The Two Dogs and the Dead Ass

La Fontaine January 17, 2015
1 min read
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    Two lean and hungry mastiffs once espied
    A dead ass floating on a water wide.
    The distance growing more and more,
    Because the wind the carcass bore,—
    “My friend,” said one, “your eyes are best;
    Pray let them on the water rest:
    What thing is that I seem to see?
    An ox, or horse? what can it be?”
    “Hey!” cried his mate; “what matter which,
    Provided we could get a flitch?
    It doubtless is our lawful prey:
    The puzzle is to find some way
    To get the prize; for wide the space
    To swim, with wind against your face.
    Let’s drink the flood; our thirsty throats
    Will gain the end as well as boats.
    The water swallow’d, by and by
    We’ll have the carcass, high and dry—
    Enough to last a week, at least.”
    Both drank as some do at a feast;
    Their breath was quench’d before their thirst,
    And presently the creatures burst!
    And such is man. Whatever he
    May set his soul to do or be,
    To him is possibility.
    How many vows he makes!
    How many steps he takes!
    How does he strive, and pant, and strain,
    Fortune’s or Glory’s prize to gain![Pg 125]


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