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THE DROWNED WOMAN. Jean de La Fontaine

THE DROWNED WOMAN. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

THE DROWNED WOMAN. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

I am not one of those who coolly say,
"It′s nought but just a woman who is drowned!"
I say it′s much, yes, much in every way.
The sex I reverence. Taking them all round,
They are the joy of life, then let their praise resound.
And these remarks are really apropos:
My fable treating of a woman lost
In a deep river. Ill luck willed it so.
Her husband sought her, at each ford she′d crossed,
To place her body in a fitting tomb.
And as he wandered by the fatal shore
Of the swift stream that bore his wife away,
The people passing he asked o′er and o′er,
If they had seen her on that luckless day.
They′d not e′en heard of his sad loss before.
"No," said the first; "but seek her lower down:
Follow the stream, and you will find her yet."
Another answer′d: "Follow her! no, no; that′s wrong.
Go further up, and she′ll be there, I bet,
Whether the current′s weak, or the tide strong."
It′s my conviction,
Such is a woman′s love of contradiction,
She′ll float the other way, your soul to fret.
The raillery was out of season;
And yet the heedless boor had reason,
For such is woman′s humour still,
To follow out her own good will;
Yes, from her very birthday morn
Till to the churchyard she is borne,
She′d contradict to her last breath,
And wish she could e′en after death.

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