The Old Gentleman’s Wish, or The Reformed Old Gentleman by Clement Barksdale

I am grown old, Alas!
My seventy years are past:
I Wish with all my heart,
I may grow wise at last.

When I was past a Child,
I left the Grammer-school,
(Fond Parents!) Ah! I Wish,
I had not been a Fool.

Having my liberty,
And Money, every day,
(I Wish none wou’d do thus)
Ah! I did game and play.

Youth is the feeding time,
From whence good fruits shou’d grow
I brought forth noisom weeds:
I Wish I’d not done so.

I kept ill Company,
My Hawks, and Hounds, and worse:
One can’t to enemies
wish any greater Curse.

I and my bonny Fellowes
Had many a vagary,
And after drank down sin,
In Clarret and Canary.

But now I see my faults,
How I have gone astray:
That God wou’d set me right,
I hugely Wish and Pray.

O Happy Change! When Grace
Assisting Industry,
Preventing, following Grace
(I Wish) may wants supply.

My old Companions
Themselves from me withdraw:
I sadly Wish, I had
Their Faces never saw.

O Time! most precious Time!
I Wish thee come again.
Impossible it is:
To Wish it is in vain.

Time past cannot return:
You can’t undo, what’s done.
‘Tis as hard, as in’s course
To stop the Giant Sun.

Yet I do Wish and pray,
My Time I may redeem,
By double Diligence:
This a Wise Wish will seem.

And now I entertain
A Sober, Learned Friend,
To’improve me, and I Wish
To keep him to my end.

We read the Psalmodie,
And Gospel, every Day:
At the Church and at home,
We Two together pray.

We love God’s Ministers,
Obey in every thing:
We dayly pray and Wish
All Honour to the King.

My Noble Friends, do ye
Get such a Guide, and then
You may be what I Wish,
Right good Old Gentlemen.

From: Barksdale, Clement, The Old Gentleman’s Wish, or The Reformed Old Gentleman, 2009, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford.

Date: 1685

By: Clement Barksdale (1609-1687)


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