Beside a placid, crystal flood,
A stag admired the branching wood
That high on his forehead stood,
But gave his Maker little thanks
For what he called his spindle shanks.
“What limbs are these for such a head!—
So mean and slim!” with grief he said.
“My glorious heads overtops
The branches of the copse;
My legs are my disgrace.”
As thus he talked, a bloodhound gave him chase.
To save his life he flew
Where forests thickest grew.
His horns,—pernicious ornament!—
Arresting him wherever he went,
Did unavailing render
What else, in such a strife,
Had saved his precious life—
His legs, as fleet as slender.
Obliged to yield, he cursed the gear
Which nature gave him every year.
Too much the beautiful we prize;
The useful, often, we despise:
Yet oft, as happened to the stag,
The former does to ruin drag.


The Stag Seeing Himself In The Water – Jean de La Fontaine Fables – Book 6

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