Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/212

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188
DEATH'S MESSENGERS.

However, you still keep your eyes,
And sure to see one's loves and friends,
For legs and arms would make amends.
Perhaps, says Dobson, so it might,
But, latterly, I've lost my sight.
This is a shocking story, faith.
Yet there's soroe comfort still, says Death;
Each strives your sadness to amuse,
I warrant you have all the news.
There's none, cries he, and if there were,
I've grown so deaf, I could not hear.
Nay, then, the spectre stern rejoined,
These are unjustifiable yearnings;
If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,
You've had your three suffiicient warnings;
So come along, no more we'll part;
He said, and touched him with his dart;
And now old Dobson, turning pale,
Yields to his fate—so ends my tale."

The subject is one that naturally attracts the attention of the preacher and moralist. In Hampole's Pricke of Conscience (1340), ll. 2020, 2024 we have the following allusion to it:

"Bot I rede a man he amende hym here,
Or þe dede (Death) come, or his messangere;

· · · · · ·

His messangere may be called seknes."

In A Dialogue against the Fever Pestilence, by William Bullein (1578), Mors thus addresses Civis:

"You are well ouertaken, I am glad that wee are mette together; I have seen you since you were borne; I have threatened you in all your sicknesse, but you did neuer see me nor remembred me before this daie."—(P. 115., Early English Text Society's Extra Series, No. lii.)

Cf. the following passage from the sermons of J. Gerson, Antwerp, 1706, vol. iii. col. 914:

"Vides signa judicii tui per vniversum corpus tuum et animam tuam: caput tuum floret et fit canum lumen oculorum debilitatur memoria defecit, ingenium induratur."

A modern divine, addressing his youthful hearers, says: "The first