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The Drunkard And His Wife

(Recueil 1, Livre 3, Fable 7)

 

 

Each has his fault, to which he clings

In spite of shame or fear.

This apophthegm a story brings,

To make its truth more clear.

A sot had lost health, mind, and purse;

And, truly, for that matter,

Sots mostly lose the latter

Before running half their course.

When wine, one day, of wit had filled the room,

His wife inclosed him in a spacious tomb.

There did the fumes evaporate

At leisure from his drowsy pate.

When he awoke, he found

His body wrapped around

With grave clothes, chill and damp,

Beneath a dim sepulchral lamp.

"How's this? My wife a widow sad?"

He cried, "and I a ghost? Dead? dead?"

Thereat his spouse, with snaky hair,

And robes like those the Furies wear,

With voice to fit the realms below,

Brought boiling caudle to his bier

For Lucifer the proper cheer;

By which her husband came to know

For he had heard of those three ladies

Himself a citizen of Hades.

"What may your office be?"

The phantom questioned he.

"I'm server up of Pluto's meat,

And bring his guests the same to eat."

"Well," says the sot, not taking time to think,

"And don't you bring us anything to drink?"

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 3, Fable 7

 

 

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