Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
The Pack-saddle
By Jean de La Fontaine (1621–1695)
(From Tales and Novels, 1764)

A FAMOUS painter, jealous of his wife,
Whose charms he valued more than fame or life,
When going on a journey used his art,
To paint an ASS upon a certain part,
(Umbilical, ’tis said) and like a seal:        5
Impressive token, nothing thence to steal.
  A brother brush, enamoured of the dame,
Now took advantage, and declared his flame:
The ASS effaced, but God knows how ’twas done;
Another soon howe’er he had begun,        10
And finished well, upon the very spot;
In painting, few more praises ever got;
But want of recollection made him place
A saddle, where before he none could trace.
  The husband, when returned, desired to look        15
At what he drew, when leave he lately took.
Yes, see my dear, the wily wife replied,
The ASS is witness, faithful I abide.
Zounds! said the painter, when he got a sight,—
What!—you’d persuade me ev’ry thing is right?        20
I wish the witness you display so well,
And him who saddled it, were both in Hell.

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