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Old Father William

 Old Father William

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 Im perfectly sure I have none,
    Why, I do it again and again."
"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentionedbefore,
    And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
    Pray, what is the reason of 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 the 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 manage to do it?"
"In my youth," said his father, "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 ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end 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!"
"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
    "And your nose has the look of surprise;
Your eyes have turned round to the back of your head,
    And you live upon cucumber pies."
"I know it, I know it," the old man replied,
    "And it comes from employing a quack,
Who said if I laughed when the crocodile died
    I should never have pains in my back."
"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
    "And your legs always get in your way
You use too much mortar in mixing your bread,
    And you try to drink timothy hay."
"Very true, very true," said the wretched old man,
    "Every word that you tell me is true;
And its caused by my having my kerosene can
    Painted red where it ought to be blue."
"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
    "And your teeth are beginning to freeze,
Your favorite daughter has wheels in her head,
    And the chickens are eating your knees."
"You are right," said the old man, "I can`t deny,
    That my troubles are many and great,
But I`ll butter my ears on the Fourth of July,
    And then Ill be able to skate."

- Lewic Caroll

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