Growing Gray

By Austin Dobson

“On a l’age de son caeur.” A. D’Houdetot

A little more toward the light;—
Me miserable! Here’s one that’s white;
And one that’s turning;
Adieu to song and “salad days;”
My Muse, let’s go at once to Jay’s,
And order mourning.

We must reform our rhymes, my Dear,—
Renounce the gay for the severe,—
Be grave, not witty;
We have, no more, the right to find
That Pyrrha’s hair is neatly twined,—
That Chloe’s pretty.

Young Love’s for us a farce that’s played;
Light canzonet and serenade
No more may tempt us;
Gray hairs but ill accord with dreams;
From aught but sour didactic themes
Our years exempt us.

Indeed! you really fancy so?
You think for one white streak we grow
At once satiric?
A fiddlestick! Each hair’s a string
To which our ancient Muse shall sing
A younger lyric.

The heart’s still sound. Shall “cakes and ale”
Grow rare to youth because we rail
At schoolboy dishes?
Perish the thought! ‘Tis ours to chant
When neither Time nor Tide can grant
Belief with wishes.

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