This single stick now is ingloriously lying in that neglected corner.
Once it was in a forest, full of sap, leaves and boughs1
; now in vain someone has tried to compete with nature by tying that withered2
bundle of twigs3
to its trunk. It is now the reverse of what it was: a tree turned upside down, the branches on the earth, and the root in the air. It is now handled by a maid, and makes other things clean but itself dirty. In the end, worn out in the service of the maids, it is either thrown out, or used as firewood.
When I saw it I sighed, and said within myself: surely man is a broomstick. Nature sends him into the world strong and lusty. He wears his own hair, just like a tree with flourishing leaves and branches. Later, the axe5
cuts off his green branches and leaves him a withered trunk, and he puts on a wig4
and covers himself with powder. This broomstick is proud of all the branches added to him; yet they are covered with dust. Though the dust is from the finest lady's chamber7
, we ridicule8
it, and despise its vanity. We are partial judges, that is, partial to our own excellencies and other men's faults.