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The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)/The Mirror of Truth

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FABLE II.
THE MIRROR OF TRUTH.

In that fam'd time, the age of gold,
When peace prevail'd in every land,
And simple Truth herself made bold
To rove at large with glass in hand,
Each in her mirror dar'd to trace,
Without a blush, his own true face.

But crimes and vices stole in fast,
And soon those happy days were past.
Then Truth, disgusted, to Heaven flew,
And back to earth her mirror threw.
Alas! 'twas broken in the fall,
And scatter'd wide and lost to all.

Long centuries after it was seen
How very great the loss had been;
And wise men then began with care
To seek out where the fragments were.
They sometimes find them, here and there,
But very small and very rare:
So that they prove of little worth.
The truest man of all the earth,
With strongest mind and purest heart,
Can see himself therein but part.