There was a Prince of high degree,
As great and good as Prince could be;
Much power and wealth were in his hand,
With Lands and Lordships at command.

One son, a favourite son, he had,
An idle, thoughtless kind of lad;
Whom, spite of all his follies past,
He meant to make his heir at last.

The son escaped to foreign lands,
And broke his gracious Sire's commands;
Far, as he fancied, from his sight,
In each low joy he took delight.

The youth, detesting peace and quiet,
Indulged in vice, expense, and riot;
Of each wild pleasure rashly tasted,
Till health declined, and substance wasted.

The tender Sire, to pity prone,
Promised to pardon what was done;
And, would he certain terms fulfil,
He should receive a kingdom still.

The youth the
little minded,
So much his sottish soul was blinded;
But though he mourn'd no past transgression,
He liked the future rich possession.

He liked the kingdom when obtain'd,
But not the terms on which 'twas gain'd:
He hated pain and self-denial,
Chose the reward, but shunn'd the trial.

He knew his father's power how great,
How glorious too the promised state!
At length resolves no more to roam,
But straight to seek his father's home.

His Sire had sent a friend to say,
He must be cautious on his way;
Told him what road he must pursue,
And always keep his home in view.

The thoughtless youth set out indeed,
But soon he slacken'd in his speed;
For every trifle by the way
Seduced his idle heart astray.

By every casual impulse sway'd,
On every slight pretence he stay'd;
To each, to all, his passions bend,
He quite forgets his journey's end.

For every sport, for every song,
He halted as he pass'd along:
Caught by each idle sight he saw,
He'd loiter e'en to pick a straw.

Whate'er was present seized his soul,
A feast, a show, a brimming bowl;
Contented with this vulgar lot,
His father's house he quite forgot.

Those slight refreshments by the way,
Which were but meant his strength to stay,
So sunk his soul in sloth and sin,
He look'd no farther than his Inn.

His father's friend would oft appear
And sound the
in his ear;
Oft would he rouse him, 'Sluggard, come!
This is thy Inn, and not thy home.'

Displeased he answers, 'Come what will,
Of present bliss I'll take my fill;
In vain you plead, in vain I hear,
Those joys are distant, these are near.'

Thus perish'd, lost to worth and truth,
In sight of home this hapless youth;
While beggars, foreigners, and poor,
Enjoy'd the father's boundless store.


My Fable, Reader, speaks to thee,
In God this bounteous father see;
And in his thoughtless offspring trace,
The sinful, wayward human race.

The friend, the generous father sent,
To rouse, and to reclaim him, meant;
The faithful minister you'll find,
Who calls the wandering, warns the blind.

Reader, awake! this youth you blame -
Are not
doing just the same?
Mindless your comforts are but given
To help you on your way to heaven.

The pleasures which beguile the road,
The flowers with which your path is strew'd;
To these your whole desires you bend,
And quite forget your journey's end.

The meanest toys your soul entice,
A feast, a song, a game at dice;
Charm'd with your present paltry lot,
Eternity is quite forgot.

Then listen to a warning friend,
Who bids you mind your journey's end;
A wandering pilgrim here you roam;
This world's your
, the next your

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