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When I Was One-and-Twenty
- A. E. Housman (1859-1936)

    When I was one-and-twenty
        I heard a wise man say,
    "Give crowns and pounds and guineas
        But not your heart away;
    Give pearls away and rubies
        But keep your fancy free."
    But I was one-and-twenty,
        No use to talk to me.

    When I was one-and-twenty
        I heard him say again,
    "The heart out of the bosom
        Was never given in vain;
    "Tis paid with sighs a plenty
        And sold for endless rue."
    And I am two-and-twenty,
        And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.


This poem was first published in 1896. It can be found for example in:
  • Housman, A. E. A Shropshire Lad. Waterville, ME: Colby College Library, 1946. (Where it is titled simply XIII.)
  • Williams, Oscar, ed. Immortal Poems of the English Language New York: Pocket Books, 1952.