Wed 23 Nov, 2005 07:39 pm
this is my first post to this section. i'm hoping someone can help me with something that's nagged at me for years - i believe in high school i had read a poem about a feeble old man who was in poor health, then he ripped into i believe chicken and devoured it, nearly bones and all. when asked how he had such a magnificient jaw, he stated he had once argued (a case in court?) against his wife, and she gave his jaw such a workout the vigor has lasted for life!
i seem to remember this was in a textbook that also had a condensed version of the canteburry tales, though my recollection is this was not one of them.
i tried googling to no avail; i thank anyone who is able to help or steer me along.
for what it's worth, i think it was "old" english, circa 19th century (perhaps 18th?) but i'm not sure -- i probably read it 20 years ago -- thanks again for any help!!!!
You Are Old, Father William
"You are old, father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
"In my youth," father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."
"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray what is the reason for that?"
"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment - one shilling a box--
Allow me to sell you a couple?"
"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"
"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."
"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
What made you so awfully clever?"
"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs.
Whew! Whether this is right or not (I bet it is), I am impressed (more so as I have been blindly searching for about 20 minutes)!
Nice job, Noddy!
Thanks for the kind words.
I had it memorized.
thank you so much! i'm not sure if that's it, though it probably is -- wow, sure is different than i remembered from 20 years ago - still, the part about the arguing with the wife cracked me up then...and now! thank you again!!!!!!!
Thanks for the kind words. If you're of childrearing years,
"I have answered three questions" and that is enough,
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs.
If you think I can listen all day to such stuff,
Be off or I'll kick you downstairs."
is a useful sentiment.