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One and Twenty
Samuel Johnson


Long expected one and twenty
Ling’ring year at last has flown,
Pomp and pleasure, pride and plenty
Great Sir John, are all your own.

Loosen’d from the minor’s tether,
Free to mortgage or to sell,
Wild as wind, and light as feather
Bid the slaves of thrift farewell.

Call the Bettys, Kates, and Jenneys
Ev’ry name that laughs at care,
Lavish of your Grandsire’s guineas,
Show the spirit of an heir.

All that prey on vice and folly
Joy to see their quarry fly,
Here the gamester light and jolly
There the lender grave and sly.

Wealth, Sir John, was made to wander,
Let it wander as it will;
See the jocky, see the pander,
Bid them come, and take their fill.

When the bonny blade carouses,
Pockets full, and spirits high,
What are acres? What are houses?
Only dirt, or wet or dry.

If the Guardian or the Mother
Tell the woes of willful waste,
Scorn their counsel and their pother,
You can hang or drown at last.

This poem is in the public domain.


Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) was an English author of poetry, biographies, magazine articles, and a dictionary. The son of a bookseller, Samuel enjoyed reading as a child and determined early to become a writer—almost starving in the process. A big, sloppy man who lacked social graces (it is thought he suffered from Tourette syndrome), Samuel established himself in the literary world through pure talent and determination. A kindhearted man who was generous to the poor, he was widely respected as a writer and critic during his lifetime and his reputation has endured.


Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
A different take on being 21 than that of A. E. Housman's!
Posted 02/07/2015 08:16 AM
A welcome formal astringent!
Posted 02/07/2015 05:50 AM

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