Tales and Novels of J. de La Fontaine — Volume 24 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 8 pages of information about Tales and Novels of J. de La Fontaine Volume 24.

THE CONTRACT

          Thehusband’s dire mishap, and silly maid,
          In ev’ry age, have proved the fable’s aid;
          The fertile subject never will be dry: 
          ’Tis inexhaustible, you may rely. 
          No man’s exempt from evils such as these:—­
          Who thinks himself secure, but little sees. 
          One laughs at sly intrigues who, ere ’tis long,
          May, in his turn, be sneered at by the throng: 
          With such vicissitudes, to be cast down,
          Appears rank nonsense worthy Folly’s crown. 
          He, whose adventures I’m about to write,
          In his mischances,—­found what gave delight.

          A certain Citizen, with fortune large,
          When settled with a handsome wife in charge,
          Not long attended for the marriage fruit: 
          The lady soon put matters ’yond dispute;
          Produced a girl at first, and then a boy,
          To fill th’ expecting parent’s breast with joy.

          Theson, when grown of size, a tutor had,
          No pedant rude, with Greek and Latin mad,
          But young and smart, a master too of arts,
          Particularly learned in what imparts,
          The gentle flame, the pleasing poignant pang,
          That Ovid formerly so sweetly sang. 
          Some knowledge of good company he’d got;
          A charming voice and manner were his lot;
          And if we may disclose the mystick truth,
          ’Twas Cupid who preceptor made the youth. 
          He with the brother solely took a place,
          That better he the sister’s charms might trace;
          And under this disguise he fully gained
          What he desired, so well his part he feigned: 
          An able master, or a lover true,
          To teach or sigh, whichever was in view,
          So thoroughly he could attention get,
          Success alike in ev’ry thing he met.

          Inlittle time the boy could construe well
          The odes of Horace:—­Virgil’s fable tell;
          And she whose beauty caught the tutor’s eyes,
          A perfect mistress got of heaving sighs. 
          So oft she practised what the master taught,
          Her stomach feeble grew, whate’er was sought;
          And strange suspicions of the cause arose,
          Which Time at length was driven to disclose.

          Mostterribly the father raged and swore;
          Our learned master, frightened, left the door,
          The lady wished to take the youth for life;
          The spark desired to make the girl his wife;
          Both had the Hymeneal knot in view,
          And mutual soft affection fondly knew. 
          At present love is little more than name: 
          In matrimony, gold’s the only aim. 
          The belle was rich, while he had nothing got;
          For him ’twas great:—­for her a narrow lot.

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Tales and Novels of J. de La Fontaine — Volume 24 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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