Page:Fables by La Fontaine translated by Elizur Wright.djvu/143

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BOOK THREE.

Is this, indeed, the mercy which these rustics
Show to their honest, faithful old domestics?
If to the fair these lazy fellows ride,
'T will be to sell thereat the donkey's hide!"
"Zounds!" cried the miller, "precious little brains
Hath he who takes, to please the world, such pains;
But since we're in, we'll try what can be done."
So off the ass they jumped, himself and son,
And, like a prelate, donkey marched alone.
Another man they met. "These folks," said he,
"Enslave themselves to let their ass go free,
The darling brute! If I might be so bold,
I'd counsel them to have him set in gold.
Not so went Nicholas his Jane4 to woo,
Who rode, we sing, his ass to save his shoe."
"Ass! ass!" our man replied; "we're asses three!
I do avow myself an ass to be;
But since my sage advisers can't agree,
     Their words henceforth shall not be heeded;
     I'll suit myself." And he succeeded.

    'For you, choose army, love, or court;
     In town or country make resort;
     Take wife or cowl; ride you, or walk;
     Doubt not but tongues will have their talk.'