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Poem by Charles Lamb


A Ballad


In a costly palace Youth goes clad in gold;
In a wretched workhouse Age's limbs are cold:
There they sit, the old men by a shivering fire,
Still close and closer cowering, warmth is their desire.

In a costly palace, when the brave gallants dine,
They have store of good venison, with old canary wine,
With singing and music to heighten the cheer;
Coarse bits, with grudging, are the pauper's best fare.

In a costly palace Youth is still carest
By a train of attendants which laugh at my young Lord's jest;
In a wretched workhouse the contrary prevails:
Does Age begin to prattle?Чno man heark'neth to his tales.

In a costly palace if the child with a pin
Do but chance to prick a finger, straight the doctor is called in;
In a wretched workhouse men are left to perish
For want of proper cordials, which their old age might cherish.

In a costly palace Youth enjoys his lust;
In a wretched workhouse Age, in corners thrust,
Think upon the former days, when he was well to do,
Had children to stand by him, both friends and kinsmen too.

In a costly palace Youth his temples hides
With a new devised peruke that reaches to his sides;
In a wretched workhouse Age's crown is bare,
With a few thin locks just to fence out the cold air.

In peace, as in war, 'tis our young gallants' pride,
To walk, each one i' the streets, with a rapier by his side,
That none to do them injury may have pretence;
Wretched Age, in poverty, must brook offence.



Charles Lamb


Charles Lamb's other poems:
  1. A Parody
  2. Good Temper
  3. Nursing
  4. Moderation in Diet
  5. Lines Addressed from London, to Sara and S.T.C. at Bristol, in the Summer of 1796


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • John Gay A Ballad ("'Twas when the seas were roaring")
  • Mary Montagu A Ballad ("To that dear nymph, whose pow'rful name")
  • Alexander Brome A Ballad ("OLd England is now a brave Barbary made")
  • Henry White A Ballad ("Be hush'd, be hush'd, ye bitter winds")
  • Menella Smedley A Ballad ("O, were you at war in the red Eastern land?")

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