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Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Centenarian


Great Grandfather was ninety-nine
And so it was our one dread,
That though his health was superfine
He'd fail to make the hundred.
Though he was not a rolling stone
No moss he seemed to gather:
A patriarch of brawn and bone
Was Great Grandfather.

He should have been senile and frail
Instead of hale and hearty;
But no, he loved a mug of ale,
A boisterous old party.
'As frisky as a cold,' said he,
'A man's allotted span
I've lived but now I plan to be
A Centenarian.'

Then one night when I called on him
Oh what a change I saw!
His head was bowed, his eye was dim,
Down-fallen was his jaw.
Said he: 'Leave me to die, I pray;
I'm no more bloody use . . .
For in my mouth I found today--
A tooth that's loose.'

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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