Aesop's Fables in Verse
. Elliot Stock . London
PA3855.E5 E9 1901 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is a slim book containing fifty-one verse fables on 99 pages. I had never seen nor heard of the book before, and so was willing to spend some money on it. In her three-page preface, Eyears chooses verse because it attracts the young, is learned faster, and is fastened better in the memory. She returns to the popular image of putting familiar things into new garb. Her criterion of selection? Some of the best known and most popular (vii). She does well to start with Aesop at Play (1). Her second fable finishes well: And the huntsman chases the timid hare/Still as in days gone by,/And the frogs still jump from the river bank,/But NOT like the hares to die (3). I had never seen this clever distinction between the jumps before. Her moral: No ill so great but others share it;/No lot so hard but we may bear it. In The Ass and the Lion Hunting (8), she plays on the name of the former. It was the lion's fancy to employ/An ass to assist in the chase…. The lesson of GGE (26) is Let well alone. In The Lion in Love (20), the woodman kills the lion and sells his skin for gain. I read the first half of the book. My sense is that the need to rhyme and to fill out the meter exacts a serious price in these fables. I find especially the full-page Weir illustrations (5, 17, and 43) well done. Weir did some of the smaller illustrations, and I find C. Butterworth on two others.