Saturday Afternoon

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Saturday Afternoon
by Nathaniel Parker Willis

Written for a picture.

I love to look on a scene like this,
  Of wild and careless play,
And persuade myself that I am not old,
  And my locks are not yet gray;
For it stirs the blood in an old man's heart,
  And makes his pulses fly,
To catch the thrill of a happy voice,
  And the light of a pleasant eye.

I have walked the world for fourscore years;
  And they say that I am old,
That my heart is ripe for the reaper, Death,
  And my years are well nigh told.
It is very true; it is very true;
  I'm old, and "I bide my time;"
But my heart will leap at a scene like this,
  And I half renew my prime.

Play on, play on; I am with you there,
  In the midst of your merry ring;
I can feel the thrill of the daring jump,
  And the rush of the breathless wing,
I hide with you in the fragrant hay,
  And I whoop the the smother'd call,
And my feet slip up on the seedy floor,
  And I care not for the fall.

I am willing to die when my time shall come,
  And I shall be glad to go;
For the world at best is a weary place,
  And my pulse is getting low;
But the grave is dark, and the heart will fail
  In treading its gloomy way;
And it wiles my heart from its dreariness,
  To see the young so gay.