Francis Bacon (15611626). Of the Wisdom of the Ancients. 1857.
IT is an elegant fable they relate of Tithonus; that Aurora was in love with him, and desiring to enjoy his company for ever, begged of Jupiter that he might never die; but forgot, with a womans thoughtlessness, to add to her petition that neither might he suffer the infirmities of age. So he was exempted from the condition of dying; but there came upon him a strange and miserable old age, such as he must needs undergo to whom death is denied, while the burden of years continues to grow heavier and heavier; so that Jupiter, pitying such a condition, changed him at last into a grasshopper.
This fable seems to be an ingenious picture and description of Pleasure; which in its beginning, or morning-time, is so agreeable that men are fain to pray that such delights may last and be their own for ever; forgetting that satiety and loathing of the same will come upon them, like old age, before they are aware. So that at last when men have become incapable of the acts of pleasure and yet retain the desire and appetite, they fall to talking and telling stories about the pleasures of their youth, and find their delight in that: as we see in lewd persons, who are always harping upon indecent stories, and in soldiers that are for ever recounting their deeds; like grasshoppers, whose vigour is only in their voice.