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JUPITER AND THE FARMER. Jean de La Fontaine

Jupiter had a farm to give away;
Mercury told the world the chosen day.
The people came to offer, rough they were,
And listened grimly. One said it was bare
And stubborn land; another half agreed.
While they thus haggled, churlishly indeed,
One bolder than the rest—but wiser?—no—
Consents to take it, if Jove only grant
The climate that he wishes; he will plant,
And sow, and reap, if but the heat and cold
May come and go, like slaves, as they are told.
The seasons wait his nod: the wet and dry
Obey his bidding from a servile sky.
Jove grants his wish—our foolish fellow sways
His sceptre bravely—rains and blows for days;
Makes his own climate just as he may please:
His neighbours, no more than Antipodes,
Share his good weather. Still as well they fare;
Their barns are teeming full; but his art bare.
The next year quite a change; another way
He sets the seasons, watching day by day:
Still, there′s some flaw—his crops are thin and poor,
While loaded waggons crowd his neighbour′s door.
What can he do?—he falls before Jove′s throne,
Confesses all his folly: he alone
Has been to blame. Jove, with much gentleness,
Like a mild master, pities his distress.
It is agreed that Providence is kind,
And knows far better than a human mind
What′s good for us, and calmly bids us do it:
We seldom see our way till we are through it.

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