The Advantage of Being Clever book cover

The Advantage of Being Clever

"The Advantage of Being Clever" is a collection of fables by Jean de La Fontaine that explores moral lessons through charming and witty tales. It underscores the importance of wit, wisdom, and cleverness in overcoming life's obstacles and challenges. The stories feature a variety of characters from different classes and species, each demonstrating a different aspect of intelligence and cunning, and encouraging readers to value these qualities in themselves and others.


Genre: Fable
Year:
1668
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Between two citizens there once Arose a quarrel furious; The one was poor, but full of knowledge Ripe, and rare, and curious; The other had not been to college, And was, though rich, a perfect dunce. He, far too fondly oft proclaiming The items of his hoarded pelf, Declared that learned men but came in A rank far underneath himself. The man was quite a fool, and I Can never understand the why Or wherefore wealth alone should place A man above the learned race. The rich one to the wise one said, Full often, "Is your table spread As well as mine? And if not, tell What boots it that you read so well? Night after night you sadly clamber To the dull third-floor's backmost chamber; And in December's cold you wear What in hot June would be too bare; Whilst as for servants, you have none, Unless you call your shadow one. Alack! explain to me the fate Of this or any other State, If all were there like you, and I Spent nothing on my luxury? We rich ones use our wealth, God knows! And forth from us to artisan, To tradesman and to courtesan, In glorious golden floods it flows. And even you, who write your works Chiefly to use the knives and forks Of rich financiers, get your meed Of what you call our hoarded greed." These foolish words, need scarce be said, Simply contemptuous answer had. The wise man had too much to say In answer, and so went away. But, worse than sarcasm, the sword Of rough invader met the hoard Of him who had the wealth: the town In which he dwelt was toppled down. They left the city, and the one Who ignorant was [was] soon undone, And met all men's contempt; whilst he Who knew the sciences was free Of all men call society. The quarrel so at last was ended; But this is what I always say: In spite of the fool's yea or nay, The wise must be commended.
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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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