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THE TWO MEN AND THE TREASURE. Jean de La Fontaine

A Man of cash and credit shorn
(The Devil only in his purse),
Resolved to hang himself one morn,
Since death by hunger might be worse:

A king of death which pleases not
Those curious in their final taste.
A rope and nail he quickly got,
And fixed them to a wall in haste.

The wall was weak and very old,
With the man′s weight it crumbling fell;
When out there came a stream of gold,
The Treasure that he loved so well.

He did not stay to count, but ran;
Pale Penury no more he feared.
When in the miser came—poor man!
To find his wealth had disappeared.

"Gold gone! This cord′s my only wealth!"
He cried; "now I have lost all hope:"
And so straightway he hanged himself.
How changed the fortunes of that rope!

The miser saves his wealth for those
Who may be prudent, may be thieves;
Into the grave perhaps it goes:
Who knows the changes Fortune weaves?

For Lady Fortune mocks outright
At human nature′s dying pangs;
And if by you or me made tight
The rope, she laughs that some one hangs!

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