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THE TWO MULES. Jean de La Fontaine

Two Mules were journeying—one charged with oats,
The other with a tax′s golden fruit.
This last betrayed that manner which denotes
Excessive vanity in man or brute.
Proudly self-conscious of his precious load,
He paced, and loud his harness-bells resounded;
When suddenly upon their lonely road,
Both Mules and masters were by thieves surrounded.
The money-bearer soon was put to death:
"Is this the end that crowns my high career?
Yon drudge," he murmured with his latest breath,
"Escapes unhurt, while I must perish here!"
"My friend," his fellow-traveller made reply,
"Wealth cannot always at the poor man scoff.
If you had been content to do as I,
You′d not at present be so badly off."

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