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At Thirty-Five

 Three score and ten, the psalmist saith,
And half my course is well-nigh run;
I've had my flout at dusty death,
I've had my whack of feast and fun.
I've mocked at those who prate and preach; I've laughed with any man alive; But now with sobered heart I reach The Great Divide of Thirty-five.
And looking back I must confess I've little cause to feel elate.
I've played the mummer more or less; I fumbled fortune, flouted fate.
I've vastly dreamed and little done; I've idly watched my brothers strive: Oh, I have loitered in the sun By primrose paths to Thirty-five! And those who matched me in the race, Well, some are out and trampled down; The others jog with sober pace; Yet one wins delicate renown.
O midnight feast and famished dawn! O gay, hard life, with hope alive! O golden youth, forever gone, How sweet you seem at Thirty-five! Each of our lives is just a book As absolute as Holy Writ; We humbly read, and may not look Ahead, nor change one word of it.
And here are joys and here are pains; And here we fail and here we thrive; O wondrous volume! what remains When we reach chapter Thirty-five? The very best, I dare to hope, Ere Fate writes Finis to the tome; A wiser head, a wider scope, And for the gipsy heart, a home; A songful home, with loved ones near, With joy, with sunshine all alive: Watch me grow younger every year -- Old Age! thy name is Thirty-five!

Poem by Robert William Service
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