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From The World’s Wit and Humor, Volume X, French — Rutebœuf to Balzac; The Review of Reviews Company; New York; 1906; pp. 173-174.


Alexis Piron [1689-1773]

Three Epitaphs on Himself


HERE my journey’s end I find,
     Rugged, hard, and void of rule;
Clear I saw, and yet was blind,
     I was wise, and yet a fool.
Slowly to the hole I’ve got
     Which nor fool nor sage can fly,
To travel — whither I know not.
     So good luck, Piron, and good-by!


WAYFARING friend, who fain wouldst know from me
What erst I was. I nothing chose to be;
My life a blank. Sure, I was well discerning;
     For he shows monstrous folly after all,
Who, sprung from naught, and soon to naught returning,
     Longs to be something in the interval.


HIS unregarded grave here Piron has,
Who naught, not e’en Academician, was.


Lines on the French Academy

THE fact is, in France they’ve an excellent plan
     The authors who pen pond’rous writings to cure.
And “Academy” welcomes the tedious man,
     And there he does nothing but doze fast and sure:
For to genius the sleep of that place is as dead
As to love is the sleep of the conjugal bed.


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