The Ant by Samuel Johnson

Turn on the prudent Ant thy heedless eyes,
     Observe her labors, Sluggard, and be wise;
No stern command, no monitory voice,
     Prescribes her duties, or directs her choice;
Yet timely provident she hastes away,
     To snatch the blessings of a plenteous day;
When fruitful Summer loads the teeming plain,
     She crops the harvest and she stores the grain.
 
How long, shall sloth usurp thy useless hours,
     Unnerve thy vigor, and enchain thy powers?
While artful shades thy downy couch enclose,
     And soft solicitation courts repose,
Amidst the drowsy charms of dull delight,
     Year chases year with unremitted flight,
Till want now following, fraudulent and slow,
     Shall spring to seize thee, like an ambushed foe.


Samuel Johnson 1709–1784

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