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Old Trouper Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 2

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I was Mojeska's leading man

And famous parts I used to play,

But now I do the best I can

To earn my bread from day to day;

Here in this Burg of Breaking Hears,

Where one wins as a thousand fail,

I play a score of scurvy parts

Till Time  writes Finis to my tale.

My wife is dead, my daughter wed,

With heaps of trouble of their own;

And though I hold aloft my head

I'm humble, scared and all alone . . .

To-night I burn each photograph,

Each record of my former fame,

And oh, how bitterly I laugh

And feed them to the hungry flame!

Behold how handsome I was then -

What glowing eye, what noble mien;

I towered above my fellow men,

And proudly strode the painted scene.

Ah, Vanity! What fools are we,

With empty ends and foolish aims . . .

There now, I fling with savage glee

My David Garrick to the flames.

"Is this a dagger that I see":

Oh, how I used to love that speech;

We were old-fashioned - "hams" maybe,

Yet we Young Arrogance could teach.

"Out, out brief candle!" There are gone

My Lear, my Hamlet and MacBeth;

And now by ashes cold and wan

I wait my cue, my prompter Death.

This life of ours is just a play;

Its end is fashioned from the start;

Fate writes each word we have to say,

And puppet-like we strut our part.

Once I wore laurels on my brow,

But now I wait, a sorry clown,

To make my furtive, farewell bow . . .

Haste Time! Oh, ring the Curtain down.


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