Cito Pede …


I really ought to do some work to-night,
I really ought: I fear I’m growing lazy—
Or old maybe. Old! I! Surely Time’s spite
Stops short at Spain? My castles are not crazy,
My dreams are bright—I never had ambitions:
Yet … I bethink me Winnie’s wicked eye
Saw a gray hair to-day: gray hairs have missions …
Well, if it must be so—my Youth, good-bye!

These notes for slashing leaders I should do,
I’ll tether them again in Amy’s garter:
Didn’t she hunt for it! I hunted too—
Said a mouse stole it—vowed the wretch no quarter.
It was a trophy, keepsake, what you will—
Ten, twelve … O Postumus, the count’s awry!—
It serves to keep my papers tidy still …
Yes, I am growing old! my Youth, good-bye!

Here in the drawer naughty Jenny’s hair—
How I remember the fond night I shore it!
Close to the head—no miser’s measure there—
Ah, we would love for ever! and we swore it
Upon that lock—she was the sweetest girl!
Such hair! Like Danaë’s shower from the sky
Tumbling, to set my senses in a whirl
(That’s trite, but true) … O Youth, dear Youth, good-bye!

I often wish I’d cribbed a lock from each,
As Schaunard in La Vie (sigh!) de Bohême:
Sixty he had, each speaking lover’s speech,
Each ticketed with memory and name.
But I was always careless—there, of Jack,
Only that hatpin with the butterfly:
Well, it holds Clara’s photo in the rack—
She’s married now … and so, my Youth, good-bye!

And here is Lucy’s letter—little jade!
I owe her thrice as many pangs as blisses:
“I’ll never leave you!”—ere the ink could fade
She held her mouth up for another’s kisses:
“You are so good, so kind—don’t think I flatter!
I’ll never love but you!” O Lucy, fie!
Not a week after you were … bah! what matter?
‘Twill light my pipe. Good-bye, my Youth, good-bye!

That’s all … no, something rattles—Kitty’s pen!
And, happy thought! the occasion calls for verses:
She had a tender knack of scribbling when
She chose—perchance her pen her rôle rehearses.
Juventa Mea! you should be interred
With all due etiquette—we can but try …
Six stanzas on your tomb! ‘Twould be absurd
To rise again? Good-bye, my Youth, good-bye!

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