Phaedrus - The haughty crab and the peacock

In order that no one may feel like making himself beautiful with the goods of others, but rather be
content to live in their own shoes, Aesop left us this example.
A crab, puffed up with vainglory, picked up the feathers that had fallen off a peacock and adorned himself with them. Then, despising his race, he joined a beautiful host of peacocks. But they plucked the feathers from the impudent bird and chased him away with their beaks. The crab, in a bad way, returned to its fellow-creatures in great pain, but was expelled by them with great reproach. One of those whom he had previously despised, then said: "If you had been content to stay with us and had been willing to accept what nature had given you, you would not have suffered that outrage, and now you would not suffer the misfortune of this expulsion."

[ Ne gloriari libeat alienis bonis
Suoque potius habitu vitam degere,
Aesopus nobis hoc exemplum prodidit.

Tumens inani graculus superbia,
5 Pennas, pavoni quae deciderant sustulit
Seque exornavit. Deinde contemnens suos
Se immiscuit pavonum formoso gregi.
Illi impudenti pennas eripiunt avi
Fugantque rostris. Male mulcatus graculus
10 Redire maerens coepit ad proprium genus;
A quo repulsus tristem sustinuit notam.
Tum quidam ex illis, quos prius despexerat:
«Contentus nostris si fuisses sedibus
Et quod natura dederat voluisses pati,
15 Nec illam expertus esses contumeliam
Nec hanc repulsam tua sentiret calamitas». ]
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From "Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust I, Studirzimmer II"
Du bist am Ende – was du bist.
Setz’ dir Perrücken auf von Millionen Locken,
Setz’ deinen Fuß auf ellenhohe Socken,
Du bleibst doch immer was du bist.
(Yes the German spelling is a bit off compared to modern since the text is quite old)

↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓
English translation
from here: https://web.archive.org/web/20130331154558/http://www.einam.com/faust/index.html
You at the end are- what you are.
Put on your head perukes with a million locks,
Put on your feet a pair of ell-high socks,
You after all will still be- what you are.
 
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I love Goethe, as well as all the literature of German Romanticism, poetry, novels, and philosophy, up to the early twentieth century. We'll talk about that sometime...:wink:

@KleinesSinchen Goethe is an extraordinary spirit, a unique and inimitable genius. I have never understood how he and the other romantic thinkers were born in the bosom of the Germanic spirit, so different and almost in contradiction to them.
 
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