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THE ASS AND THE LITTLE DOG. Jean de La Fontaine

To ape a talent not your own
Is foolish; no one can affect a grace.
A blundering blockhead better leave alone
The gallant′s bows, and tricks, and smiling face.
To very few is granted Heaven′s dower—
Few have infused into their life the power
To please, so better far to leave the charm
To them. And may I ask you, where′s the harm?
One would not bear resemblance to the Ass,
Who wishing to be dearer to his master,
Amiably went to kiss him; so it came to pass
There followed instantly no small disaster.
"What!" said he, "shall this paltry thing
Assume by dint of toadying,
Win Madam′s friendly fellowship,
And twist and gambol, fawn and skip,
While I have only blows? no, no!
What does he do?—why, all fools know—
He gives his paw; the thing is done,
And then they kiss him every one.
If that is all, upon my word,
To call it difficult ′s absurd."
Full of this glorious thought, one luckless day,
Seeing his master smiling pass that way,
The clumsy creature comes, and clumsily
Chucks with his well-worn hoof quite gallantly
His master′s chin; to please him still the more,
With voice, so sweet, sonorous brays his best.
"Oh, what caresses, and what melody!"
The master cries; "Ho! Martin, come, be quick!
And, Martin, bring the heaviest stick!"
Then Martin comes; the donkey changed his tune.
So ended the brief comedy
In bitter blows and misery.
Donkeys′ ambitions pass so soon.

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