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About this Poem 

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).

 

The Age of Wisdom

  Ho, pretty page, with the dimpled chin,
    That never has known the Barber's shear,
  All your wish is woman to win,
  This is the way that boys begin,—
    Wait till you come to Forty Year.

  Curly gold locks cover foolish brains,
    Billing and cooing is all your cheer;
  Sighing and singing of midnight strains,
  Under Bonnybell's window panes,—
    Wait till you come to Forty Year.

  Forty times over let Michaelmas pass,
    Grizzling hair the brain doth clear—
  Then you know a boy is an ass,
  Then you know the worth of a lass,
    Once you have come to Forty Year.

  Pledge me round, I bid ye declare,
    All good fellows whose beards are gray,
  Did not the fairest of the fair
  Common grow and wearisome ere
    Ever a month was passed away?

  The reddest lips that ever have kissed,
    The brightest eyes that ever have shone,
  May pray and whisper, and we not list,
  Or look away, and never be missed,
    Ere yet ever a month is gone.

  Gillian's dead, God rest her bier,
    How I loved her twenty years syne!
  Marian's married, but I sit here
  Alone and merry at Forty Year,
    Dipping my nose in the Gascon wine.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

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There was a king of Yvetot, Of whom renown hath little said, Who let all thoughts of glory go, And dawdled half his days a-bed; And every night, as night came round, By Jenny, with a nightcap crowned, Slept very sound: Sing ho, ho, ho! and he, he, he! That's the kind of king
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  LA MOTTE FOUQUÉ.

 "Und Du gingst einst, die Myrt' im Haare."

  And thou wert once a maiden fair,
    A blushing virgin warm and young:
  With myrtles wreathed in golden hair,
  And glossy brow that knew no care—
    Upon a bridegroom's arm you hung.

  The golden locks are silvered now,
    The blushing
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  Ye pathrons of janius, Minerva and Vanius,
    Who sit on Parnassus, that mountain of snow,
  Descind from your station and make observation
    Of the Prince's pavilion in sweet Pimlico.

  This garden, by jakurs, is forty poor acres,
    (The garner he tould me, and sure ought to know;)
  And yet greatly