The Cobbler

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WE'RE told, that once a cobbler, BLASE by name;
A wife had got, whose charms so high in fame;
But as it happened, that their cash was spent,
The honest couple to a neighbour went,
A corn-factor by trade, not overwise
To whom they stated facts without disguise;
And begged, with falt'ring voice denoting care,
That he, of wheat, would half a measure spare,
Upon their note, which readily he gave,
And all advantages desired to wave.

THE time for payment came; the money used;
The cash our factor would not be refused;
Of writs he talked, attorneys, and distress;
The reason:--heav'n can tell, and you may guess;
In short, 'twas clear our gay gallant desired,
To cheer the wife, whose beauty all admired.

SAID he, what anxiously I wish to get,
You've plenty stored, and never wanted yet;
You surely know my meaning?--Yes, she cried;
I'll turn it in my mind, and we'll decide
How best to act. Away she quickly flew,
And Blase informed, what Ninny had in view.
Zounds! said the cobbler, we must see, my dear,
To hook this little sum:--the way is clear;
No risk I'm confident; for prithee run
And tell him I've a journey just begun;
That he may hither come and have his will;
But 'ere he touch thy lips, demand the bill;
He'll not refuse the boon I'm very sure;
Meantime, myself I'll hide and all secure.
The note obtained, cough loudly, strong, and clear;
Twice let it be, that I may plainly hear;
Then forth I'll sally from my lurking place,
And, spite of folly's frowns, prevent disgrace.

THE, plot succeeded as the pair desired;
The cobbler laughed, and ALL his scheme admired:

A purse-proud cit thereon observed and swore;
'Twere better to have coughed when all was o'er;
Then you, all three, would have enjoyed your wish,
And been in future all as mute as fish.

OH! sir, replied the cobbler's wife at ease,
Do you suppose that use can hope to please,
And like your ladies full of sense appear?
(For two were seated with his wedded dear
Perhaps my lady 'd act as you describe,
But ev'ry one such prudence don't imbibe...

© Jean de La Fontaine