The Universal Apparition

Moral: No Moral. Suggest us a moral of this fable in comment section.
A rake who had, by pleasure stuffing,
Raked mind and body down to nothing,
In wretched vacancy reclined,
Enfeebled both in frame and mind.
As pain and languor chose to bore him,
A ghastly phantom rose before him:
“My name is Care. Nor wealth nor power
Can give the heart a cheerful hour
Devoid of health—impressed by care.
From pleasures fraught with pains, forbear.”
The phantom fled. The rake abstained,
And part of fleeing health retained.
Then, to reform, he took a wife,
Resolved to live a sober life.
Again the phantom stood before him,
With jealousies and fears to bore him.
Her smiles to others he resents,
Looks to the charges and the rents,
Increasing debts, perplexing duns,
And nothing for the younger sons.
He turned his thoughts to lucre’s thirst,
And stored until his garners burst:
The spectre haunted him the more.
Then poverty besieged his door:
He feared the burglar and the thief;
Nor light nor darkness brought relief.
Therefore he turned his thoughts to power,
To guard him in the midnight hour.
That he achieved—and then the sprite
Beleagued him morning, noon, and night.
He had no placid hour for rest;
Envy and hate his soul depressed,
And rivalry, and foe for friend,
And footfalls which his steps attend.
Therefore he sought a rustic bower—
Groves, fields, and fruit−trees, filled each hour;
But droughts and rains, and blighting dews,
On foot, on horseback, Care pursues.
He faced the phantom, and addressed:
“Since you must ever be my guest,
Let me, as host, perform my due;
Go you the first, I’ll follow you.”

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