Friday Fable. Sir Roger L'Estrange’s “JUPITER AND MODESTY”

Posted by jlubans on December 02, 2016

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Caption: Office modesty.

“Man was made in such a Hurry (according to the Old Fable) that Jupiter had forgotten to put Modesty into his Composition, among his other Affections; and finding that there was no way of Introducing it afterwards, Man by Man, he proposed the turning of it Loose among the Multitude: Modesty took her self at first to be a little hardly Dealt withal, but in the end, came over to Agree to't, upon Condition that Carnal Love might not be suffer'd to come into the same Company; for where-ever that comes, says she, I'm gone.”

“THE MORAL. Sensual Love knows neither Bars nor Bounds. We are all Naturally Impudent; only by Custom, and Fig-leaves, we have been taught to Disguise the Matter, and look Demurely; and that's it which we call Modesty.”

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Another selection for the tots from the Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics! I can see the parent struggling with this one.
The children's classic even has an illustration of a damsel au naturel, limbs coyly positioned so as to stay within the bounds of propriety.
“We are all Naturally Impudent,” the moral claims. Hence the rise of modesty panels for desks. Reminds me of the kinky “Ketchup Man” in an unnamed Potterish Reading Room, who’d slide up silently on his knees to a damsel engrossed in underlining her text (shoes off) and fill a dainty shoe with ketchup. Never caught in-the-act or revealed, he – presumably a he – lives on in library lore. Others, more impudent, were exposed as perverts and hustled off by the literary police. Maybe it's all due to Jupiter's slip-up.

*Source: Aesop’s Fables translated by Sir Roger L'Estrange, 1692.

© Copyright John Lubans 2016

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