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
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.]

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