The Old Man's Song

Melody -

Traditional, c. 1685

If I live to grow old, for I find I go down,
Let this be my fate in a country town:
May I have a warm house, with a stone at the gate,
And a cleanly young girl to rub my bald pate;
May I govern my passions with absolute sway,
And grow wiser and better as strength wears away,
Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.

2. In a country town, by a murmuring brook,
With the ocean at distance on which I may look;
With a spacious plain, without hedge or stile,
And an easy pad nag to ride out a mile.

3. With Horace and Plutarch, and one or two more
Of the best wits that lived in the age before;
With a dish of roast mutton, not venison or teal,
And clean, though coarse, linen at every meal.

4. With a pudding on Sunday, and stout humming liquor,
And remnants of Latin to welcome the vicar;
With a hidden reserve of good Burgundy wine,
To drink the king's health in as oft as I dine.

5. When the days are grown short, and it freezes and snows,
May I have a coal fire as high as my nose;
A fire (which once stirred up with a prong),
Will keep the room temperate all the night long.

6. With a 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's gone, and he leaves not behind him his fellow!'

| Song Index | Home Page |