Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > French
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. X–XI: French
 
Ballad of Proverbs
By François Villon (1431–1463?)
 
GOATS scrape so long they spoil their bed;
  Pitchers till split to wells are ta’en;
Iron is heated till ’tis red,
  And hammered till it bursts in twain;
  Man’s worth, just how the child we train;        5
Who travel far will disappear;
  Ill bred will ill through life remain;
We call out Christmas till ’tis here.
 
Men jest till power to laugh has fled;
  Who leans on others, hopes in vain;        10
Waste leads to want is truly said;
  One bird in hand beats chance of twain;
  God’s love doth love of Church sustain;
Much giving is to borrowing near;
  The wind shifts till it brings the rain;        15
We call out Christmas till ’tis here.
 
Dogs lick the hands by which they’re fed;
  Songs run till all the tune retain;
Fruit kept too long does mold o’erspread;
  Towns long besieged the foes will gain;        20
  Who wait too long no luck obtain;
With overhaste you get not near;
  By clutching long you overstrain;
We call out Christmas till ’tis here.
 
Envoy
Prince, fools live on till wit they gain;
        25
  Men voyage till they homeward steer;
Those cheated long from rogues refrain;
  We call out Christmas till ’tis here.
 
 
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