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        Thomas Flatman (1637-1688)

  Advice to an old man of sixty three
        about to marry a Girle of sixteen.

                         S O N G.

           NOw fie upon him! what is Man,
           Whose life at best is but a span?
           When to an inch it dwindles down,
           Ice in his bones, snow on his Crown,
           That he within his crazy brain,
           Kind thoughts of Love should entertain,
           That he, when Harvest comes should plow
           And when 'tis time to reap, go sowe,
Who in imagination only strong,
Tho' twice a Child, can never twice grow young

                               I I.

           Nature did those design for Fools,
           That sue for work, yet have no tools.
           What fellow feeling can there be
           In such a strange disparity?
           Old age mistakes the youthful breast,
           Love dwels not there, but interest:
           Alas Good Man! take thy repose,
           Get ribband for thy thumbs, and toes,
Provide thee flannel, and a sheet of lead,
Think on thy Coffin, not thy bridal bed.


ribband = ribbon

The above poem can be found, for example, in:

  • Flatman, Thomas. Poems and Songs. London: Printed by S. and B.G. for Benjamin Took and Jonathan Edwin, 1674.