Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable CCV

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Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists
by Roger L'Estrange
Fable CCV: An Impertinernt Dr. and his Patient
3937465Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists — Fable CCV: An Impertinernt Dr. and his PatientRoger L'Estrange

Fab. CCV.

An Impertinernt Dr. and his Patient.

A Physician was told One Morning that a Certain Patient of his was Dead, why then the Lord's Will be Done, says he: We are All Mortal; but if This Man would have forborn Wines, and Us'd Clysters, I'd have Warranted his Life This Bout for God-a-Mercy. Well, says one, but why did you not rather give him This Advice when it might have done him Good, then stand Talking of it to no manner of Purpose Now the Man is Dead?


'Tis to no Purpose to think of Recalling Yesterday; and when the Steed is Stoll'n, of Shutting the Stable Door.


THIS Fable Recommends to us the Doing of Every thing in its Due Season, for either too Soon or too Late signifies Nothing. It is but making Almanacks for the Last Year, to stand Talking what Might have been done; when the Time of Doing it is past. When a Battle is Lost, This or That, we say, might have Prevented it. When a Tumult is Emprov‘d into a Rebellion, and a Government Oyer-turn'd by't, 'tis just to as much purpose to say, This or That might have Sav'd All; As for our Dr. here to say, when his Patient was Dead, that it was for want of going such or such a way to Work. We have abundance of These Wise-Men in the World that are still looking backward without seeing One Inch of the way before them. Not but that the Experience of Things Past, may be very Instructive to us toward the Making of a Right Judgment upon Things to come, but in such a Case as This, it is wholly Vain and Unprofitable to all manner of Intents. 'Tis the Bus’ness of a Substantial and Well-Grounded Wisdom, to be still looking forward from the First Indispositions into the Growth and Progress of the Disease. It Traces the Advance of Dangers step by step, and shews us the Rise and Gradations of the Evil, and gives us Light, either toward the Preventing, or the Suppressing of it. We have in such an Instance as This, the means before us of a True and an Useful Perception of Things, whereas Judgments that are made on the Wrong-side of the Danger, Amount to no more then an Affectation of Skill, without either Credit or Effect. Let Things be done when they May be done, and When, and As they Ought to be done: As for the Doctor's Issing upon the Bus'ness, when his Patient was Dead, it was just to as much purpose as if he had Blown Wind in's Breech.