Old Sir John

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Bald, with old eyes a blood-shot blue, he comes
Into the Boar's-Head Inn: the hot sweat streaks
His fulvous face, and all his raiment reeks
Of all the stews and all the Eastcheap slums.
Upon the battered board again he drums
And croaks for sack: then sits, his harsh haired cheeks
Sunk in his hands rough with the grime of weeks,
While 'round the tap one great bluebottle hums.
All, all are gone, the old companions they
Who made his rogue's world merry: of them all
Not one is left. Old, toothless now, and gray
Alone he waits: the swagger of that day
Gone from his bulk departed even as Doll,
And he, his Hal, who broke his heart, they say.

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