The Old Man's Wish

Original Text: 
The Theater of Music (London: H. Playford for Henry Playford and R. C[arr]., 1685). Wing 2438. Also A Choice Collection of 180 Loyal Songs (1685).
2Let this be my fate: In a country town
3May I have a warm house, with a stone at the gate,
4And a cleanly young girl to rub my bald pate.
5    May I govern my passion with an absolute sway,
6    And grow wiser and better as my strength wears away,
7    Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.
8  Near a shady grove, and a murmuring brook,
9With the ocean at distance, whereupon I may look,
10With a spacious plain without hedge or stile,
12    May I govern my passion with an absolute sway,
13    And grow wiser and better as my strength wears away,
14    Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.
15  With Horace and Petrarch, and two or three more
16Of the best wits that reign'd in the ages before,
17With roast mutton, rather than ven'son or veal,
19    May I govern my passion with an absolute sway,
20    And grow wiser and better as my strength wears away,
21    Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.
22  With a pudding on Sundays, with stout humming liquor,
23And remnants of Latin to welcome the vicar,
24With Monte-Fiascone or Burgundy wine,
25To drink the King's health as oft as I dine.
26    May I govern my passion with an absolute sway,
27    And grow wiser and better as my strength wears away,
28    Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.
29  With a courage undaunted may I face my last day,
30And when I am dead may the better sort say,
31In the morning when sober, in the evening when mellow,
32He's gone, and left not behind him his fellow.
33    May I govern my passion with an absolute sway,
34    And grow wiser and better as my strength wears away,
35    Without gout or stone, by a gentle decay.

Notes

1] By 1697 this poem had expanded to twenty stanzas. Back to Line
11] pad-nag: horse with a soft stuffed saddle without a tree. Back to Line
18] Monte-Fiascone: a wine from central Italy. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1685
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.514; RPO 1996-2000.
Rhyme: