The Man with Three Wives

Kriloff’s Original Fables
A certain vanquisher of women’s hearts,
While still his first wife was alive and well, Married a second, and a third. —They tell The king the scandal of such shameless arts, And, as his majesty abhorred all vice,
Given himself to self-denial,
He gave the order in a trice To bring the bigamist to trial,
And such a punishment invent, that none
Should evermore dare do what he had done
:
” And if the punishment to me should seem too small,
Around their table will I hang the judges all.” This to the judges seemed no joke : The cold sweat ran along each spine,
Three days and nights they sit, but can’t divine What punishment will best such lawless licence choke. Thousands o£ punishments there are, but then,
As all men of experience know,
They cannot keep from evil evil men.
This time kind Providence did help them, though,
And when the culprit came before the Court,
This was his sentence short: To give him back his three wives all together.
The people wondered much at this decision,
And thought the judges’ lives hung by a feather
;
But three days had not passed before The bigamist, behind his door,
Himself hung to a peg with great precision : And then, the sentence wrought on all great fear, And much the morals of the Kingdom steadied,
For, from that time its annalists are clear, That no men in it more has three wives wedded.
[A scandalous divorce case, in which a well-known
character of the time appeared as the unwilling husband
of three wives, gave occasion to this fable.]