Have you heard the old saw of the Persians,
That saying both witty and true,
"The whole world is covered with leather
To him who is shod with a shoe"?
Fine calfskin or kid or morocco,
Great cavalry boots armed with steel,
The daintiest, jauntiest slippers,
Coarse brogues tumbled down at the heel--
What matter the differing fashions?--
The richest and poorest of you
Will find the whole world clad in leather
As soon as you put on your shoe!
Before, it was cold and uneven,
Rough pebbles and sharp bits of glass,
Now, presto! a smooth and warm pavement
Wherever it please you to pass.
But ah! there's a maid--have you seen her?--
A little maid cheery and sweet,
Who daintily trips, yet I see not
What leather she wears on her feet;
For I know by her sunny eyes' sparkle,
And by the calm curve of her mouth,
And by the kind grace of her manners,
Like warm breezes fresh from the South,
I know that wherever her foot falls
On loving task speeding or sent—
The cobbler may laugh, but I care not—
She is shod with the shoe of content!
And, little maid, though Cinderella
Might claim your we shoe for her own,
And borrowing's out of the question
For me, with my "sevens" outgrown,
Just whisper the secret, I pray thee;
Come, what are the shop and the street,
And where is the cobbler who fashions
such beautiful gear for the feet?
I'll go and I'll offer a treasure
Will make his big spectacles shine,
If only two shoes--somewhat larger—
Like your little shoes, can be mine!
And then I will don them, and leaping
Off over the world will I go,
Off over my frets and my worries,
Off over my aches and my woe.
And loudly to all limping grumblers
My shoemaker cheer shall be sent;
"The whole world is covered with gladness
To him who is shod with content!"