In such a world, all men, of every grade,
Should each the other kindly aid;
For, if beneath misfortune’s goad
A neighbour falls, on you will fall his load.
There jogged in company an ass and horse;
Nothing but his harness did the last endorse;
The other bore a load that crushed him down,
And begged the horse a little help to give,
Or otherwise he could not reach the town.
“This prayer,” said he, “is civil, I believe;
One half this burden you would scarcely feel.”
The horse refused, flung up a scornful heel,
And saw his comrade die beneath the weight:
And saw his wrong too late;
For on his own proud back
They put the ass’s pack,
And over that, beside,
They put the ass’s hide.