Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MILLER AND HIS ADVISERS; AN APOLOGUE, by JOHN GODFREY SAXE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE MILLER AND HIS ADVISERS; AN APOLOGUE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Of all the fables quaint and old
Last Line: "I'll try henceforth to please myself."
Subject(s): Fables; Mills And Millers; Allegories

OF all the fables quaint and old
By AEsop or by Phoedrus told,
For wit or wisdom none surpass
That of the Miller and his Ass;
Which shrewd Malherbe of modern France
Invented, -- meaning to advance
This wholesome truth, for old and young
(Here rendered in our English tongue),
That one -- however cheap the price --
May take too much of "good advice."
A miller, who had thrived so well
That he had got an ass to sell,
Set forth, one morning, for the fair,
Attended by his youthful heir,
While, trudging on with solemn mien,
The precious donkey walked between.
At length they meet upon the way
Some fellows, less polite than gay,
Who laugh, as if they'd split their sides,
That neither son nor father rides.
The hint suffices; in a crack
The boy bestrides the donkey's back,
When, presently, three merchants came
Along the road, who all exclaim:
"Get off, you lout! you selfish clod,
To let your aged father plod
On foot, while you the ass bestride;
Dismount, and let your father ride!"
The Miller does as they desire,
Down comes the son, up gets the sire,
And so they go until they meet
A group of damsels in the street,
Who, all in chorus, scream and shout:
"For shame! that one so big and stout
Should ride at ease without a care
About his young and tender heir."
"Gad!" says the Miller, "their advice
Seems mainly wise;" and in a trice
(Though Jack esteems it hardly kind)
He bids the lad get up behind.
Alas! the world is hard to suit;
The Miller now is called a brute
By all he meets upon the road
Who mark the donkey's double load.
In sooth, the Miller and his heir
Were quite as much as he could bear,
And so, at length, the careful twain
Took up the weary ass amain,
And to the mirth of all beholders,
Bore off the beast upon their shoulders.
Alas! for all the weight they bore,
They still were censured as before;
The captious rabble followed after
With sneers, and jests, and shouts of laughter.
"The biggest ass," one fellow said,
"Is clearly not the quadruped!"
Another mockingly advised
To have a pet so highly prized
Kept in the parlor from the cold,
Or, for a breastpin, set in gold.
Stunned with the clamor of their mirth,
He drops the donkey to the earth,
"Zooks! they are right," he sighs "Alas!
'T is clear enough I am an ass,
As stupid as this shaggy brute,
Essaying thus all minds to suit.
Egad! despite each meddling elf,
I'll try henceforth to please myself."

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