The Sick Stag

: A Hundred Fables Of La Fontaine

A stag, where stags abounded,

Fell sick and was surrounded

Forthwith by comrades kind,

All pressing to assist,

Or see, their friend, at least,

And ease his anxious mind--

An irksome multitude.

"Ah, sirs!" the sick was fain to cry,

"Pray leave me here to die,

As others do, in solitude.

Pray, let your kin
attentions cease,

Till death my spirit shall release."

But comforters are not so sent:

On duty sad full long intent,

When Heaven pleased, they went:

But not without a friendly glass;

That is to say, they cropp'd the grass

And leaves which in that quarter grew,

From which the sick his pittance drew.

By kindness thus compell'd to fast,

He died for want of food at last.

_The men take off no trifling dole_

_Who heal the body, or the soul._

_Alas the times! do what we will,_

_They have their payment, cure or kill._