The Man And His Image

: A Hundred Fables Of La Fontaine

A man, who had no rivals in the love

Which to himself he bore,

Esteem'd his own dear beauty far above

What earth had seen before.

More than contented in his error,

He lived the foe of every mirror.

Officious fate, resolved our lover

From such an illness should recover,

Presented always to his eyes

The mute adviser
which the ladies prize;--

Mirrors in parlours, inns, and shops,--

Mirrors the pocket furniture of fops,--

Mirrors on every lady's zone,

From which his face reflected shone.

What could our dear Narcissus do?

From haunts of men he now withdrew,

On purpose that his precious shape

From every mirror might escape.

But in his forest glen alone,

Apart from human trace,

A watercourse,

Of purest source,

While with unconscious gaze

He pierced its waveless face,

Reflected back his own.

Incensed with mingled rage and fright,

He seeks to shun the odious sight;

But yet that mirror sheet, so clear and still,

He cannot leave, do what he will.

_Ere this, my story's drift you plainly see._

_From such mistake there is no mortal free._

_That obstinate self-lover_

_The human soul doth cover;_

_The mirrors' follies are of others,_

_In which, as all are genuine brothers,_

_Each soul may see to life depicted_

_Itself with just such faults afflicted;_

_And by that charming placid brook,_

_Needless to say, I mean your Maxim Book._