A fool, a fool! I met a fool i’ th’ 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 a’ clock.
Thus we may see,” quoth he, “how the world wags.
’Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more ’twill 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.