Page:Miser and the prodigal, a moral tale.pdf/5

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Even this was grudg’d, because it fed the swine,
An’ they brought siller !—precious metal!—yes,
His food, drink, claise, his hope, his only bliss.
By this time he was wearin’ up in years,
An’ worn wi’ wark, an’ grief, an’ killin’ cares.
His wife she dee’t, thro’ grief an’ sair distress,
Which event did complete his wretchedness;
For she had urg’d him aft, by counsel guid,
To tak’ an’ gie the lave haith claise an’ food.—
Left till himsel’, on wealth he aye grew keener,
An’ aye the mair he got, he liv’d the meaner—
He tookna’ meat, an’ wadna wash his claise,
But gaed in rags, o’ergane wi’ dirt an’ flaes—
His bed-claise dune, he wadna purchase mac,
But sleepit mony a night ’mang rags an’ strae.
As he turn’d frail, grown up to manhood, Jock
Sune fand he wasna used like ither fo’k:
While ither youths were fed an’ clad at will,
He was ill-meatet, poorer rigget still.
Meanwhile the auld man fail’d—Jock out afiel’
Began to manage, grew a squatterin’ duel’.
Folk saw his spirit, but, at hame ye ken
The auld man didna gi’e him much to spen’—
He steal’d at hame, when he advantage had,
An’ harrow’d sums, an’ rov’d awa’ like mad.
These things, wi’ grief, the auld man heard and saw.
Could not prevent them, had to gie up a’:
Unheal he grew, could tak nae meat, turn’d faint,
Wad tak nae cordials, doe’t wi’ perfect want—[1]
And left his precious gear to ither folk—

It ne’er was his, nor wad it hide wi’ Jock;
  1. Seneca says, “Many things are wanting to the indigent, the raiser wants every thing” Quevedo tells us “that a miser is a man who knows where a treasure is hidden.” It is possible, after all, that a miser, as well as a devotee, may enjoy his privations; but to want fuel in winter, and food when hungry, are evils nevertheless. The miser would doubtless prefer to be well lodged, well clothed, and well fed if it cost him nothing.