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- THE Jester shook his hood and bells, and leaped upon a chair,
- The pages laughed, the women screamed, and tossed their scented hair;
- The falcons whistleled, staghounds bayed, the lapdog barked without,
- The scullion dropped the pitcher brown, the cook railed at the lout!
- The steward, counting out his gold, let pouch and money fall,
- And why? because the jester rose to say grace in the hall!
- The page played with the heron's plume, the steward with his chin,
- The butler drummed upon the board, and laughed with might and main;
- The grooms beat on their metal cans, and roared till they were red,
- But still the Jester shut his eyes and rolled his witty head;
- And when they grew a little still, read half a yard of text,
- And, waving hand, struck on the desk, then frowned like one perplexed.
- "Dear sinners all," the fool began, "man's life is but a jest,
- A dream, a shadow, bubble, air, a vapor at the best,
- In a thousand pounds of law I find not a single ounce of love;
- A blind man killed the parson's cow in shooting at the dove;
- The fool that eats till he is sick must fast till he is welll;
- The wooer who can flatter most will bear away the belle.
- "Let no man haloo he is safe till he is through the wood;
- He who will not when he may, must tarry when he should.
- He who laughs at crooked men should need walk very straight;
- O, he who once has won a name may lie abed till eight!
- Make haste to purchase house and land, be very slow to wed;
- True coral needs no painter's brush, nor need be daubed with red.
- "The friar, preaching, cursed the thief (the pudding in his sleeve).
- To fish for sprats with golden hooks is foolish by your leave,--
- To travel well,--an ass's ears, ape's face, hog's mouth and ostrich legs.
- He does not care a pin for theives who limps about and begs.
- Be always first man at a feast and last man at a fray;
- The short way round, in spite of all, is still the longest way.
- When the hungry curate licks the knife there's not much for the clerk;
- When the pilot, turning pale and sick, looks up--the storm grows dark."
- The loud they laughed, the fat cook's tears ran down into the pan:
- The steward shook, and he was forced to drop the brimming can;
- And then again the women screamed, and every staghound bayed,--
- And why? because the motley fool so wise a sermon made.
- George Walter Thornbury
Poets' Corner .
H O M E .