The Fly And The Game.

A poem by Jean de La Fontaine

A knight of powder-horn and shot
Once fill'd his bag - as I would not,
Unless the feelings of my breast
By poverty were sorely press'd -
With birds and squirrels for the spits
Of certain gormandizing cits.
With merry heart the fellow went
Direct to Mr. Centpercent,
Who loved, as well was understood,
Whatever game was nice and good.
This gentleman, with knowing air,
Survey'd the dainty lot with care,
Pronounced it racy, rich, and rare,
And call'd his wife, to know her wishes
About its purchase for their dishes.
The lady thought the creatures prime,
And for their dinner just in time;
So sweet they were, and delicate,
For dinner she could hardly wait.
But now there came - could luck be worse? -
Just as the buyer drew his purse,
A bulky fly, with solemn buzz,
And smelt, as an inspector does,
This bird and that, and said the meat -
But here his words I won't repeat -
Was anything but fit to eat.
'Ah!' cried the lady, 'there's a fly
I never knew to tell a lie;
His coat, you see, is bottle-green;
He knows a thing or two I ween;
My dear, I beg you, do not buy:
Such game as this may suit the dogs.'
So on our peddling sportsman jogs,
His soul possess'd of this surmise,
About some men, as well as flies:
A filthy taint they soonest find
Who are to relish filth inclined.

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