Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Age of Wisdom

  Ho, pretty page, with the dimpled chin,
    That never has known the Barber's shear,
  All your wish is woman to win,
  This is the way that boys begin,—
    Wait till you come to Forty Year.

  Curly gold locks cover foolish brains,
    Billing and cooing is all your cheer;
  Sighing and singing of midnight strains,
  Under Bonnybell's window panes,—
    Wait till you come to Forty Year.

  Forty times over let Michaelmas pass,
    Grizzling hair the brain doth clear—
  Then you know a boy is an ass,
  Then you know the worth of a lass,
    Once you have come to Forty Year.

  Pledge me round, I bid ye declare,
    All good fellows whose beards are gray,
  Did not the fairest of the fair
  Common grow and wearisome ere
    Ever a month was passed away?

  The reddest lips that ever have kissed,
    The brightest eyes that ever have shone,
  May pray and whisper, and we not list,
  Or look away, and never be missed,
    Ere yet ever a month is gone.

  Gillian's dead, God rest her bier,
    How I loved her twenty years syne!
  Marian's married, but I sit here
  Alone and merry at Forty Year,
    Dipping my nose in the Gascon wine.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem


From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).

 

Author


William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

Date Published: 2018-07-11

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/age-wisdom