While Yet we may

Harry 'Breaker' Harbord Morant 1864 (Bridgwater, Somerset) – 1902 (Pretoria)



Ancient, wrinkled dames and jealous -
   They whom joyless Age downcasts -
And the sere, gray-bearded fellows
   Who would fain re-live their pasts -
These, the ancients, grimly tell us:
   'Vows are vain, and no love lasts.'

Fleeting years fulfil Fate's sentence,
   Eyes must dim, and hair turn gray,
Age bring wrinkles, p'rhaps repentance;
   Youth shall quickly hie away,
And that time when youth has went hence,
   We - and love - have had our day.

Let the world, and fuming, fretting,
   Busy worldlings pass us by,
Bent on piles of lucre getting -
   They shall lose it when they die;
Past and future, sweet! forgetting -
   Seize the present ere it fly.

Your bright eyes are soft and smiling,
   Pouting lips are moist and red,
And your whispers wondrous wiling -
   Surely they would quick the dead -
And these hours they're now beguiling,
   All too hasty will have fled.

Years may bring a dole of sorrow,
   Time enough to fast and pray,
From the present pleasures borrow,
   Let the distant future pay;
Leave the penance for the morrow,
   Sweetheart! love and laugh to-day.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on April 27, 2023

57 sec read
64

Quick analysis:

Scheme AAXBAB CDCDXD EFEFEF EGEGEG HDHDHD
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,065
Words 188
Stanzas 5
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 6

Harry 'Breaker' Harbord Morant

Harry "Breaker" Harbord Morant (born Edwin Henry Murrant, 9 December 1864 – 27 February 1902) was an Anglo-Australian drover, horseman, bush poet and military officer, who was convicted and executed for murder during the Second Anglo-Boer War. While serving with the Bushveldt Carbineers during the Second Anglo-Boer War, Lieutenant Morant was arrested and court-martialed for war crimes—one of the first such prosecutions in British military history. According to military prosecutors, Morant retaliated for the death in combat of his commanding officer with a series of revenge killings against both Boer POWs and many civilian residents of the Northern Transvaal. more…

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