Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > British
The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vols. VI–IX: British
By Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–1884)
From “Fly Leaves”

I KNOW not why my soul is rack’d;
Why I ne’er smile as was my wont;
I only know that as a fact,
        I don’t.
I used to roam o’er glen and glade        5
Buoyant and blithe as other folk;
And not unfrequently I made
        A joke.
A minstrel’s fire within me burned.
I’d sing, as one whose heart must break,        10
Lay upon lay; I nearly learned
        To shake.
All day I sang; of love, of fame,
Of fights our fathers fought of yore,
Until the thing almost became        15
        A bore.
I cannot sing the old songs now;
It is not that I deem them low;
’Tis that I can’t remember how
        They go.        20
I could not range the hills till high
Above me stood the summer moon;
And as to dancing, I could fly
        As soon.
The sports to which with boyish glee        25
I sprang erewhile, attract no more;
Although I am but sixty-three
        Or four.
Nay, worse than that, I seem of late
To shrink from happy boyhood. Boys        30
Have grown so noisy, and I hate
        A noise.
They fright me when the beech is green
By swarming up its stem for eggs;
They drive their horrid hoops between        35
        My legs;
It’s idle to repine, I know;
I’ll tell you what I’ll do instead:
I’ll drink my arrow-root, and go
        To bed.        40

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