The Pack Saddle  

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"The Pack Saddle" by Jean de La Fontaine
"The Pack Saddle" by Jean de La Fontaine

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Le Bât[1] (1732, English: The Pack Saddle), Hermitage Museum is a painting by French artist Pierre Subleyras (1699-1749). It depicts an artist painting a seal of chastity on his wife. The subject of this painting was inspired by a fable of Jean de la Fontaine.


A FAMOUS painter, jealous of his wife;
Whose charms he valued more than fame or life,
When going on a journey used his art,
To paint an ASS upon a certain part,
(Umbilical, 'tis said) and like a seal:
Impressive token, nothing thence to steal.
A BROTHER brush, enamoured of the dame;
Now took advantage, and declared his flame:
The Ass effaced, but God knows how 'twas done;
Another soon howe'er he had begun,
And finished well, upon the very spot;
In painting, few more praises ever got;
But want of recollection made him place
A saddle, where before he none could trace.
THE husband, when returned, desired to look
At what he drew, when leave he lately took.
Yes, see my dear, the wily wife replied,
The Ass is witness, faithful I abide.
Zounds! said the painter, when he got a sight,--
What!--you'd persuade me ev'ry thing is right?
I wish the witness you display so well,
And him who saddled it, were both in Hell.

French original

Un peintre estoit, qui, jaloux de sa femme,
Allant aux Champs lui peignit un baudet
Sur le nombril, en guise de cachet.
Un sien confrere, amoureux de la Dame,
La va trouver, et l’asne efface net ;
Dieu sçait comment ; puis un autre en remet
Au mesme endroit, ainsi que l’on peut croire.
A celuy-cy, par faute de memoire,
Il mit un Bast ; l’autre n’en avait point.
L’Epoux revient, veut s’éclaircir du poinct.
Voyez, mon fils, dit la bonne commere,
L’asne est témoin de ma fidelité.
Diantre soit fait, dit l’Epoux en colere
Et du témoin, et de qui l’a basté.

See also

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