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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Tomás de Iriarte (1750–1791)

The Musical Ass

From “Fables”

THE FABLE which I now present

Occurr’d to me by accident;

And whether bad or excellent,

Is merely so by accident.

A stupid ass one morning went

Into a field by accident

And cropp’d his food and was content,

Until he spied by accident

A flute, which some oblivious gent

Had left behind by accident;

When, sniffing it with eager scent,

He breathed on it by accident,

And made the hollow instrument

Emit a sound by accident.

“Hurrah! hurrah!” exclaimed the brute,

“How cleverly I play the flute!”

A fool, in spite of nature’s bent,

May shine for once—by accident.