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Tuesday, December 31, 2002

You Are Old Father William

Rating: 3.9
"You are old, father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head --
Do you think, at your age, it is right?

"In my youth," father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door --
Pray what is the reason for that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment -- one shilling a box --
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak --
Pray, how did you mange to do it?"

"In my youth," said his fater, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as every;
Yet you balanced an eel on the tend of your nose --
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?

Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs.
Lewis Carroll
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COMMENTS
john p barach 30 September 2019
it's wondrously balanced on the edge of reality, but never falls off either side! i love it
1 2 Reply
Ellen LaPierre 10 September 2019
the way I heard it was: You are old, Father William, and your teeth are beginning to freeze. Your favorite daughter has wheels in her head and the chickens are pecking your knees.
1 3 Reply
Aaron Marchant 09 October 2018
The poem of which this is a parody is 'The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them' by Robert Southey. Carroll's parody version is recited in his 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' (1865)
1 3 Reply
Lose Hunter 02 May 2018
Is this a parody of a poem by Wordsworth?
1 3 Reply
billp 21 December 2017
pity about the spelling mistakes
3 4 Reply
Dia Ali 19 June 2016
I love this poem, it is written very cleverly and it is very funny.
3 3 Reply
Godfrey Morris 12 March 2015
Beautiful poem though I was expecting a better ending. Some wise message perhaps. Love it though.
2 6 Reply
Ramesh T A 12 March 2015
Lewis Carroll noted for his novel, Alice in the Wonderland meant for children mostly show his valour as comic story writer in this poem also by a small conversation between father and son!
2 4 Reply
John Richter 12 March 2015
Feisty old buggar! I'd say Mr. Carroll was in a rather whimsical mood when he wrote this. I'm sure it was written to get some chuckles from children... I particularly enjoyed how the old man came to strengthen his jaw. If this were true then I should be able to crack walnuts with my own!
5 4 Reply
Amanda Singleton 02 October 2006
This poem is so cute! I love it!
11 5 Reply

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