Alphonse Marie Lois de Lamartine

(1790-1869 / France)

The Banker and the Cobbler


There was a cobbler once, who sang all day;
'Twas wonderful to see the man, and then
To hear him quavering away,
Happier than any of the Seven Wise Men!
His neighbor, on the contrary, who rolled
In heaps of gold,
Sung little and slept less; he had a bank;
And if, at times, near dawn, he ever sank
Into a doze, the cobbler, like a lark at
His singing, would not let him sleep a wink!
The banker grieved that heaven did not decree
Sleep to be bought and sold, at market,
Like meat and drink.

He had the singer brought to him; says he:
'Pray, Master Crispin, what's your yearly income?'
'Income!' the jolly cobbler cries, quite gay,
'I do not make my reckoning in that way,
With one day heaped on the other; but I think 'em
All right enough, if so it comes about,
I make both ends meet, when the twelvemonth's out;
The day just brings its daily bread always.'
'Well, what do you make a day?' the rich man says.
'Why, more or less; the worst--(and but for this,
Our gains would not be very much amiss)--
The worst is, we've so many holy days;
These saints' days almost ruin us outright,
Each festival impoverishes its brother;
And then our curate does take such delight
In finding for us some new saint or other.'

The banker laughed at his free, simple way.
'Crispin! I'll make a king of you today;
Look at these hundred crowns; I give you these:
Go, use them as you please!'

The cobbler thought he handled all the ore
That had been dug, a hundred years or more,
For the whole world--he thought he had it all!
Then he went home to his own stall
And there he buried in a hole
His cash--and with it all his mirth of soul.
No more gay songs; he lost his voice in getting
What causes all our pains; sleep left his bed,
And the cares came instead,
Endless alarms, suspicions all-besetting.
By day his eyes glanced both ways, and by night
If any cat but mewed upon her rounds,
That cat was at the cash! At last the wight
Ran to the man whom he had ceased to wake;
'Give me,' he cries, 'my songs and sleep, and take--
Take back these hundred crowns!'

Submitted: Thursday, September 02, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Banker and the Cobbler by Alphonse Marie Lois de Lamartine )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Old-Fashioned Cosmology, douglas scotney
  2. Dreamt Of You 3, Michael McParland
  3. That's When You Do It, douglas scotney
  4. Freedom in Love's Prison, Paul Hartal
  5. Gun Propaganda, Is It Poetry
  6. Silver Spoons, Mikey Bachman
  7. Perjury against the Innocent Punished by.., Dimitri Jagodinski
  8. Marital-Reciprocity, American-Style ......, Bri Edwards
  9. My Beloved Paula, Thomas Undertarn
  10. Much more (Rubliw), Gert Strydom

Poem of the Day

poet Christopher Marlowe

Black is the beauty of the brightest day,
The golden belle of heaven's eternal fire,
That danced with glory on the silver waves,
Now wants the fuel that inflamed his beams:
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  3. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  4. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. If, Rudyard Kipling
  7. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  8. The Lesson, Maya Angelou
  9. The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Invictus, William Ernest Henley

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]