A Hundred Fables of La Fontaine
The Old Woman and Her Servants.
A beldam kept two spinning maids, Who plied so handily their trades, Those spinning sisters down below Were bunglers when compared with these. No care did this old woman know But giving tasks as she might please. No sooner did the god of day His glorious locks enkindle, Than both the wheels began to play, And from each whirling spindle Forth danced the thread right merrily, And back was coil'd unceasingly. Soon as the dawn, I say, its tresses show'd, A graceless cock most punctual crow'd. The beldam roused, more graceless yet, In greasy petticoat bedight, Struck up her farthing light, And then forthwith the bed beset, Where deeply, blessedly did snore Those two maid-servants tired and poor. One oped an eye, an arm one stretch'd, And both their breath most sadly fetch'd, This threat concealing in the sigh-- "That cursed cock shall surely die!" And so he did:--they cut his throat, And put to sleep his rousing note. A