Tristram’s Coat

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Poor Tristram’s coat at elbows being worn, He made not much ado. At once the sleeves were torn, And out of each he cut a handsome slice, To patch the elbows up. The Coat again looked nice,
Though through each sleeve peeped out a long bare arm
;
Which he accounted little harm,
Yet all his neighbours laughed poor Trist to scorn. But ready Tristram saith : ” A fool I was not born,
I’ll soon put that in order
;
And longer than before shall hang each sleeve’s wide
border.”For Tristram had a mother wit, This time his sleeves were large enough
;
He cut off tails and all that round the waist should sit, And thanked his stars his coat did fit Like a short jacket made of flannel stuff.
And thus I’ve chanced in life such wiseacres to see, Of different degree,
Worst muddling where the most they think them
handy
;
Look, do not such men play in Tristram’s Coat the dandy.
[This alludes to an absurdity common among the landed
proprietors. They used to pledge and repledge their lands,
without paying the interest due, and thus lived for a time
in luxury and ease far beyond their means, with the necessary result of final and hopeless ruin.]