Abstemius's Fables (Sir Roger L'Estrange)
350. (Abstemius 99) An Old Man that was willing to put off Death.
There goes a Story that Death call'd upon an Old Man, and bad him come along with him. The Man excus'd himself, that T'other World was a great Journey to take upon so short a Warning, and begg'd a little Time only to make his Will before he dy'd. Why (says Death) you have had Warning enough, one would think. to have made ready before this. In truth, says the Old Man, this is the first Time that I ever saw ye in my whole Life. That's false, says Death; for you have had daily Examples of Mortality before your Eyes, in all People of all Sorts, Ages, and Degrees; and is not the frequent Spectacle of other Peoples Deaths, a Memento sufficient to make you think of your Own? Your Dim and Hollow Eyes, methinks, the Loss of your Hearing, and the Faltering of the Rest of your Senses, should mind ye, without much ado, that Death has laid hold of ye already: And is this a Time of Day, d'ye think to stand shuffling it off still? Your Peremptory Hour, I tell ye, is now come, and there's No Thought of a Reprieve in the Case of Fate.
Want of Warning is no Excuse in the Case of Death: For every Moment of our Lives, either Is, or Ought to be a Time of Preparation for't.
Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists: Abstemius's Fables by Sir Roger L'Estrange. Available online at Google Books.