A stag observed his image in a pool,
And thought, “How beautiful my horns! how grand!
But those thin, sticklike legs on which I stand —
They make me look a fool!”
Just as he spoke, he heard some baying hounds;
And swiftly, on his hated legs, he fled;
And balked his foes, and spurted far ahead
With mighty leaps and bounds.
But in his haste, he did not fully clear
Some oak-limbs, and his horns were tightly stuck.
Then, as he writhed and snorted at his luck
The hounds drew near, drew near.
Thus he could see that friends whom we despise
May come, like angels, to our timely aid,
While we, who blindly rush, may be betrayed
By things that most we prize.
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