The One-Eyed Doe

A doe with one eye thought she was safe eating while looking shoreward but then missed the archer in the boat. Oh my!

You cannot escape your fate.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

A Doe had had the misfortune to lose one of her eyes, and could not see any one approaching her on that side. So to avoid any danger she always used to feed on a high cliff near the sea, with her sound eye looking towards the land. By this means she could see whenever the hunters approached her on land, and often escaped by this means. But the hunters found out that she was blind of one eye, and hiring a boat rowed under the cliff where she used to feed and shot her from the sea. “Ah,” cried she with her dying voice, “You cannot escape your fate.”

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A doe blind in one eye was accustomed to graze as near to the edge of the cliff as she possibly could, in the hope of securing her greater safety. She turned her sound eye towards the land that she might get the earliest tidings of the approach of hunter or hound, and her injured eye towards the sea, from whence she entertained no anticipation of danger. Some boatmen sailing by saw her, and taking a successful aim, mortally wounded her. Yielding up her last breath, she gasped forth this lament: “O wretched creature that I am! to take such precaution against the land, and after all to find this seashore, to which I had come for safety, so much more perilous.”

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A Doe that had but one eye, used to graze near the sea, so that she might keep her blind eye towards the water, while she surveyed the country and saw that no hunters came ncar, with the other. It happened, however, that some men in a boat saw her, and as she did not perceive their approach, they came very close, and one who had a gun, fired and shot her. In her dying agony she cried out, “Alas, hard fate! that I should receive my death-wound from the side whence I expected no ill, and be safe on that where I looked for most danger.”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version (A Stag With One Eye)

A one-eyed-stag that was affraid of the huntsmen at land, kept a watch that way with t’other eye, and fed with his blind side still toward an arm of the sea, where he thought there was no danger. In this prospect of security, he was struck with an arrow from a boat, and so ended his days with this lamentation: Here am I destroy’d, says he, where I reckon’d my self to be safe on the one hand; and no evil has befal’n me, where I most dreaded it, on the other.


We are lyable to many unlucky accidents that no care or foresight can prevent: but we are to provide however the best we can against them, and leave the rest to providence.

Crane Poetry VisualCrane Poetry Visual


Blind Doe

A poor half-blind Doe her one eye
Kept shoreward, all danger to spy,
As she fed by the sea,
Poor innocent! She
Was shot from a boat passing by.

Watch on all sides.

1001Cervus Oculo Captus

Cervus, altero oculo captus, iuxta mare pasci consueverat ita ut integrum oculum in terram haberet versum; nihil enim periculi videbatur e mari impendere. Cum autem forte navis praeterveheretur, qui in illa erant, directa in cervum sagitta, incautum confixere. Ille ictus, “Me miserum,” inquit, “quantopere deceptus fui, qui a terra metui, undis fretus, e quibus mihi mors immittitur.”

Perry #075