The Lion in Love

A Lion was so in love that he let the family take away all his defenses. He probably erred; in one version he dies.

Love can blind even the wildest

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

A Lion fell in love with a beautiful maiden and proposed marriage. The maiden’s parents did not know what to say. They did not want to give their daughter to the Lion, yet they did not wish to enrage the King of Beasts. At last the father said: “We feel highly honored by your Majesty’s proposal, but our daughter is a tender young girl, and we fear that in the heat of love you might possibly do her injury. Might I venture to suggest that your Majesty should have your claws removed, and your teeth extracted; then we would consider your proposal again.” The Lion was so much in love that he had his claws trimmed and his big teeth taken out. But, when he again came to the parents of the young girl they simply laughed at him.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A lion demanded the daughter of a woodcutter in marriage. The Father, unwilling to grant, and yet afraid to refuse his request, hit upon this expedient to rid himself of his importunities. He expressed his willingness to accept the Lion as the suitor of his daughter on one condition: that he should allow him to extract his teeth, and cut off his claws, as his daughter was fearfully afraid of both. The Lion cheerfully assented to the proposal. But when the toothless, clawless Lion returned to repeat his request, the Woodman, no longer afraid, set upon him with his club, and drove him away into the forest.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall

Croxall - Lion in LoveTHE Lion by chance saw a fair maid, the forester’s daughter, as she was tripping over a lawn, and fell in love with her. Nay, so violent was his passion, that he could not live unless he made her his own; so that without any more delay, he broke his mind to the father, and demanded the damsel for his wife. The man, as odd as the proposal seemed at first, yet soon recollected, that by complying, he might get the Lion into his power; but, by refusing him, should only exasperate and provoke his rage. Therefore he consented; but told him it must be upon these conditions: that considering the girl was young and tender, he must agree to let his teeth be plucked out, and his claws cut off, lest he should hurt her, or at least frighten her with the apprehension of them. The Lion, was too much in love to hesitate; but was no sooner deprived of his teeth and claws, than the treacherous Forester attacked him with a huge club, and knocked his brains out.


Whittingham - Lion in Love

C. Whittingham (1814)

Of all the ill consequences that may attend that blind passion, love, seldom any prove so fatal as that one of its drawing people into a sudden and ill-concerted marriage. They commit a rash action in the midst of a fit of madness, of which, as soon as they come to themselves, they may find reason to repent as long as they live. Many an unthinking young fellow has been treated as much like a savage in this respect, as the Lion in the fable. He has, perhaps, had nothing valuable belonging to him, but his estate, and the writings which made his title to it; and if he is so far captivated, as to he persuaded to part with these, his teeth and his claws are gone, and he lies entirely at the mercy of madam and her relations. All the favour he is to expect after this, is from the accidental goodness of the family he falls into; which, if it happen to be of a particular strain, will not fail to keep him in a distant subjection, after they have stripped him of all his power Nothing but a true friendship, and a mutual interest, can keep up reciprocal love betwixt the conjugal pair; and when that is wanting, and nothing but contempt and aversion remain to supply the place, matrimony becomes a downright state of enmity and hostility; and what a miserable case he must be in, who has put himself and his whole power into the hands of his enemy, let those consider, who, while they are in their sober senses, abhor the thoughts of being betrayed into their rum, by following the impulse of a blind unheeding passion.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A Lion fell in love with the fair daughter of a forester, and demanded her of her father in marriage. The man durst not refuse, though he would gladly have done so; but he told the Lion that his daughter was so young and delicate, that he could consent only upon condition that his teeth should first be drawn and his claws cut off. The Lion was so enslaved by love that he agreed to this without a murmur, and it was accordingly done. The forester then seized a club, laid him dead upon the spot and so broke off the match.

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

A lyon fell in love with a country lass, and desir’d her father’s consent to have her in marriage. The answer he gave was churlish enough. He’d never agree to’t he say’d, upon any terms, to marry his daughter to a beast. The lyon gave him a sowr look upon’t, which brought the bumkin, upon second thoughts, to strike up a bargain with him, upon these conditions; that his teeth should be drawn, and his nailes par’d; for those were things, he say’d, that the foolish girle was terribly afraid of. The lyon sends for a surgeon immediately to do the work; (as what will not love make a body do?). And so soon as ever the operation was over, he goes and challenges the father upon his promise. The countryman seeing the lyon disarm’d, pluck’d up a good heart, and with a swindging cudgel so order’d the matter, that he broke off the match.


An extravagant love consults neither life, fortune, nor reputation, but sacrifices all that can be dear to a man of sense and honor, to the transports of an inconsiderate passion.

Crane Poetry VisualCrane Poetry Visual


Lion in Love

Though the Lion in love let them draw
All his teeth, and pare down every claw,
He’d no bride for his pains,
For they beat out his brains
Ere he set on his maiden a paw.

Our very means may defeat our ends.

1001Leo Amatorius et Silvanus

Leo silvani cuiusdam filiam perdite amavit et patrem virginis sollicitabat ut illi virgo in matrimonium daretur. Respondebat silvanus filiam esse tenellam et delicatulam virginem et numquam hamatos eius ungues dentesque passuram. Passus est igitur leo dentes et ungues evelli ut virgine frueretur. Quod cum vidisset pater, fustibus leoni involabat et longius imbellem abigebat.


Fabula indicat vesaniam inutilis amoris, propter quem pretiosissima perdimus et captivitatem patimur.

Perry #140