Tircis and Amaranth book cover

Tircis and Amaranth

Tircis and Amaranth is a book by Jean de La Fontaine that unfolds a tale of romantic love and tragedy. Set in a pastoral background, it follows the emotional journey of two shepherds, Tircis and Amaranth, whose love for each other is touched by fate. The book is replete with La Fontaine's flair for poetic language and evocative imagery, making it a cherished classic in French literature.

Genre: Fable

FOR MADEMOISELLE DE SILLERY. I quitted Æsop, long ago, For pleasant old Boccaccio; But now a fair Divinity Would once more from Parnassus see Fables in my poor manner; so To answer with a boorish "No," Without a valid, stout excuse, To goddesses would be no use; Divinities need more than this, And belles especially, I wis. Her wishes are all queens, you see; She rules us all, does Sillery; Who wishes once again to know Of Master Wolf, and Master Crow. Who can refuse her majesty? None can deny her. How can I? Well, to her mind my stories are Obscure, and too mysterious far; For, sometimes, even beaux esprits Are puzzled and astray, you see. Let us, then, write in plainer tune, That she may so decipher soon. I'll sing of simple shepherds, then, Before I rhyme of wolves again. Tircis to youthful Amaranth, one day, Said, "Ah! but if you knew the griefs that slay! Pleasing enchantments! Heaven-kindled woe! The greatest joy of earth you then would know. Oh, let me picture them! you need not fear. Could I deceive you? Stay, then, sweet, and hear. What! I betray?--I, whose poor heart is cleft By fondest hopes that cruel Love has left?" Then Amaranth exclaimed, "What is this pain? How call you it?--now, tell me once again!" "'Tis Love!" "A pretty word, its symptoms tell: How shall I know it--I, who am so well?" "A malady, to which all pleasant things-- Yes, even all the pleasures of great kings-- Seem poor and faded. Lovers thus are known: In gloomy forests they will walk alone; Muse by the river, watch the stream beside, Yet their own faces rise not from the tide; One image only in the flood shows day by day; This lovely shadow comes, but to betray: To other things they're blind. A shepherd speaks; His voice, his name, raise blushes on your cheeks: You like to think of him, yet know not why; You wonder at the wish, and yet you sigh; You fear to see him, and yet, absent, cry." Amaranth leaped for joy: "Is this, then, love? Is that the pain you rank all things above? It is not new to me: I think I know it." Tircis thought he was safe, but dared not show it. The maid said, "Yes, and that, I freely grant, Is what I feel for dear, dear Clidamant." Then Tircis almost burst with rage and spite; But yet it served the cheating fellow right. Thinking to gain the prize, he lost the game, And only cleared the road for him who came.
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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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