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THE WALLET. Jean de La Fontaine

Said Jupiter one day, "Let all that breathe
Come and obeisance make before my throne.
If at his shape or being any grieve,
Let them cast fears aside. I′ll hear their groan.
Come, Monkey, you be first to speak. You see
Of animals this goodly company;
Compare their beauties with your own.
Are you content?" "Why not? Good gracious me!"
The monkey said,
No whit afraid—
"Why not content? I have four feet like others,
My portrait no one sneers at—do they, brothers?
But cousin Bruins hurriedly sketched in,
And no one holds his likeness worth a pin."
Then came the Bear. One thought he would have found
Something to grumble at. Grumble! no, not he.
He praised his form and shape, but, looking round,
Turned critic on the want of symmetry
Of the huge shapeless Elephant, whose ears
Were much too long; his tail too short, he fears.
The Elephant was next.
Though wise, yet sadly vexed
To see good Madam Whale, to his surprise,
A cumbrous mountain of such hideous size.
Quick Mrs. Ant thinks the Gnat far too small,
Herself colossal.—Jove dismisses all,
Severe on others, with themselves content.
′Mong all the fools who that day homeward went,
Our race was far the worst: our wisest souls
Lynxes to others′, to their own faults moles.
Pardon at home they give, to others grace deny,
And keep on neighbours′ sins a sleepless eye.
Jove made us so,
As we all know,
We wear our Wallets in the self-same way—
This current year, as in the bye-gone day:
In pouch behind our own defects we store,
The faults of others in the one before.

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