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Death and the Unfortunate

(Recueil 1, Livre 1, Fable 15)

 

 

A poor unfortunate, from day to day,

Called Death to take him from this world away.

"O Deathe he said, "to me how fair your form!

Come quick, and end for me life's cruel storm."

Death heard, and with a ghastly grin,

Knocked at his door, and entered in

"Take out this object from my sight!"

The poor man loudly cried.

"Its dreadful looks I can't abide;

O stay him, stay him" let him come no nigher;

O Death! O Death! I pray you to retire!"

A gentleman of note

In Rome, Maecenas, 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."

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 1, Fable 15

 

 

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