Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WHEN UNCLE DOC WAS YOUNG, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

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WHEN UNCLE DOC WAS YOUNG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Though doctor glen - the best of
Last Line: When uncle doc was young.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Children; Old Age; Physicians; Childhood; Doctors

THOUGH Doctor Glen -- the best of men --
Is wrinkled, old, and gray,
He'll always smile and stop a while
Where little children play:
And often then he tells us, when
He was a youngster, too,
He was as glad and bad a lad
As old folks ever knew!

As he walks down, no boy in town
But sees him half a block,
And stops to shout a welcome out
With "Here comes Uncle Doc!"
Then all the rest, they look their best
As he lines up among
Us boys of ten -- each thinking then
When Uncle Doc was young.

We run to him! -- Though grave and grim,
With voice pitched high and thin,
He still reveals the joy he feels
In all that he has been:
With heart too true, and honest, too,
To ever hide a truth,
He frankly owns, in laughing tones,
He was "a sorry youth!" --

When he was young, he says, he sung
And howled his level-best;
He says he guyed, and sneaked, and lied,
And wrecked the robin's nest. --
All this, and worse, will he rehearse,
Then smooth his snowy locks
And look the saint he says he ain't. . . .
Them eyes of Uncle Doc's!

He says, when he -- like you and me --
Was just too low and mean
To slap asleep, he used to weep
To find his face was clean:
His hair, he said, was just too red
To tell with mortal tongue --
"The Burning Shame" was his nickname
When Uncle Doc was young.

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