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THE YOUNG WIDOW. Jean de La Fontaine

A Husband isn′t lost without a sigh;
We give a groan, then are consoled again;
Swift on Time′s wings we see our sorrow fly;
Fleet Time brings sunshine′s pleasure after rain.
The widow of a year, the widow of a day,
Are very different, I say:
One finds it almost hard to trust one′s eyes,
Or the same face to recognise.
One flies the world, the other plans her wiles;
In true or untrue sighs the one pours forth her heart,

Yet the same note they sing, or tears or smiles—
"Quite inconsolable," they say; but, for my part,
I don′t heed that. This fable shows the truth:
Yet why say fiction?—it is sooth.

The husband of a beauty, young and gay,
Unto another world was call′d away.
"My soul, wait for me!" was the Widow′s moan.
The husband waited not, but went alone.
The Widow had a father—prudent man!
He let her tears flow; ′twas the wisest plan.
Then to console, "My child," he said, "this way
Of weeping will soon wash your charms away.
There still live men: think no more of the dead;
I do not say at once I would be wed;
But after a short time you′ll see, I know,
A husband young and handsome that I′ll show,
By no means like the sorry one you mourn."
"A cloister is my husband—ah! forlorn."
The father let these foolish groans go by;
A month pass′d—every moment tear or sigh.
Another month, and ribbons load her table;
She changed her dress, and cast away her sable.
The flock of Cupids to the dovecot back
Came flying, now unscared by scarecrow black.
Smiles, sports, and dances follow in their train,
She bathes in youth′s bright fountain once again.
No more the father fears the dear deceased;
But, as his silence not one whit decreased,
The angry widow cries impatiently,
"Where′s the young husband that you promised me?"

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