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THE MADMAN AND THE PHILOSOPHER. Jean de La Fontaine

A Certain Madman, as the story goes,
Threw stones at a Philosopher, one day.
The latter said, "My friend, I don′t suppose
You care to work so hard, without your pay.
Here, take this crown; how deeply I regret
I cannot better recompense your trouble!
Go, pelt yon gentleman, and you may get
A larger sum—perhaps as much as double."
Pleased at the chance, our fool begins to throw
Big stones at a patrician; but, instead
Of giving gold, the lackeys mauled him so,
That they departed leaving him half dead.

Such fools there are in kingly courts,
Who raise the laugh at your expense;
But can you check their silly sports,
Or stop their loud impertinence?
If any words or any blows
Of yours are powerless to hush them,
Just get them to be rude to those
Who have sufficient force to crush them.


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