Tuesday’s Poem

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07/01/2008 10:01 AM |

I’m sneaking this in because I can. And also because yesterday evening on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, on WNYC, he read this poem aloud in his deep and even reading voice, and it stuck out enough that I chanted the last line to myself until I could Google it in quotes. Here’s hoping most of our readers are pretty young. I’m assuming you are because this is a blog. Happy July 1. Don’t worry, this is not a recurring feature.

Youth’s the season made for joys,
Love is then our duty;
She alone who that employs,
Well deserves her beauty.
Let’s be gay,
While we may,
Beauty’s a flower despis’d in decay.

Let us drink and sport to-day,
Ours is not tomorrow.
Love with youth flies swift away,
Age is nought but sorrow.
Dance and sing,
Time’s on the wing,
Life never knows the return of spring.

That’s John Gay in his Beggar’s Opera, from 1728–four years before he died at the ripe old age of 47. Two hundred and eighty years ago. He also had quite an epitaph: “Life is a jest, and all things show it. I thought so once, and now I know it.”



(Follow the jump for a bonus trivia.)

A million points to anyone who knows what that photo is. It might be impossible.

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