When I was one-and-twenty I heard a wise man say, ‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies But keep your fancy free.’ But I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me. When I was one-and-twenty I heard him say again, ‘The heart out of the bosom Was never given in vain; ’Tis paid with sighs a plenty And sold for endless rue.’ And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.
A. E. Housman - 1859-1936
A Shropshire Lad, V
Oh see how thick the goldcup flowers Are lying in field and lane, With dandelions to tell the hours That never are told again. Oh may I squire you round the meads And pick you posies gay? —’Twill do no harm to take my arm. ‘You may, young man, you may.’ Ah, spring was sent for lass and lad, ’Tis now the blood runs gold, And man and maid had best be glad Before the world is old. What flowers to-day may flower to-morrow, But never as good as new. —Suppose I wound my arm right round— ‘Tis true, young man, ’tis true.’ Some lads there are, ’tis shame to say, That only court to thieve, And once they bear the bloom away ’Tis little enough they leave. Then keep your heart for men like me And safe from trustless chaps. My love is true and all for you. ‘Perhaps, young man, perhaps.’ Oh, look in my eyes then, can you doubt? —Why, ’tis a mile from town. How green the grass is all about! We might as well sit down. —Ah, life, what is it but a flower? Why must true lovers sigh? Be kind, have pity, my own, my pretty,— ‘Good-bye, young man, good-bye.’