A setting of the La Fontaine poem La cigale et la fourmi
as translated into English by my father
Text of this English version:
The Grasshopper in drowsy song
Had spent the pleasant summer long,
And found herself without a crumb
When winter’s icy blast had come.
Not one small morsel could she spy
Of puny worm or measly fly.
So off she went to cry her want
Straight to her neighbour Madame Ant,
Merely asking for a loan
Of bread or grain to eke her own
Until the plenteous time came round.
“I’ll pay you back, or I’ll be bound
By August, word of animal,
Both interest and principal.”
The Ants are not a lending lot
Indeed that is their slightest fault.
“What were you doing when ’twas hot?”
She asked this impecunious sort.
” To all who came, both day and night
I used to sing at every chance.”
“You used to sing? That’s fine and right!
Well now’s the very time – to dance!”