The Old Man’s Comforts And How He Gained Them

By Robert Southey


You are old, Father William the young man cried,
The few locks which are left you are grey;
You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason, I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember’d that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigour at first,
That I never might need them at last.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And pleasures with youth pass away;
And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason, I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember’d that youth could not last;
I thought of the future, whatever I did,
That I never might grieve for the past.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And life must be hastening away;
You are cheerful, and love to converse upon death,
Now tell me the reason, I pray.

I am cheerful, young man, Father William replied,
Let the cause thy attention engage;
In the days of my youth I remember’d my God!
And He hath not forgotten my age.
Westbury, 1799

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If you liked this, check out some of these other great classic poems!

Poetry Classics: Meeting At Night, By Robert Browning

Poetry Classics: The Old Flame, By Robert Lowell

Poetry Classics: The Darkling Thrush, By Thomas Hardy

 

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