I asked of ancient gaffers three
The way of their ripe living,
And this is what they told to me
The First: ‘The why I’ve lived so long,
To my fond recollection
Is that for women, wine and song
I’ve had a predilection.
Full many a bawdy stave I’ve sung
With wenches of my choosing,
But of the joys that kept me young
The best was boozing.’
The Second: ‘I’m a sage revered
Because I was a fool
And with the bourgeon of my beard
I kept my ardour cool.
On health I have conserved my hold
By never dissipating:
And that is why a hundred old
The Third: ‘The explanation I
Have been so long a-olding,
Is that to wash I never try,
Despite conjugal scolding.
I hate the sight of soap and so
I seldom change my shirt:
Believe me, Brother, there is no
Preservative like dirt.’
So there you have the reasons three
Why age may you rejoice:
Booze, squalour and temerity,–
Well, you may take your choice.
Yet let me say, although it may
Your egoism hurt,
Of all the three it seems to me
The best is DIRT.