The Drunkard And His Wife By Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables

Each has his fault, to which he clings
In spite of shame or fear.
This apophthegm a story brings,
To make its truth more clear.
A sot had lost health, mind, and purse;
And, truly, for that matter,
Sots mostly lose the latter
Before running half their course.
When wine, one day, of wit had filled the room,
His wife inclosed him in a spacious tomb.
There did the fumes evaporate
At leisure from his drowsy pate.
When he awoke, he found
His body wrapped around
With grave-clothes, chill and damp,
Beneath a dim sepulchral lamp.
“How’s this? My wife a widow sad?”
He cried, “and I a ghost? Dead? dead?”
Thereat his spouse, with snaky hair,
And robes like those the Furies wear,
With voice to fit the realms below,
Brought boiling caudle to his bier—
For Lucifer the proper cheer;
By which her husband came to know—
For he had heard of those three ladies—
Himself a citizen of Hades.
“What may your office be?”
The phantom questioned he.
“I’m server up of Pluto’s meat,
And bring his guests the same to eat.”
“Well,” says the sot, not taking time to think,
“And don’t you bring us anything to drink?”

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