Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/206

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182
DEATH'S MESSENGERS.

peoples' deaths a memento sufficient to make yon think of your own? Your dim and hollow eyes methinks, the loss of your hearing, and the faltering of the rest of your senses, should mind ye, without more ado, that Death has laid hold of ye already; and is this a time of day, d' ye think, to stand shuffling it off still? Your peremptory hour, I tell ye, is now come, there is no thought of a reprieve in the case of Fate.

[Moral.] "Want of warning is no excuse in the case of Death; for every moment of our lives either is or ought to be a time of preparation for 't."

"De sene Mortem differre volente.

"Senex quidam Mortem, quæ eum è vita ereptura advenerat, rogabat vt paululum differret, dum testamentum conderet, et ctetera ad tantum iter necessaria ppararet. Cui Mors, cur non inquit, hactenus pparasti, toties a me admonitus. Et quum ille earn nunquam a se visam amplius diceret, quum inquit, non æquales tuos modo, quorum nulli ferè iam restant, verum etiam iuuenes, pueros, infantes quotidie rapiebant, non te admonebam mortalitatis tuse? Cum oculos hebescere, auditum minui, cæterosqwue sensus in dies deficere, corpus ingravescere sentiebas, nonne tibi me propinquam esse dicebam? et te admonitum negas. Quare vlterius differendum non est.

"Hæc fabula indicat ita viuendum, quasi mortem semper adesse cernamus."[1]

La Fontaine's fable of "La Mort et le Mourant" (bk. viii. fab. i.) may be compared with the above, together with the following metrical Latin fable, entitled:

"Senex et Mors.

"Annos homo centum qui fere compleverat
Demum advenire Mortem sensit; et, nimis
Properanter illam sic agere secum, querens,
Oravit, ut ne priùs obire cogerit,

Perfecta quàm essent sua quædam negotia:
  1. See also No. 99 in Mythologla Æsopica, by Neveletus (Franc. 1610).