Each one′s his faults, to which he still holds fast,
And neither shame nor fear can cure the man;
′Tis apropos of this (my usual plan),
I give a story, for example, from the past.
A follower of Bacchus hurt his purse,
His health, his mind, and still grew each day worse;
Such people, ere they′ve run one-half their course,
Drain all their fortune for their mad expenses.
One day this fellow, by the wine o′erthrown,
Had in a bottle left his senses;
His shrewd wife shut him all alone
In a dark tomb, till the dull fume
Might from his brains evaporate.
He woke and found the place all gloom,
A shroud upon him cold and damp,
Upon the pall a funeral lamp.
"What′s this?" said he; "my wife′s a widow, then!"
On that the wife, dressed like a Fury, came,
Mask′d, and with voice disguised, into the den,
And brought the wretched sot, in hopes to tame,
Some boiling gruel fit for Lucifer.
The sot no longer doubted he was dead—
A citizen of Pluto′s—could he err?
"And who are you?" unto the ghost he said.
"I′m Satan′s steward," said the wife, "and serve the food
For those within this black and dismal place."
The sot replied, with comical grimace,
Not taking any time to think,
"And don′t you also bring the drink?"