The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)/The Old Man's Advice
THE OLD MAN'S ADVICE.
"Please teach me how a fortune's made,"
A young man to his father said.
The old man answer'd:—"There's a way
Which is glorious, I may say:
Though 'tis the way least understood;—
It is to serve the common good;
To give one's life, one's toil, one's care
In useful service of the state."
"Oh that's a labor far too great:
I want some way less hard by far."
"Well then, there's intrigue, which is sure."
"But that vile way I can't endure.
From both hard labor and from vice
I would be free'd."
"Then be a fool! Take my advice;—
For many such I've seen succeed."