The Oracle And The Atheist.

A poem by Jean de La Fontaine

[1]

That man his Maker can deceive,
Is monstrous folly to believe.
The labyrinthine mazes of the heart
Are open to His eyes in every part.
Whatever one may do, or think, or feel,
From Him no darkness can the thing conceal.
A pagan once, of graceless heart and hollow,
Whose faith in gods, I'm apprehensive,
Was quite as real as expensive.
Consulted, at his shrine, the god Apollo.
'Is what I hold alive, or not?'
Said he, - a sparrow having brought,
Prepared to wring its neck, or let it fly,
As need might be, to give the god the lie.
Apollo saw the trick,
And answer'd quick,
'Dead or alive, show me your sparrow,
And cease to set for me a trap
Which can but cause yourself mishap.
I see afar, and far I shoot my arrow.'

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