Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
Upon a Venerable Rival
By William Cowper
FULL thirty frosts since thou wert young
  Have chill’d the wither’d grove,
Thou wretch! and hast thou lived so long
  Nor yet forgot to love!
Ye Sages! spite of your pretences        5
  To wisdom, you must own
Your folly frequently commences
  When you acknowledge none.
Not that I deem it weak to love,
  Or folly to admire;        10
But, ah! the pangs we lovers prove
  Far other years require.
Unheeded on the youthful brow
  The beams of Phœbus play;
But unsupported Age stoops low        15
  Beneath the sultry ray.
For once, then, if untutor’d youth,
  Youth unapproved by years,
May chance to deviate into truth,
  When your experience errs;        20
For once attempt not to despise
  What I esteem a rule:
Who early loves, though young, is wise,—
  Who old, though gray, a fool.

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