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by Charles Stuart Calverley

1 I know not why my soul is rack'd:
2 Why I ne'er smile as was my wont:
3 I only know that, as a fact,
4 I don't.
5 I used to roam o'er glen and glade
6 Buoyant and blithe as other folk:
7 And not unfrequently I made
8 A joke.

9 A minstrel's fire within me burn'd.
10 I'd sing, as one whose heart must break,
11 Lay upon lay: I nearly learn'd
12 To shake.
13 All day I sang; of love, of fame,
14 Of fights our fathers fought of yore,
15 Until the thing almost became
16 A bore.

17 I cannot sing the old songs now!
18 It is not that I deem then low;
19 'Tis that I can't remember how
20 They go.
21 I could not range the hills till high
22 Above me stood the summer moon:
23 And as to dancing, I could fly
24 As soon.

25 The sports, to which with boyish glee
26 I sprang erewhile, attract no more;
27 Although I am but sixty-three
28 Or four.
29 Nay, worse than that, I've seem'd of late
30 To shrink from happy boyhood -- boys
31 Have grown so noisy, and I hate
32 A noise.

33 They fright me, when the beech is green,
34 By swarming up its stem for eggs:
35 They drive their horrid hoops between
36 My legs: --
37 It's idle to repine, I know;
38 I'll tell you what I'll do instead:
39 I'll drink my arrowroot, and go
40 To bed.