Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE OLD MAN'S WISH, by WALTER POPE



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE OLD MAN'S WISH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If I live to grow old (for I find I go down)
Last Line: Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.'
Subject(s): Country Life; Old Age


If I live to grow old (for I find I go down),
Let this be my fate in a Country Town;
Let me have a warm House, with a Stone at the Gate,
And a cleanly young Girl to rub my bald Pate:
May I govern my passion with an absolute sway,
And grow wiser and better, as my strength wears away,
Without Gout or Stone, by a gentle Decay.

In a Country Town, by a murmuring Brook,
The Ocean at distance, on which I may look;
With a spacious Plain, without Hedge or Stile,
And an easy Pad-nagg to ride out a Mile:
May I govern etc.

With a pudding on Sunday, and stout humming Liquor,
And Remnants of Latine to puzzle the Vicar;
With a hidden reserve of Burgundy-wine,
To drink the King's Health as oft as I dine:
May I govern etc.

With Plutarch, and Horace, and one or two more
Of the best Wits that liv'd in the ages before;
With a dish of Roast Mutton, not Venison nor Teal,
And clean (tho' coarse) Linnen at every meal;
May I govern etc.

And if I should have Guests, I must add to my Wish,
On Frydays a Mess of good buttered fish;
For full well I do know, and the truth I reveal,
I had better do so, than come short of a Meal:
May I govern etc.

With Breeches and Jerkin of good Country Gray,
And live without Working, now my strength doth decay:
With a hog's-head of Sherry, for to drink when I please,
With Friends to be merry, and to live at my ease;
May I govern etc.

Without Molestation may I spend my last Days,
In sweet Recreation, and sound forth the Praise
Of all those that are true to the King and his Laws,
Since it be their due, they shall have my Applause:
May I govern etc.

With a country Scribe for to write my last Will,
But not of the tribe that in chousing have skill:
For my easie Pad-nagg I'll bequeath to Don John,
For he's an arch wag, and a jolly old man:
May I govern etc.

With Courage undaunted may I face my last Day;
And when I am dead, may the better sort say,
In the Morning when sober, in the Evening when mellow,
He is gone, and has left not behind him his Fellow:
For he govern'd his passion with an absolute sway,
And grew wiser and better as his strength wore away,
Without Gout or Stone, by a gentle Decay.





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