Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Time to Be Wise
By Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864)
 
YES; I write verses now and then,
But blunt and flaccid is my pen,
No longer talked of by young men
        As rather clever:
In the last quarter are my eyes,        5
You see it by their form and size;
Is it not time then to be wise?
        Or now or never.
 
Fairest that ever sprang from Eve!
While Time allows the short reprieve,        10
Just look at me! would you believe
        ’Twas once a lover?
I cannot clear the five-bar gate,
But, trying first its timbers’ state,
Climb stiffly up, take breath, and wait        15
        To trundle over.
 
Thro’ gallopade I cannot swing
The entangling blooms of Beauty’s spring:
I cannot say the tender thing,
        Be’t true or false,        20
And am beginning to opine
Those girls are only half-divine
Whose waists yon wicked boys entwine
        In giddy waltz.
 
I fear that arm above that shoulder,        25
I wish them wiser, graver, older,
Sedater, and no harm if colder
        And panting less.
Ah! people were not half so wild
In former days, when, starchly mild,        30
Upon her high-heel’d Essex smiled
        The brave Queen Bess.
 
 
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