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THE CURATE AND THE CORPSE. Jean de La Fontaine

A Dead man, on his mournful way.
To his last lodging went one day.
A Curé, bustling gaily, came
In due form, to inter the same.
Deceased was in a coach, with care
Packed snugly from the sun and air;
Clad in a robe, alas! ye proud,
Summer or winter, called a shroud;
To change it no one is allowed.
The pastor sat the dead beside,
Reciting, without grief or pride,
Lessons, responses, and those done,
The funeral psalms; yes, every one.
Good Mr. Dead-man, let them chant,
The salary is all they want.
The Curé Chouart shut the eyes
Of his dead man, lest he surprise
The priest who snatched from him a prize.
His looks they seemed to say, "My friend,
From you I′ll have, before I end,
This much in silver, that in wax,"
And many another little tax;
That soon would bring our good divine
A small cask of the choicest wine;
His pretty niece a new silk gown,
And Paquette something from the town.
Just as his pleasant thoughts took flight,
There came a crash... Curé, good night!
The leaden coffin strikes his head.
Parishioner, lapped up in lead,
Politely you went first, you see,
Now comes the priest for company.

Such is our life, as in this tale:
See Curé Chouart counting on his fee,
Like the poor girl with the milk-pail.

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