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Jean de La Fontaine Poems
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The Jealous Husband by Jean de La Fontaine
A CERTAIN husband who, from jealous fear,
With one eye slept while t'other watched his dear,
Deprived his wife of every social joy,
(Friends oft the jealous character annoy,)
And made a fine collection in a book,
Of tricks with which the sex their wishes hook.
Strange fool! as if their wiles, to speak the truth,
Were not a hydra, both in age and youth.

HIS wife howe'er engaged his constant cares;
He counted e'en the number of her hairs;
And kept a hag who followed every hour,
Where'er she went, each motion to devour;
Duenna like, true semblance of a shade,
That never quits, yet moves as if afraid.

THIS arch collection, like a prayer-book bound;
Was in the blockhead's pocket always found,
The form religious of the work, he thought,
Would prove a charm 'gainst vice whenever sought!

ONE holy day, it happened that our dame,
As from the neighb'ring church she homeward came;
And passed a house, some wight, concealed from view;
A basket full of filth upon her threw.

WITH anxious care apologies were made;
The lady, frightened by the frolick played,
Quite unsuspicious to the mansion went;
Her aged friend for other clothes she sent,
Who hurried home, and ent'ring out of breath;
Informed old hunks--what pained him more than death

ZOUNDS! cried the latter, vainly I may look
To find a case like this within my book;
A dupe I'm made, and nothing can be worse:--
Hell seize the work--'tis thoroughly a curse!

NOT wrong he proved, for, truly to confess;
This throwing dirt upon the lady's dress
Was done to get the hag, with Argus' eyes
Removed a certain distance from the prize.
The gay gallant, who watched the lucky hour,
Felt doubly blessed to have her in his power.

HOW vain our schemes to guard the wily sex!
Oft plots we find, that ev'ry sense perplex.
Go, jealous husbands, books of cases burn;
Caresses lavish, and you'll find return.
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