The Two Dogs And The Dead Ass
: A Hundred Fables Of La Fontaine
Two lean and hungry mastiffs once espied
A dead ass floating on a water wide.
The distance growing more and more,
Because the wind the carcass bore,--
"My friend," said one, "your eyes are best;
Pray let them on the water rest:
What thing is that I seem to see?
An ox, or horse? what can it be?"
"Hey!" cried his mate; "what matter which,
Provided we could get a flitch?
It doubtless is our lawful prey:
The puzzle is to find some way
To get the prize; for wide the space
To swim, with wind against your face.
Let's drink the flood; our thirsty throats
Will gain the end as well as boats.
The water swallow'd, by and by
We'll have the carcass, high and dry--
Enough to last a week, at least."
Both drank as some do at a feast;
Their breath was quench'd before their thirst,
And presently the creatures burst!
_And such is man. Whatever he_
_May set his soul to do or be,_
_To him is possibility._
_How many vows he makes!_
_How many steps he takes!_
_How does he strive, and pant, and strain,_
_Fortune's or Glory's prize to gain!_