Roderic Quinn

1867 - 1949 / Australia

The Counsellors

AS I went a-walking
Through the Morning Land,
Up came Folly
And took me by the hand;
Garbed in velvet doublet,
Clad in silken hose —
Bells on his droll cap,
Bells on his clothes,
Bells on his shoulders,
Bells round his waist
Tinkled as he shouted:
'Haste, brother, haste;
Youth's a thing that never will be missed
Till it's gone, gone for ever, like the dew from the rose!'
Sparkled all the waters,
Sparkled everything —
Dew on the petal,
Dew on the wing,
Dew on the meadows,
Dew in the air,
Dew on the tall trees,
Dew everywhere,
Dew on the fine web,
Gemming each part;
Dew on the red mouth,
Dew in the heart;
Toil's a thing that never heart will crave
In the sweet, sweet morning and the dew-time rare.
Song and jest I gathered
Strolling up and down,
Talk o' the tavern
And gossip of the town;
Storing in my wallet,
Careless of the throng,
Coin of golden fancy,
Coin of silver song,
Gems of jovial friendship,
Keepsakes manifold,
Pearls that never gem-smith
Set in filmy gold.
Wealth's a witch that loses half her lure,
When the blood runs red, and the pulse beats strong.
As I went a-walking
Through the moonlit land,
Up came Prudence
And took me by the hand;
Solemn was her aspect,
Sober her clothes,
Cruel her questions,
Hinting chilly woes:
'Where be you a-going?
What have you to eat?
Where's your wood and water?
Where's your bread and meat?'
Youth's a thing that never will be missed
Till it's gone, gone for ever, like the dew from the rose!
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