But when thy friends are in distress,
Thou’lt laugh and chuckle ne’er the less;
Nor e’en with sympathy be smitten,
Tho’ all are sad but thee and kitten;
Yet little varlet that thou art,
Thou twitchest at the heart.
Thy rosy cheek so soft and warm;
Thy pinky hand, and dimpled arm;
Thy silken locks that scantly peep,
With gold-tip’d ends, where circle deep
Around thy neck in harmless grace
So soft and sleekly hold their place,
Might harder hearts with kindness fill,
And gain our right good will.
Each passing clown bestows his blessing,
Thy mouth is worn with old wives’ kissing:
E’en lighter looks the gloomy eye
Of surly sense, when thou art by;
And yet I think whoe’er they be,
They love thee not like me.
Perhaps when time shall add a few
Short years to thee, thou’lt love me too.
Then wilt thou thro’ life’s weary way
Become my sure and cheering stay:
Wilt care, for me, and be my hold,
When I am weak and old.
Thou’lt listen to my lengthen’d tale,
And pity me when I am frail—
But see, the sweepy spinning fly
Upon the window takes thine eye.
Go to thy little senseless play—
Thou doest not heed my lay.
Grand-dad, they say your old and frail,
Your stocked legs begin to fail:
Your knobbed stick (that was my horse)
Can scarce support your bended corse;
While back to wall, you lean so sad,
I’m vex’d to see you, dad.
You us’d to smile, and stroke my head,
And tell me how good children did;
But now I wot not how it be,
You take me seldom on your knee;
Yet ne’ertheless I am right glad
To sit beside you, dad.
How lank and thin your beard hangs down!
Scant are the white hairs on your crown:
How wan and hollow are your cheeks!
Your brow is rough with crossing breaks;
But yet, for all his strength is fled,
I love my own old dad.
The housewives round their potions brew,
And gossips come to ask for you:
And for your weal each neighbour cares,
And good men kneel, and say their pray’rs:
And ev’ry body looks so sad,
When you are ailing, dad.
You will not die, and leave us then?
Rouse up and be our dad again.
When you are quiet and laid in bed,
We’ll doff our shoes and softly tread;
And when you wake we’ll aye be near,
To fill old dad his cheer.
When thro’ the house you shift your stand,
I’ll lead you kindly by the hand:
When dinner’s set, I’ll with you bide,
And aye be serving by your side:
And when the weary fire burns blue,
I’ll sit and talk with you.
I have a tale both long and good,
About a partlet and her brood;
And cunning greedy fox, that stole,
By dead of midnight thro’ a hole,
Which slyly to the hen-roost led—
You love a story, dad?