The Wax Candle (French Folk Tale)

Folk Tales, French Folk Tales3326

From bowers of gods the bees came down to man.

On Mount Hymettus, first, they say,

They made their home, and stored away

The treasures which the zephyrs fan.

When men had robb”d these daughters of the sky,

And left their palaces of nectar dry,:

Or, in English as the thing”s explain”d,

When hives were of their honey drain”d:

The spoilers “gan the wax to handle,

And fashion”d from it many a candle.

Of these, one, seeing clay, made brick by fire,

Remain uninjured by the teeth of time,

Was kindled into great desire

For immortality sublime.

And so this new Empedocles

Upon the blazing pile one sees,

Self-doom”d by purest folly

To fate so melancholy.

The candle lack”d philosophy:

All things are made diverse to be.

To wander from our destined tracks:

There cannot be a vainer wish;

But this Empedocles of wax,

That melted in chafing-dish

Was truly not a greater fool

Than he of whom we read at school.

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