Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

A FOOL, a fool!—I met a fool i’ the forest,
A motley fool; a miserable world!
As I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down and bask’d him in the sun,
And rail’d on lady Fortune in good terms,        5
In good set terms,—and yet a motley fool.
“Good morrow, fool,” quoth I: “No, sir,” quoth he,
“Call me not fool, till heaven hath sent me fortune.”
And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye,        10
Says very wisely, “It is ten o’clock:
Thus may we see,” quoth he, “how the world wags:
’T is but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after an hour more ’t will be eleven:
And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,        15
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.” When I did hear
The motley fool thus moral on the time,
My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
That fools should be so deep-contemplative;        20
And I did laugh, sans intermission,
An hour by his dial.—O, noble fool!
A worthy fool! Motley’s the only wear.

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