The Old Man's Complaints. And how he gained them

2    The few locks which are left you are grey;
3You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
4    Now tell me the reason I pray.
5In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
6    I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
7And abused not my health and my vigour at first
8    That I never might need them at last.
9You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
10    And pleasures with youth pass away,
11And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
12    Now tell me the reason I pray.
13In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
14    I remember'd that youth could not last;
15I thought of the future whatever I did,
16    That I never might grieve for the past.
17You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
18    And life must be hastening away;
19You are chearful, and love to converse upon death!
20    Now tell me the reason I pray.
21I am chearful, young man, Father William replied,
22    Let the cause thy attention engage;
23In the days of my youth I remember'd my God!
24    And He hath not forgotten my age.

Notes

1] This poem was later parodied by Lewis Carroll in "You are Old, Father William." Back to Line
Original Text: 
Robert Southey, Metrical Tales and Other Poems (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1805): 168-69. PR 5464 M4 1805 Robarts Library.
Publication Start Year: 
1799
Publication Notes: 
The Morning Post
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.
Rhyme: