The Rope-dancer

: Literary Fables Of Yriarte

As an unpractised urchin lessons took

In dancing, of a veteran of the ring,

On slack or tight rope,--it is all one thing,--

The youngster said,--"Good master, prithee, look;

How this great staff bothers and wearies me,

Which you call balance-pole or counterpoise!

In rope-dancing, what use one can devise

For such a clumsy load, I cannot see.

Why should you wish my motions so to fetter?

I lack not strength, nor yet activity.

For instance, now--this step and posture--see

If I, without the pole, can't do it better.

Look, master, there's not one whit of trouble in it."

As he says this, he throws the pole away--

"What's coming now? What are you doing, pray?"

He's flat upon his back in half a minute!

"At your best friend you grumble--silly wretch,"--

The master said,--"and if you choose to scout

The aid of art and method,--you'll find out

This is not the last tumble you will catch."