BY THE PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF DEAD AND LIVE LANGUAGES


PHI BETA KAPPA.--CAMBRIDGE, 1867

You bid me sing,--can I forget
The classic ode of days gone by,--
How belle Fifine and jeune Lisette
Exclaimed, 'Anacreon, geron ei'?
'Regardez done,' those ladies said,--
'You're getting bald and wrinkled too
When summer's roses all are shed,
Love 's nullum ite, voyez-vous!'

In vain ce brave Anacreon's cry,
'Of Love alone my banjo sings'
(Erota mounon). 'Etiam si,--
Eh b'en?' replied the saucy things,--
'Go find a maid whose hair is gray,
And strike your lyre,--we sha'n't complain;
But parce nobis, s'il vous plait,--
Voila Adolphe! Voila Eugene!'

Ah, jeune Lisette! Ah, belle Fifine!
Anacreon's lesson all must learn;
O kairos oxiis; Spring is green,
But Acer Hyems waits his turn
I hear you whispering from the dust,
'Tiens, mon cher, c'est toujours so,--
The brightest blade grows dim with rust,
The fairest meadow white with snow!'

You do not mean it! _Not_ encore?
Another string of playday rhymes?
You 've heard me--nonne est?-before,
Multoties,-more than twenty times;
Non possum,--vraiment,--pas du tout,
I cannot! I am loath to shirk;
But who will listen if I do,
My memory makes such shocking work?

Ginosko. Scio. Yes, I 'm told
Some ancients like my rusty lay,
As Grandpa Noah loved the old
Red-sandstone march of Jubal's day.
I used to carol like the birds,
But time my wits has quite unfixed,
Et quoad verba,--for my words,--
Ciel! Eheu! Whe-ew!--how they're mixed!

Mehercle! Zeu! Diable! how
My thoughts were dressed when I was young,
But tempus fugit! see them now
Half clad in rags of every tongue!
O philoi, fratres, chers amis
I dare not court the youthful Muse,
For fear her sharp response should be,
'Papa Anacreon, please excuse!'

Adieu! I 've trod my annual track
How long!--let others count the miles,--
And peddled out my rhyming pack
To friends who always paid in smiles.
So, laissez-moi! some youthful wit
No doubt has wares he wants to show;
And I am asking, 'Let me sit,'
Dum ille clamat, 'Dos pou sto!'

More verses by Oliver Wendell Holmes

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