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OF FOOLS WHO DAILY PROLONG THEIR OWN
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
I Feel conviction of my sin,
* The advice of Hamlet to his mother, when he urges her to refrain from any further converse with his uncle, is admirably calculated to impress the mind with the necessity there is for beginning at once a reformation; and that when the first step is taken, every subsequent one becomes less arduous. Nor are the words of the Prodigal Son, in the inimitable parable of our Saviour, less requisite to these fools, when he says, " I will arise and go unto my Father, and will say unto him—Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and against thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy Son."
The sage resolve's forgot, 'mid senseless crowds, Nor heeded more than last year's passing clouds*.
O! now I'll live to read and think,
No more my dress shall cause the stare.
But dress and Bond Street, Tandem t, brazen
Bear sway, and kick the Muses out of doors.
* This reminds me of the story of Balaam, who would not believe, though his ass spoke ! and indeed, to the multitude of fools who yield to this propensity, we may say with Horace,
■ Vivendi recte qui prorogat horam,
Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis.
t A vehicle which neither comes under the head of
Cries age 'tis certain, by the bye,
That all men at some time must die;
How simple not to have reflected!
No more this point shall be neglected *; To-morrow I'll turn o'er a better leaf, The morrow comes, and pleasure proves the thief f
curricle or buggy, being drawn by two horses at length, and not abreast, in order to display the dexterity of gentlemen coachmen. This appellation, which originated at one of the Universities, is perfectly consonant with the -wit of the present race of what are termed students, whether with trencher caps, or fellow commoners' gowns.
* In the prayers of the famous Dr. Johnson is recorded, a curious instance of this foolery; for even that learned man, therein confesses, that he nightly retifed to rest, with the determination of amending his course of life, and rising early in the morning, but, when the morrow came, he as invariably yielded to his old propensities, and continued in bed till mid-day. It would have been well for our Lexicographer, had he called to mind the following Italian proverb, which so well expresses the fruits derived from labour.
Travoglio vinea la palma, e monda la rugine dell' alma.
t The folly considered by the poet in this section,
which may be well termed obduracy in sinning, is far
more excusable in youth fhan in old age, for when
L ENVOY OF THE POET.
Thus evVy fool to pleasure yields controul, And makes himself the veriest abject slave;
For though assur'd such acts disease his soul, He yet delays the cure, till in the grave.
THE POET'S CHORUS TO FOOLS.
Come, trim the boat, row on each Kara Avis, Crowds flock to man my Stultifera Navis.
we view deadened passions, and the grey hairs of experience, still obedient to foolery, and lost to conscience and approaching death, there is certainly no excuse to palliate the dereliction from reason, which frequently involves the fool in dangers from which, not even the grave itself can relieve him, having tainted the soul as well as the body with vice.
Assidua occupatione impedisce la tentatione.
OF NOBLE FOOLS.
Came there a certain Lord, neat, trimly dress'd;
Fresh as a bridegroom ; and his chin, new reap'd,
Show'd like a stubble land at harvest home:
He was perfumed like a milliner;
And, 'twixt his finger and his thumb, he held
A pouncet box, which ever and anon
He gave his nose—
My Lord and Lord Duke,
I needs must rebuke,
For ye, like the rest,
It must be confess'd,
From ye, my grave peers,