Protest of the Elders by S. Elliott Napier

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Oh, Father Time, we ask politely -- 
But still we think we ask it rightly -- 
If you will tell us what's the reason 
Why you, in your sere wintry season,
So wantonly and indiscreetly
Reverse the regular rules completely? 
Why must you so defy all Nature,
You curious, old, "cumstary crature," 
And as we all are older getting
A quicker pace be always setting?
When we were young and wanted hurry 
We couldn't put you in a flurry;
The more the rage for haste then caught us 
The more you'd emulate the tortoise,  
And, disregarding protests wholly,
Would ever crawl and crawl more slowly.
But now, when age would welcome leisure, 
In break-neck speed you take a pleasure. 
An hour's not born before it's dying,
You've taught the years the art of flying;
And, faith! they've proved the aptest scholars 
And race like Yankees after dollars.
You know you really "shouldn't orter;"
Our days are short-why make them shorter? 
Don't drive your worn-out hack so quickly; 
He's broken-kneed and breathing thickly.
And is, indeed -- his plumes grown scanty -- 
No Pegasus, but Rosinante;
And yet, the way you try his paces, 
He might be entered for the races!
And you yourself, you sly old sinner!
You neither younger grow nor thinner;
You must be told, it you don't know it, 
You're getting old and ought to show it. 
We wonder at you, father-certes! 
You're not a Roland or Laertes
To fill the stage in reckless fashion 
With victims of a youthful passion, 
But, like the latter's prosy father,
Are soft and stout and senile rather.
So, therefore, as you should, "go aisy," 
And, as you climb the years, be lazy. 
It's very well at one and twenty, 
But you are old-festina lente!  

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 December 1926

Author reference sites: Austlit

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 4, 2012 8:07 AM.

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