Abstemius's Fables (Sir Roger L'Estrange)
305. (Abstemius 55) A Husbandman turn'd Soldier and Merchant.
Oh the endless Misery of the Life I lead! cries the moiling Husbandman, to spend all my Days in Ploughing, Sowing, Digging, and Dunging, and to make nothing on't at last! Why now in a Soldier's Life there's Honour to be got, and one lucky Hit sets up a Man for ever. Faith, I'll e'en put off my Stock, get me a Horse and Arms, and try the Fortune of the War. Away he goes; makes his Push; stands the shock of a Battle, and compounds at last for the leaving of a Leg or an Arm behind him, to go home again. By this time he has had his Bellyful of Knight-Errantry, and a new Freak takes him in the Crown. He might do better, he fancies, in the Way of a Merchant. This Maggot has no sooner set him agog, but he gets him a Ship immediately; Freights her, and so away to Sea upon Adventure: Builds Castles in the Air, and conceits both the Indies in his Coffers, before he gets so much as Clear of the Port. Well! and what's the End of all this at last? He falls into Foul Weather, among Flats and Rocks, where Merchant, Vessel, Goods, and all are lost in one Common Wreck.
A Rambling Levity of Mind is commonly Fatal to us.
Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists: Abstemius's Fables by Sir Roger L'Estrange. Available online at Google Books.