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The Last of May


 By fate's benevolent award,
    Should I survive the day,
  I'll drink a bumper with my lord
    Upon the last of May.

  That I may reach that happy time
    The kindly gods I pray,
  For are not ducks and pease in prime
    Upon the last of May?

  At thirty boards, 'twixt now and then,
    My knife and fork shall play;
  But better wine and better men
    I shall not meet in May.

  And though, good friend, with whom I dine,
    Your honest head is gray,
  And, like this grizzled head of mine,
    Has seen its last of May;

  Yet, with a heart that's ever kind,
    A gentle spirit gay,
  You've spring perennial in your mind,
    And round you make a May!

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.

by this poet

First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black;
Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;
Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;
Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;
Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk;
Then I saw the monkeys—mercy, how unpleasantly they smelt!
  I seem, in the midst of the crowd,
    The lightest of all;
  My laughter rings cheery and loud,
    In banquet and ball.
  My lip hath its smiles and its sneers,
    For all men to see;
  But my soul, and my truth, and my tears,
    Are for thee, are for thee!

  Around me they flatter and fawn—
  Special Jurymen of England! who admire your country's laws,
  And proclaim a British Jury worthy of the realm's applause;
  Gayly compliment each other at the issue of a cause
  Which was tried at Guildford 'sizes, this day week as ever was.

  Unto that august tribunal comes a gentleman in grief,