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THE STAG VIEWING HIMSELF IN THE STREAM. Jean de La Fontaine

Beside a fountain in the wood
A royal Stag admiring stood:
His antlers pleased him well.
But one thing vexed him to the heart:
His slender legs ill matched the part
On which he loved to dwell.

"Nature has shaped them ill," said he,
Watching their shadows peevishly:
"Here is a disproportion!
My horns rise branching, tall, and proud;
My legs disgrace them, ′tis allowed,
And are but an abortion."

Just then a deer-hound frightened him,
And lent a wing to every limb.
O′er bush and brake—he′s off!
At those adornments on his brow
The foolish creature praised just now
He soon begins to scoff.

Upon his legs his life depends:
They are his best and only friends.
He unsays every word,
And curses Heaven, that has sent
A dangerous gift. We all repent
Speeches that are absurd.

We prize too much the beautiful,
And useful things spurn (as a rule);
Yet fast will beauty fleet.
The Stag admired the antlers high,
That brought him into jeopardy,
And blamed his kindly feet.

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