The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)/The Two Peasants

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The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps) by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian, translated by John Wolcott Phelps
The Two Peasants

FABLE XXX.
THE TWO PEASANTS.

"Bill!" said Luke one cloudy day,
       In a sad foreboding tone,
"Just look at yonder cloud, I pray!
       How very black 'tis grown!
Such threat'ning clouds as that portend
       Some awful end."
"Why?" answer'd Bill, "why think you so?
'Twill only be a common blow."
"Why!" replied Luke in a great pet;
"It is a hail storm, and I'll bet
'Twill ruin vineyards, barley, wheat,
And ev'ry thing we raise to eat.
Nothing to live on will remain:
Famine will follow, and in train
The pest will come, and we shall fall,
Village, people, crops and all!"
       "The pest seize on your storm!"
Said Bill, getting rather warm;
       "Don't take alarm!
For rest assur'd, the world, my friend,

Fables of Florian36.jpg

THE TWO PEASANTS.

Is not yet coming to an end;
But contray to what you say,
'Twill still move on from day to day.
'Tis not a hail-cloud that you see:
       A simple rain-storm it will be.

       'Twill water ev'ry field
       That's suff'ring now for rain;
       And great will be the yield
       Of ev'ry kind of grain.
       A double crop of hay
       Our labor will repay:
       Wheat, half as much again;
       And grapes will load the plain:
We shall lack nothing, I opine,
But casks enough to hold the wine.
              And hence,
We all shall live in opulence."
       "That's very bright!"
       Said Luke with spite.
"Well! my ideas, say what you will,
Are good as yours," responded Bill.
"Oh then," said Luke, "if that's the case,
Let's wait and see what will take place.
You'd better be not quite so fast:
'Tis he laughs best who laughs the last."
"Then God be prais'd!" was Bill's reply,
"I shall not be the one to cry!"
The two thus heated, and in rage,
A battle were about to wage,
When suddenly a puff of wind,
Bore the portentous cloud away,
Which neither hail'd nor rain'd that day,
       Nor left a trace behind.