The Woods and the Woodman

La Fontaine January 17, 2015
1 min read
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    A certain wood-chopper lost or broke
    From his axe’s eye a bit of oak.
    The forest must needs be somewhat spared
    While such a loss was being repair’d.
    Came the man at last, and humbly pray’d
    That the woods would kindly lend to him—
    A moderate loan—a single limb,
    Whereof might another helve be made,
    And his axe should elsewhere drive its trade.
    O, the oaks and firs that then might stand,
    A pride and a joy throughout the land,
    For their ancientness and glorious charms!
    The innocent Forest lent him arms;
    But bitter indeed was her regret;
    For the wretch, his axe new-helved and whet,
    Did nought but his benefactress spoil
    Of the finest trees that graced her soil;
    And ceaselessly was she made to groan,
    Doing penance for that fatal loan.
    Behold the world-stage and its actors,
    Where benefits hurt benefactors!—
    A weary theme, and full of pain;
    For where’s the shade so cool and sweet,
    Protecting strangers from the heat,
    But might of such a wrong complain?
    Alas! I vex myself in vain;
    Ingratitude, do what I will,
    Is sure to be the fashion still.

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