Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO JOHN BRADSHAW, ESQ., by CHARLES COTTON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TO JOHN BRADSHAW, ESQ., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Could you and I our lives renew
Last Line: Or the worst sort of men.


COULD you and I our lives renew,
And be both young agen,
Retaining what we ever knew
Of manners, times and men,


We could not frame so loose to live,
But must be useful then,
E'er we could possibly arrive
To the same age agen.


But Youth's devour'd in vanities
Before we are aware,
And so grown old before grown wise,
We good for nothing are:


Or, if by that time knowing grown,
By reading books and men,
For others' service, or our own,
'Tis with the latest then.


Happy's that man, in this estate,
Whose conscience tells him still,
That though for good he comes too late,
He ne'er did any ill.


The satisfaction flowing thence,
All dolours would assuage,
And be sufficient recompense
For all the ills of Age:


But very few (my Friend) I fear,
Whom this ill age has bred,
At need have such a comforter
To make their dying bed.


'Tis then high time we should prepare
In a new world to live,
Since here we breathe but panting air,
Alas! by short reprieve.


Life then begins to be a pain,
Infirmity prevails,
Which, when it but begins to reign,
The bravest courage quails;


But could we, as I said, procure
To live our lives agen,
We should be of the better sure
Or the worst sort of men.

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