Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern British Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry.  1920.
 
Owen Seaman. 1861–
 
39. To An Old Fogey
(Who Contends that Christmas is Played Out)
  
O FRANKLY bald and obviously stout! 
  And so you find that Christmas as a fête 
Dispassionately viewed, is getting out 
            Of date. 
  
The studied festal air is overdone;         5
  The humour of it grows a little thin; 
You fail, in fact, to gather where the fun 
            Comes in. 
  
Visions of very heavy meals arise 
  That tend to make your organism shiver;  10
Roast beef that irks, and pies that agonise 
            The liver; 
  
Those pies at which you annually wince, 
  Hearing the tale how happy months will follow 
Proportioned to the total mass of mince  15
            You swallow. 
  
Visions of youth whose reverence is scant, 
  Who with the brutal verve of boyhood's prime 
Insist on being taken to the pant- 
            -omime.  20
  
Of infants, sitting up extremely late, 
  Who run you on toboggans down the stair; 
Or make you fetch a rug and simulate 
            A bear. 
  
This takes your faultless trousers at the knees,  25
  The other hurts them rather more behind; 
And both effect a fracture in your ease 
            Of mind. 
  
My good dyspeptic, this will never do; 
  Your weary withers must be sadly wrung!  30
Yet once I well believe that even you 
            Were young. 
  
Time was when you devoured, like other boys, 
  Plum-pudding sequent on a turkey-hen; 
With cracker-mottos hinting of the joys  35
            Of men. 
  
Time was when 'mid the maidens you would pull 
  The fiery raisin with profound delight; 
When sprigs of mistletoe seemed beautiful 
            And right.  40
  
Old Christmas changes not! Long, long ago 
  He won the treasure of eternal youth; 
Yours is the dotage—if you want to know 
            The truth. 
  
Come, now, I'll cure your case, and ask no fee:—  45
  Make others' happiness this once your own; 
All else may pass: that joy can never be 
            Outgrown! 
 
 
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