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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
“A Rich Man Loses his Child, a Poor Man Loses his Cow”
By Jacob Cats (1577–1660)
 
Translation through the German by Edward Irenæus Prime-Stevenson

COME hither, pray, O friends! Let me my sorrow tell you.
Wordless such loss to bear, my heart indeed endures not:
All that the soul downweighs seems to a man less bitter,
If to the friendly ear sorrow can be but uttered.
Dead is my neighbor’s child: dead is my only cow.        5
Comfort has fled from him; fled from me every joying.
So do we sorrow, both, reft of our peace each bosom:
He that his child is dead—I that my cow is taken.
Look you now, friends! how strange ay, and how sad Fate’s dealings!
I well had spared a child—one cow he well had wanted.        10
Turn things about, thou Death! Less evil seem thy doings.
Full is my house—too full: surely is full his cow-house!
Death, take his stalls for prey, or choose from out my seven!
There have you, Death, full room; less to us too the trouble.
Certain the pain’s forgot—ay, and forgotten quickly,        15
When, in the greater herd, one little wolf’s a robber!
What do I murmur thus? Ever is Death one earless.
Lost on him good advice, argument on him wasted.
Onward he moves, this Death, pallid and wholly blindly.
Oftenest he a guest just where his call’s least needed.        20
Ah, who can calm my grief; who, pray, shall still my neighbor’s?
Just as we would not choose, so unto each it happens!—
He who is rich must lose all that means nearest heirship,
I, the poor man, O God! stripped of my one possession!
 
 
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