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Tales and Novels of J. de La Fontaine — Volume 14 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 17 pages of information about Tales and Novels of J. de La Fontaine Volume 14.

HANS CARVEL’S RING

Hans Carvel took, when weak and late in life;
A girl, with youth and beauteous charms to wife;
And with her, num’rous troubles, cares and fears;
For, scarcely one without the rest appears. 
Bab (such her name, and daughter of a knight)
Was airy, buxom:  formed for am’rous fight. 
Hans, holding jeers and cuckoldom in dread,
Would have his precious rib with caution tread,
And nothing but the Bible e’er peruse;
All other books he daily would abuse;
Blamed secret visits; frowned at loose attire;
And censured ev’ry thing gallants admire. 
The dame, howe’er, was deaf to all he said;
No preaching pleased but what to pleasure led,
Which made the aged husband hold his tongue. 
And wish for death, since all round went wrong. 
Some easy moments he perhaps might get;
A full detail in hist’ry’s page is met. 
One night, when company he’d had to dine,
And pretty well was fill’d with gen’rous wine,
Hans dreamed, as near his wife he snoring lay,
The devil came his compliments to pay,
And having on his finger put a ring,
Said he, friend Hans, I know thou feel’st a sting;
Thy trouble ’s great:  I pity much thy case;
Let but this ring, howe’er, thy finger grace,
And while ’tis there I’ll answer with my head,
that ne’er shall happen which is now thy dread: 
Hans, quite delighted, forced his finger through;
You drunken beast, cried Bab, what would you do? 
To love’s devoirs quite lost, you take no care,
And now have thrust your finger God knows where!

THE HERMIT

When Venus and Hypocrisy combine,
Oft pranks are played that show a deep design;
Men are but men, and friars full as weak: 
I’m not by Envy moved these truths to speak. 
Have you a sister, daughter, pretty wife? 
Beware the monks as you would guard your life;
If in their snares a simple belle be caught: 
The trap succeeds:  to ruin she is brought. 
To show that monks are knaves in Virtue’s mask;
Pray read my tale:—­no other proof I ask.

          A hermit, full of youth, was thought around,
          A saint, and worthy of the legend found. 
          The holy man a knotted cincture wore;
          But, ’neath his garb:—­heart-rotten to the core. 
          A chaplet from his twisted girdle hung,
          Of size extreme, and regularly strung,
          On t’other side was worn a little bell;
          The hypocrite in all, he acted well;
          And if a female near his cell appeared,
          He’d keep within as if the sex he feared,
          With downcast eyes and looks of woe complete,
          You’d ne’er suppose that butter he could eat.

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