The Sportsman

Kriloff’s Original Fables
How often are not things put off with : Time to-morrow. But ’tis a way qf speaking, when,
By common sense unguided, men
From laziness their motives borrow. And so, whate’er thou hast to do, at once get through it, Or else complain of self, not chance, if thou shouldst rue it, When taken afterwards quite unprepared.
See, how the hero of my fable fared !
A Sportsman took his gun, his cartridge box, and bag,
And, with a tried and well-trained dog, Into the woods for game did jog
;
But no one could persuade the wag
His gun before he left to load. ” What rubbish ! ” cries he, ” well I know the road,
And not a sparrow crosses it I’ve not Seen born ; an hour’s walk will reach the spot
;
To load my gun the time a hundred times I’ve got.”
Well, how was it ? Scarcely the house he’d quitted,
When (as if Fortune him on purpose twitted)
Upon the lake A flight of ducks was seen at large,
And that so near, he ought to take A good half-dozen at the first discharge ; Which done,
He for a week delicious food had won :
It wanted only, what he’d not, a loaded gun.
He loads at once ; but at that sight
Ducks soon take fright
:
While he his gun rams down in haste,
They cry, they wildly flap about,
And rise in one long line above the trees drawn out
;
They’re gone ; and he his shot in air may waste. Long after this in vain our Sportsman drags
His weary way, not e’en a sparrow bags
;
One trouble leads unto another
:
And so ’twas with our sporting brother,
For home he came Wet to the skin,
And not a rap his game bag in
;
But still it was his luck, not he, that was to blame.
[There is a Russian proverb with which this fable agrees, ” Don’t put off to to-morrow, what may be done to-day.”]

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