Plutus, Cupid, and Time

Moral: No Moral. Suggest us a moral of this fable in comment section.
Of all the burthens mortals bear
Time is most galling and severe;
Beneath his grievous load oppressed
We daily meet a man distressed:
“I’ve breakfasted, and what to do
I do not know; we dine at two.”
He takes a pamphlet or the papers,
But neither can dispel his vapours;
He raps his snuff−box, hums an air,
He lolls, or changes now his chair,
He sips his tea, or bites his nails,
Then finds a chum, and then bewails
Unto his sympathising ear
The burthen they have both to bear.
“I wish all hours were post meridiem,”
Said Tom; “so that I were well rid of ‘m.
Why won’t men play piquet and ombre
Before the evening hour grows sombre?
The women do it,—play quadrille
Morning and evening when they will.
They cast away the spleen and vapours
By daylight as by midnight tapers.”
“My case is different,” said Will;
“I have the means, but lack the skill:
I am a courtier, in attendance,
And sleep the time out in dependence.
I should have been until the dark,
But for this rain now, in the park,
And then at court, till coming night
Puts court and all my cares to flight.
Then comes my dinner: then away
From wine unto the stupid play
Till ten o’clock; and then assemblies.
And so my time, which you contemn, flies.
I like to ramble midst the fair,
And nothing I find vexes there,—
Save that time flies: and then the club
Gives men their supper and their rub.
And there we all enjoy ourselves,
Till slumber lays us on her shelves.”
My worthy friends, Time which devours,
Eats up the demons—passing hours:
Were you to books or business bred,
Too fleetly, then, would they be sped;
For time is fugitive as air.
Now lay aside your spleen or care,
And listen unto me and fable—
That is to say, if you are able.
Plutus, one morn, met Master Cupid;
They stood a moment, as though stupid,
Until they recognised each other.
They complimented with some pother,
When Time overtook them in his walk,
And then all three fell into talk
Of what each one had done for man.
And Plutus, purse−proud, he began:
“Let kings or cobblers, for that matter,
Tell of the gifts which we bespatter;
Deem ye, that loyalty encumbers
The congregated courtly numbers?
Be undeceived: the strongest hold
Man has on fellow−man is gold!
Knaves have led senates, swayed debates,
Enriched themselves, and beggared states
Flatter yourselves no more: ’tis riches—
The depth of pocket of the breeches
That rules the roast. Unhappy wight
Is the poor soul with pocket light;
His solitary day descends,
Quite unencumbered by his friends.”
“Of human hearts, and of their yearnings,”
Said Cupid, “I have some discernings;
And own the power of gold. Its power,
Added to beauty as its dower,
Has oftentimes—there’s no disputing—
Added a charm, was passed confuting.
Ay—marriage, as has been professed,
Is but a money−job at best;
But not so hearts, and not so love,—
They are the power of gold above.
Those who have true love known and tried,
Have every pettier want defied;
They nestle, and, beneath the storm,
In their own love lie snug and warm.
They every selfish feeling smother,
And one lives only for the other.”
Then Time, who pulled his forelock, said:
“To love and money man is wed,
And very apt are both to flout me;
And, if they could, would do without me.
Fools! I supply the vital space
In which they move, and run their race;
Without me they would be a dream.
Behold the miser! does he deem
Those hoards are his? So long—no more—
Than I am with him, is the store.
Soon from him as I pass away,
His heir will lavish them with play.
To arts and learning, matins’ chime,
Vespers and midnight, seizing time,
I never know an idle hour
Love not more fugitive in bower.
But I have heard coquettes complain
That they have let the seasons wane,
Nor caught me in my flight; and sorrowed
To see the springtide was but borrowed—
Not permanent—and so had wasted
The tide of joy they never tasted.
But myriads have their time employed,
And myriads have their time enjoyed.
Why then are mortals heedless grown,
Nor care to make each hour their own?
They should beware how we may sever,
At unawares, once and for ever!”
Cupid and Plutus understood
Old Time was man’s supremest good:
To him they yielded, and confessed
Time is of godlike blessings—best.

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