Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.



By 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,

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,

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,

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;

And I did laugh, sans intermission,

An hour by his dial.—O, noble fool!

A worthy fool! Motley’s the only wear.