The Purchase Of The Ass

: Literary Fables Of Yriarte

Yesterday through our street

An Ass did pass,

In trappings most complete--

A gorgeous Ass.

Saddle and halter too

Were both bran new;

With tassels yellow

Or red as rose.

Besides the fellow

Wore plumes and bows

Of ribbons bright.

Bells tinkle light

As on he paced;

And many a prank

And rare device,

With carving nice,

The shears had traced

On breast and flank.

His cunning master,--

As I was told,--

A Gypsy jockey,

The creature sold

To a weak blockhead;

And they said

The Donkey Colt

Had cost the dolt

But a mere song.

In haste along

The exulting buyer

Drove home the beast,--

His pride to feast,

While friends admire

His bargain rare.

"Let me inquire,

Neighbor,"--says one,--

"If blood and bone,

Good as his clothes,

Your purchase shows."

Whereon, with care,

The showy gear

And harness line

To strip he goes.

Beneath the saddle--

At first go off--

They find his withers

With warts all rough,

Like musket balls.

Along the spine,

And on his shoulders,

Six dreadful galls

Appal beholders.

Nothing to say

Of two great gashes,

That hidden lay

Under the girt;

And an old hurt,

From cruel lashes,

Clean to the bone,

Into a tumor

Inveterate grown.

In bitter humor,

"Ah, precious gull!"--

The hapless owner said,--

"Donkey more dull

A thousand fold

Than this brute cull,

I have my money paid

For trumpery vile,

Through Gypsy wile."

* * * * *

Now faith, this queer affair

I often note.

Well it applies

To friends of mine,

Who, at great price,

Buy books, that shine

In bindings rich and rare,

But are not worth a groat.