English poetry

Poems in English

Thirty-nine

Thirty-nine

O hapless day! O wretched day!
I hoped you’d pass me by
Alas, the years have sneaked away
And all is changed but I!
Had I the power, I would remand
You to a gloom condign,
But here you’ve crept upon me and
I I am thirty-nine!

Now, were I thirty-five, I could
Assume a flippant guise;
Or, were I forty years, I should
Undoubtedly look wise;
For forty years are said to bring
Sedateness superfine;
But thirty-nine don’t mean a thing
À bas with thirty-nine!

You healthy, hulking girls and boys,
What makes you grow so fast?
Oh, I’ll survive your lusty noise
I’m tough and bound to last!
No, no I’m old and withered too
I feel my powers decline
(Yet none believes this can be true
Of one at thirty-nine).

And you, dear girl with velvet eyes,
I wonder what you mean
Through all our keen anxieties
By keeping sweet sixteen.
With your dear love to warm my heart,
Wretch were I to repine;
I was but jesting at the start
I’m glad I’m thirty-nine!

So, little children, roar and race
As blithely as you can,
And, sweetheart, let your tender grace
Exalt the Day and Man;
For then these factors (I’ll engage)
All subtly shall combine
To make both juvenile and sage
The one who’s thirty-nine!

Yes, after all, I’m free to say
I would much rather be
Standing as I do stand to-day,
‘Twixt devil and deep sea;
For though my face be dark with care
Or with a grimace shine,
Each haply falls unto my share,
For I am thirty-nine!

‘Tis passing meet to make good cheer
And lord it like a king,
Since only once we catch the year
That doesn’t mean a thing.
O happy day! O gracious day!
I pledge thee in this wine
Come, let us journey on our way
A year, good Thirty-Nine!



Poem Thirty-nine - Eugene Field