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DEATH AND THE WOODCUTTER. Jean de La Fontaine

Death and the Woodman. Leon Augustin Lhermitte, 1893

Death and the Woodman. Leon Augustin Lhermitte, 1893

A poor Woodcutter, covered with his load,
Bent down with boughs and with a weary age,
Groaning and stooping, made his sorrowing stage
To reach his smoky cabin; on the road,
Worn out with toil and pain, he seeks relief
By resting for a while, to brood on grief.—
What pleasure has he had since he was born?
In this round world is there one more forlorn?
Sometimes no bread, and never, never rest.
Creditors, soldiers, taxes, children, wife,
The corvée. Such a life!
The picture of a miserable man—look east or west.
He calls on Death—for Death calls everywhere—
Well,—Death is there.
He comes without delay,
And asks the groaner if he needs his aid.
"Yes," said the Woodman, "help me in my trade.
Put up these faggots—then you need not stay."

Death is a cure for all, say I,
But do not budge from where you are;
Better to suffer than to die,
Is man′s old motto, near and far.


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