The Coach and the Fly

On a steep, sandy, arduous trail, One from all sides exposed to the Sun, Six sturdy horses pulled a Coach. Women, a Monk, old men—all got off. The team was sweating, snorting, spent. A Fly arrives, and gets near the horses; Claims to be urging them with her buzzing; Stings one, stings the other, and thinks all the while That she drives the contraption; Sits down on the pole, on the Driver’s nose; As soon as the chariot makes its way, And she sees the people walking, She takes all the credit for herself; Comes and goes, dashes about; it’s as if she were A General going to each position To make his men advance, and hasten victory. The Fly, in this mutual need, Complains that she acts alone; and that she must do all the work; That nobody helps the horses out of their predicament. The Monk recites his Breviary; He certainly took his time! a woman sang; This wasn’t really a time for singing! Lady Fly goes on singing to their ears and undertakes a hundred follies. After a lot of effort, the Coach reaches the summit. “Let’s take a break now,” the Fly says. “I’ve done so much that our folk are finally on flat ground. Now, you Gentleman Horses, thank me for my trouble.” Thus, some people, pretending to please, Interfere with things: They pretend to be everywhere indispensable, And, being intrusive, must be expelled.

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