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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–1884)

I KNOW not why my soul is racked;

Why I ne’er smile, as was my wont:

I only know that, as a fact,

I don’t.

I used to roam o’er glen and glade,

Buoyant and blithe as other folk,

And not unfrequently I made

A joke.

A minstrel’s fire within me burned;

I’d sing, as one whose heart must break,

Lay upon lay—I nearly learned

To shake.

All day I sang; of love and fame,

Of fights our fathers fought of yore,

Until the thing almost became

A bore.

I cannot sing the old songs now!

It is not that I deem them low;

’Tis that I can’t remember how

They go.

I could not range the hills till high

Above me stood the summer moon:

And as to dancing, I could fly

As soon.

The sports, to which with boyish glee

I sprang erewhile, attract no more:

Although I am but sixty-three

Or four.

Nay, worse than that, I’ve seemed of late

To shrink from happy boyhood—boys

Have grown so noisy, and I hate

A noise.

They fright me when the beech is green,

By swarming up its stem for eggs;

They drive their horrid hoops between

My legs.

It’s idle to repine, I know;

I’ll tell you what I’ll do instead:

I’ll drink my arrowroot, and go

To bed.