BOOK ONE. 25
The poor man loudly cried ;
'Its dreadful looks I can't abide.
Oh, stay him, stay him! let him come no nigher.
O Death! O Death! I pray thee to retire!'
A gentleman of note
In Rome, Mæcenas, somewhere wrote:
'Make me the poorest wretch that begs,
Sore, hungry, crippled, clothed in rags,
In hopeless impotence of arms and legs;
Provided, after all, you give
The one sweet liberty to live:
I'll ask of Death no greater favour
Than just to stay away for ever.'
DEATH AND THE WOODMAN.
A poor wood-chopper, with his fagot load,
Whom weight of years, as well as load, oppressed.
Sore groaning in his smoky hut to rest,
Trudged wearily along his homeward road.
At last his wood upon the ground he throws.
And sits him down to think o'er all his woes.
To joy a stranger, since his hapless birth,
What poorer wretch upon this rolling earth?
No bread sometimes, and ne'er a moment's rest;