There was a time when the hair of man was black, he held the view he’d rule the roost forever; “Not so,” said Mother Nature. “As the giver, you may endeavour, but without my succour, where then is man’s strength to deliver?” Sages of yore have long forewarned in their sayings, those who through vanity dare to fight “the feeling that will never come back anymore – the feeling that I could last forever … the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort. The glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires – and expires, too soon, too soon – before life itself”.
The cautionary maxim, “Women and wine undo men laughing”, when combined with the saying “An open door may tempt a saint”, is quite opposite. To some, many may say, fools, there is nothing more enticing and entrancing than an open door, and many are they that enter therein. The older, the better – or perhaps, worse – for as another saying goes, “There is no fool like an old fool.”
At that stage, there must be a way to sympathetically save such a fool from being the object of derision among his peer group and youngsters alike, or of convincing him that satisfying his feeble desires from his foolishness is but a waste of precious time and resources. There probably is, but “to answer a fool not according to his folly” may result only in disdainful dismissal for, “though thou shouldst bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him”.
What better counsel can anyone offer in such circumstances than, “Be on your guard!” “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red; at the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” But, will that advice be heeded? Hardly. “Advice is seldom welcome, and those who want it the most always like it the least.” It may very well fall on deaf ears, so to speak. “He that will not be counselled cannot be helped”, particularly if the recipient has already aligned himself with Walter Pope’s “Old Man’s Wish”:
“Let this be my fate:
“May I have a warm house with a stone at the gate, “And a cleanly young girl to rub my bald pate, “May I govern my passion with an absolute sway, “And grow wiser and better as my strength wears away, “Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.”
Truly, “Wise men learn from other men’s mistakes, fools, by their own”, for as much as “a fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees” and “a wilful man must have his way”, it is useless for others to worry over his folly.
Better it would be if he is allowed to follow his desires until the time comes when he is convinced through experience that, “Who so diggeth the pit shall fall therein.”