Jupiter and the Thunderbolts book cover

Jupiter and the Thunderbolts

"Jupiter and the Thunderbolts" by Jean de La Fontaine is a metaphorical tale inspired by Greek mythology. The story spins around Jupiter, the king of gods, who is discontent with the behavior of humans. Although Jupiter has the power to strike them with his thunderbolts, he is afraid to ignite a chain of catastrophes. Instead, he uses wisdom to deal with the situation, teaching the reader a lesson about the judicious use of power.

Genre: Fable

Jove, viewing from on high our faults, Said, one day, in Cerulean vaults, "Let us 'plenish the earth With a race of new guests; For those of Noah's birth Quite weary me out with their endless requests. Fly to hell, Mercury! And bring unto me The Fury most fierce and most grim of the three! For that race that I've cherished Will all soon have perished!" Thus passionate Jupiter spoke, But quickly from anger awoke. And so, let me warn you, O Kings! Of whom Jupiter makes the mere strings, To rule and to guide as you will; For a brief moment pause, To examine the cause, Ere you torture your subjects, or kill. The god with light feet, And whose tongue's honey sweet, Went, as ordered, to visit the Fates. Tisiphone looked at, Megæra then mocked at; And, after inspection, Fixed his choice, of all persons, on ugly Alecton. Rendered proud by this choice, With a horrible voice, The goddess declared, In the caverns of Death, That she'd stop all men's breath, And not one live thing on the earth should be spared. Unto Mercy's straight path Jove came back from his wrath, Annulled the Eumenide's oath; Nothing loath. Yet his thunders he threw At the vile mortal crew; And one might have thought That destruction were wrought; But the fact was just this-- The bolts managed to miss. For the Thund'rer's pride With our fear's satisfied. He was father of men, And so he knew when, As papas mortal know too, What distance to throw to. But, with mercy thus treated, Man, with wickedness heated, Grew so vicious, at last, That Jove swore he would cast And crush our weak race, Their Creator's disgrace. But yet he still smiled; For a father his child Strikes with merciful hand. So at last it was planned That god Vulcan should have The duty of sending us men to the grave. With bolts of two sorts Vulcan fills his black courts; And of these two there's one That Heaven throws straight, When it fills up its hate, And the thread of a man's life is done. The other falls only On mountain tops lonely; And this kind alone By great Jupiter's thrown.
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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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