The Woods And The Woodman

: A Hundred Fables Of La Fontaine

A certain wood-chopper lost or broke

From his axe's eye a bit of oak.

The forest must needs be somewhat spared

While such a loss was being repair'd.

Came the man at last, and humbly pray'd

That the woods would kindly lend to him--

A moderate loan--a single limb,

Whereof might another helve be made,

And his axe should elsewhere drive its trade.

/> O, the oaks and firs that then might stand,

A pride and a joy throughout the land,

For their ancientness and glorious charms!

The innocent Forest lent him arms;

But bitter indeed was her regret;

For the wretch, his axe new-helved and whet,

Did nought but his benefactress spoil

Of the finest trees that graced her soil;

And ceaselessly was she made to groan,

Doing penance for that fatal loan.

_Behold the world-stage and its actors,_

_Where benefits hurt benefactors!--_

_A weary theme, and full of pain;_

_For where's the shade so cool and sweet,_

_Protecting strangers from the heat,_

_But might of such a wrong complain?_

_Alas! I vex myself in vain;_

_Ingratitude, do what I will,_

_Is sure to be the fashion still._