Original Text: 
Charles Stuart Calverley. Fly Leaves (Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, 1890): 29-31. PR 4409 C2F5 1890 Robarts Library.
1I know not why my soul is rack'd:
2    Why I ne'er smile as was my wont:
3I only know that, as a fact,
4        I don't.
5I used to roam o'er glen and glade
6    Buoyant and blithe as other folk:
7And not unfrequently I made
8        A joke.
9A minstrel's fire within me burn'd.
10    I'd sing, as one whose heart must break,
11Lay upon lay: I nearly learn'd
12        To shake.
13All day I sang; of love, of fame,
14    Of fights our fathers fought of yore,
15Until the thing almost became
16        A bore.
17I cannot sing the old songs now!
18    It is not that I deem then low;
19'Tis that I can't remember how
20        They go.
21I could not range the hills till high
22    Above me stood the summer moon:
23And as to dancing, I could fly
24        As soon.
25The sports, to which with boyish glee
26    I sprang erewhile, attract no more;
27Although I am but sixty-three
28        Or four.
29Nay, worse than that, I've seem'd of late
30    To shrink from happy boyhood -- boys
31Have grown so noisy, and I hate
32        A noise.
33They fright me, when the beech is green,
34    By swarming up its stem for eggs:
35They drive their horrid hoops between
36        My legs: --
38    I'll tell you what I'll do instead:
40        To bed.


37] repine: complain. Back to Line
39] arrowroot: nutricious starchy root native to the West Indies and marketed for its health-giving properties. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.