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The Old Man's Complaints. And How He Gained Them by Robert Southey

Analysis

"The Old Man's Complaints. And How He Gained Them" is a poem written by Robert Southey. This poem is about a young man speaking to an old priest. The young man keeps asking him why should he pray and the priest replies to whatever he asks. The priest simply states that when he was younger, he knew he wouldn't be young forever and thus he prayed for a great future.

This poem is written as six stanzas with four lines in each. It is rhymed as ABAB.

Poem

The Old Man's Complaints. And How He Gained Them
By 

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
The few locks which are left you are grey;
You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigour at first
That I never might need them at last.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And pleasures with youth pass away,
And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason I pray.

In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth could not last;
I thought of the future whatever I did,
That I never might grieve for the past.

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And life must be hastening away;
You are chearful, and love to converse upon death!
Now tell me the reason I pray.

I am chearful, young man, Father William replied,
Let the cause thy attention engage;
In the days of my youth I remember'd my God!
And He hath not forgotten my age.

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