There's no To-morrow. A Fable. From L'Estrange. "Two long had lov'd and now the Nymph desir'd," MS Folger, p. 284. See Annotated Chronology No. 149. See also an Annotated List matching each of Finch's fables with its sources; and an Annotated Bibliography: Primary and Secondary Sources for all Finch's translations (paraphrases), imitations and adaptations.
"There's No To Morrow," from Sir Roger L'Estrange, Fables of Aesop, and Other Eminent Mythologists with Morals and Reflections, London, 1692, Pt 1, No. 495, pp. 468-469.
A Fellow had got a Wench in a Corner; and very Earnest they were upon the Text of Encrease and Multiply; but the Gipsy stood upon her Points forsooth; She'd not be Towz'd and Tumbled at that Rate, i'faith not She. In fine, No Peny, No Pater-Noster; and there was no Good to be done unless he would Marry her. The Poor Devil was under a kind of Duresse; and for brevity sake, promis'd her with a Bloody Oath, that he would Marry her to Morrow. Upon this Assurance, they Sign'd and Seal'd. The next Day they met again, and the Next to that; and so Every Next Day, for a matter of a Fortnight after; and the Love went on to the Tune of To Morrow, and To Morrow still. But the Girl finding her Self Fool'd, and put off thus from one to Morrow to Another, fell in the Conclusion to Expostulating with him upon the Matter. Did not you Swear, Yesterday, says she, and Yesterday, and I know not how many Yesterdays, that you'd Marry me to Morrow? Yes my Dear, says the Spark, I did Swear so; and I do now Swear it all over again too, and thou shalt find me as good as my Word. Ay, but hark ye, says the Lass, is not to Day to Morrow? No my Heart, says the Gallant again, that's thy Mistake; for there are No to Morrows; People are apt to Talk of 'em indeed, but they never come, for Life it self is but the Time Present.
THE MORAL. The sparks Case here in the Fable of to Morrow and to Morrow, is Every Man's, and Every Days Case in the World; and we do the very same Thing with God Almighty, that this Blade does with his Mistress, we Promise, and Put-off and Peform Nothing.
WHOEVER Reads and Considers this Emblem, will find it to be his own Case; we promise, and we put-off, and we sin, and we go on Sinning; but still as our Conscience Checks us for't, we take up Faint Purposes, and Half Resolutions to do no more . . . [he retells the above story, finds analogies in the sluggard, the libertine, the miser and concludes] Now if Men would but Consider the Vanity and Vexation of a Lewd Course of Life . . . [etcetera] People would not venture Body and Soul upon the necessity of a Procastinated Repentence and Postpone the most uncertain Duties of a Man and of a Christian.
Finch has taken a coarse joke which is solemnly expostulated upon as if it were a deep grave truth in the most absurd and strained manner -- so as to justify the hard laughter. She concentrates on the actual story and turns into into a deft feminist emblem.