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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
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From a Letter to the King; after being Robbed

By Clément Marot (1496–1544)

I HAD of late a Gascon serving-man:

A monstrous liar, glutton, drunkard, both,

A trickster, thief, and every word an oath,—

The rope almost around his neck, you see,—

But otherwise the best of fellows he.

This very estimable youngster knew

Of certain money given me by you:

A mighty swelling in my purse he spied;

Rose earlier than usual, and hied

To take it deftly, giving no alarm,

And tucked it snugly underneath his arm,—

Money and all, of course,—and it is plain

’Twas not to give it back to me again,

For never have I seen it, to this day.

But still the rascal would not run away

For such a trifling bagatelle as that,

So also took cloak, trousers, cape, and hat,—

In short, of all my clothes the very best,—

And then himself so finely in them dressed

That to behold him, e’en by light of day,

It was his master surely, you would say.

He left my chamber finally, and flew

Straight to the stable, where were horses two;

Left me the worst, and mounted on the best,

His charger spurred, and bolted; for the rest,

You may be sure that nothing he omitted,

Save bidding me good-by, before he quitted.

So—ticklish round the throat, to say the truth,

But looking like St. George—this hopeful youth

Rode off, and left his master sleeping sound,

Who waking, not a blessed penny found.

This master was myself,—the very one,—

And quite dumbfounded to be thus undone;

To find myself without a decent suit,

And vexed enough to lose my horse, to boot.

But for the money you had given me,

The losing it ought no surprise to be;

For, as your gracious Highness understands,

Your money, Sire, is ever changing hands.