ONE day a shameless and impudent wight
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Went into a shop full of steel wares bright,
Arranged with art upon ev'ry shelf.
He fancied they were all meant for himself;
And so, while the patient owner stood by,
The shining goods needs must handle and try,
And valued,--for how should a fool better know?--
The bad things high, and the good ones low,
And all with an easy self-satisfied face;
Then, having bought nothing, he left the place.
The tradesman now felt sorely vex'd,
So when the fellow went there next,
A lock of steel made quite red hot.
The other cried upon the spot:
"Such wares as these, who'd ever buy?
the steel is tarnish'd shamefully,"--
Then pull'd it, like a fool about,
But soon set up a piteous shout.
"Pray what's the matter?" the shopman spoke;
The other scream'd: "Faith, a very cool joke!"