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La Fontaine

Beware so long as you live, of judging people by appearances.

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Epitaph Of La Fontaine Made By Himself

JOHN, as he came, so went away,
Consuming capital and pay,
Holding superfluous riches cheap;
The trick of spending time he knew,
Dividing it in portions two,
For idling one, and one for sleep.

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Sister Jane

WHEN Sister Jane, who had produced a child,
In prayer and penance all her hours beguiled
Her sister-nuns around the lattice pressed;
On which the abbess thus her flock addressed:
Live like our sister Jane, and bid adieu
To worldly cares:--have better things in view.

YES, they replied, we sage like her shall be,
When we with love have equally been free.

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An Imitation Of Anacreon

PAINTER in Paphos and Cythera famed
Depict, I pray, the absent Iris' face.
Thou hast not seen the lovely nymph I've named;
The better for thy peace.--Then will I trace
For thy instruction her transcendent grace.
Begin with lily white and blushing rose,
Take then the Loves and Graces... But what good
Words, idle words? for Beauty's Goddess could
By Iris be replaced, nor one suppose
The secret fraud--their grace so equal shows.
Thou at Cythera couldst, at Paphos too,
Of the same Iris Venus form anew.

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The Glutton

A STURGEON, once, a glutton famed was led
To have for supper--all, except the head.
With wond'rous glee he feasted on the fish;
And quickly swallowed down the royal dish.
O'ercharged, howe'er, his stomach soon gave way;
And doctors were required without delay.

THE danger imminent, his friends desired
He'd settle ev'ry thing affairs required.
Said he, in that respect I'm quite prepared;
And, since my time so little is declared,
With diligence, I earnestly request,
The sturgeon's head you'll get me nicely dressed.

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The Country Justice

TWO lawyers to their cause so well adhered,
A country justice quite confused appeared,
By them the facts were rendered so obscure
With which the truth remained he was not sure.
At length, completely tired, two straws he sought
Of diff'rent lengths, and to the parties brought.
These in his hand he held:--the plaintiff drew
(So fate decreed) the shortest of the two.
On this the other homeward took his way,
To boast how nicely he had gained the day.

THE bench complained: the magistrate replied
Don't blame I pray--'tis nothing new I've tried;
Courts often judge at hazard in the law,
Without deciding by the longest straw.

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Alice Sick

SICK, Alice grown, and fearing dire event,
Some friend advised a servant should be sent
Her confessor to bring and ease her mind;--
Yes, she replied, to see him I'm inclined;
Let father Andrew instantly be sought:--
By him salvation usually I'm taught.

A MESSENGER was told, without delay,
To take, with rapid steps, the convent way;
He rang the bell--a monk enquired his name,
And asked for what, or whom, the fellow came.
I father Andrew want, the wight replied,
Who's oft to Alice confessor and guide:
With Andrew, cried the other, would you speak?
If that's the case, he's far enough to seek;
Poor man! he's left us for the regions blessed,
And has in Paradise ten years confessed.

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The Countryman Who Sought His Calf

A COUNTRYMAN, one day, his calf had lost,
And, seeking it, a neighbouring forest crossed;
The tallest tree that in the district grew,
He climbed to get a more extensive view.
Just then a lady with her lover came;
The place was pleasing, both to spark and dame;
Their mutual wishes, looks and eyes expressed,
And on the grass the lady was caressed.
At sights of charms, enchanting to the eyes,
The gay gallant exclaimed, with fond surprise:--
Ye gods, what striking beauties now I see!
No objects named; but spoke with anxious glee.
The clod, who, on the tree had mounted high,
And heard at ease the conversation nigh,
Now cried:--Good man! who see with such delight;
Pray tell me if my calf be in your sight?

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The Two Friends

AXIOCHUS, a handsome youth of old,
And Alcibiades, (both gay and bold,)
So well agreed, they kept a beauteous belle,
With whom by turns they equally would dwell.

IT happened, one of them so nicely played,
The fav'rite lass produced a little maid,
Which both extolled, and each his own believed,
Though doubtless one or t'other was deceived.

BUT when to riper years the bantling grew,
And sought her mother's foot-steps to pursue,
Each friend desired to be her chosen swain,
And neither would a parent's name retain.

SAID one, why brother, she's your very shade;
The features are the same-:-your looks pervade.
Oh no, the other cried, it cannot be
Her chin, mouth, nose, and eyes, with your's agree;
But that as 'twill, let me her favours win,

[...] Read more

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The Kiss Returned

AS WILLIAM walking with his wife was seen,
A man of rank admired her lovely mien.
Who gave you such a charming fair? he cried,
May I presume to kiss your beauteous bride?
With all my heart, replied the humble swain,
You're welcome, sir:--I beg you'll not refrain;
She's at your service: take the boon, I pray;
You'll not such offers meet with ev'ry day.

THE gentleman proceeded as desired;
To get a kiss, alone he had aspired;
So fervently howe'er he pressed her lip,
That Petronella blushed at ev'ry sip.

SEVEN days had scarcely run, when to his arms,
The other took a wife with seraph charms;
And William was allowed to have a kiss,
That filled his soul with soft ecstatic bliss.
Cried he, I wish, (and truly I am grieved)
That when the gentleman a kiss received,

[...] Read more

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