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THE ASS AND HIS MASTERS. Jean de La Fontaine

A Gardener′s Donkey once complained to Fate
Of having to rise earlier than the sun.
"The cocks," he said, "are certainly not late;
But I have got to rise ere they′ve begun.
And all for what?—to carry herbs to sell:
A pretty cause to break one′s morning sleep!"
Fate, touched by this appeal, determined well
To give the beast to other hands to keep:
The Gardener to a Tanner yields him next.
The weight of hides, and their distressing fume,
Soon shock our friend; he is far worse perplexed:
His mind again begins to lower and gloom.
"I much regret," he said, "my first good man,
For when he turned his head I always got
A bite of cabbage;—that was just my plan:
It cost me not a single sous, or jot;
But here no, no rewards but kick and cuff."—
His fortune shifts; a Charcoal-dealer′s stall
Receives him. Still complaints, and quantum suff.
"What! not content yet," Fate cries, "after all?
This Ass is worse than half a hundred kings.
Does he, forsooth, think he′s the only one
That′s not content? Have I no other things
To fill my mind but this poor simpleton?"
And Fate was right. No man is satisfied:
Our fortune never fits our wayward minds;
The present seems the worst we′ve ever tried;
We weary Heaven with outcries of all kinds.
And yet, if Jupiter gave each his will,
We should torment his ear with wishes still.

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