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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.


John Collins (1742–1808)

IN the down-hill of life, when I find I’m declining,

May my fate no less fortunate be,

Than a snug elbow-chair will afford for reclining,

And a cot that o’erlooks the wide sea;

With an ambling pad-pony to pace o’er the lawn,

While I carol away idle sorrow,

And blithe as the lark that each day hails the dawn,

Look forward with hope for Tomorrow.

With a porch at my door, both for shelter and shade too,

As the sunshine or rain may prevail,

And a small spot of ground for the use of the spade too,

With a barn for the use of the flail:

A cow for my dairy, a log for my game,

And a purse when a friend wants to borrow;

I’ll envy no Nabob his riches or fame,

Or what honours may wait him Tomorrow.

From the bleak northern blast may my cot be completely

Secured by a neighbouring hill;

And at night may repose steal upon me more sweetly

By the sound of a murmuring rill.

And while peace and plenty I find at my board,

With a heart free from sickness and sorrow,

With my friends may I share what Today may afford

And let them spread the table Tomorrow.

And when I at last must throw off this frail cov’ring,

Which I’ve worn for three score years and ten,

On the brink of the grave I’ll not seek to keep hov’ring

Nor my thread wish to spin o’er again;

But my face in the glass I’ll serenely survey,

And with smiles count each wrinkle and furrow,

As this old worn-out stuff which is threadbare Today,

May become everlasting Tomorrow.