controls, And a god, for he blends his own will with men's souls. He found him with pruning-knife grasped in his hand, Pruning here, snipping there, in all parts of his land, As tranquil as Jove; here he cut off a twig, There lopped off a branch to make others more big; For Nature, experience had taught him, is prone To waste in rash gifts all the wealth of her throne. The Scythian, brought up in town, was downcast, And looked at the ruinous waste quite aghast, And exclaimed, "My dear friend, lay your pruning hook down, And let Nature, judicious, take care of her own; For, at best, you are taking much pains to deflower The fruits which Time's tooth will but too soon devour." The old man replied, with a rustical grace, "I cut useless ones off to give useful ones space." Struck by wisdom like this, with no moments delay, The Scythian homewards at once took his way; And no sooner had got there but took up a bill, And at cutting and hewing showed wonderful skill: Hewed branches, snipped twigs, and persuaded his neighbours To share in his rude horticultural labours. The result is soon told: hacking trees without reason, In summer or spring--taking no thought of season-- Must lead to results which no words can belie; For the trees thus instructed instinctively die. Now, the Scythian stands for a symbol of those Who wish all the pathways of pleasure to close; Who'd hoot at ambition, forbid a new dress, And from lexicons banish the sweet word, caress. For myself, though by custom not given to swearing, I'll say that, by Jove, such old dolts there's no bearing; They wish us to choke whilst we've plenty of breath, And whilst full of life's vigour to simulate death.
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Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine was a renowned French fabulist and one of the most famous poets during the French classical period. He was born on July 8, 1621, and died on April 13, 1695. Known for his literary style, he is best known for his "Fables", which are considered classics of French literature. His works were marked by his sophisticated style and moral substance, and his fables provided a scathing critique of French society during his time. more…

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