Single blow he patiently endured;
The second, howsoe’er, his patience cured;
The third was more severe, and each was worse;
The punishment he now began to curse;
Two lusty wights, with cudgels thrashed his back
And regularly gave him thwack and thwack;
He cried, he roared, for grace he begged his lord,
Who marked each blow, and would no ease accord;
But carefully observed, from time to time,
That lenity he always thought sublime;
His gravity preserved; considered too
The blows received and what continued due.
Atlength, when Greg’ry twenty strokes had got,
He piteously exclaimed:—if more’s my lot
I never shall survive! Oh! pray forgive,
If you desire, my lord, that I should live.
Then down with thirty pounds, replied the peer,
Since you the blows so much pretend to fear;
I’m sorry for you; but if all the gold
Be not prepared, your godfather, I’m told,
Can lend a part; yet, since so far you’ve been,
To flinch the rest you surely won’t be seen.
Thewretched peasant to his lordship flew,
And trembling cried—’tis up! the number view!
A scrutiny was made, which nothing gained;
No choice but pay the money now remained;
This grieved him much, and o’er the fellow’s face;
The dewy drops were seen to flow apace.
All useless proved:—the full demand he sent,
With which the peer expressed himself content.
Unlucky he whoe’er his lord offends!
To golden ore, howe’er, the proud man bends:
’Twasvain that Gregory a pardon prayed;
For trivial faults the peasant dearly paid;
His throat enflamed—his tender back well beat—
His money gone—and all to make complete,
Without the least deduction for the pain,
The blows and garlick gave the trembling swain.
ETEXT EDITOR’S BOOKMARKS:
Who, born for hanging, ever yet was drowned?
*** End of the project gutenberg EBOOK tales and novels of Fontaine, V2 ***
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