LOVE and death, odd cronies they,
Met once, on a summer's day:
Death, his wonted weapons bearing,
Little love, his quiver wearing;
This to wound, and that to slay,
Hand in hand, they took their way.
Night came on. The self-same shed
Furnished both with board and bed;
While, beneath a wisp of hay,
Heads and points, their arrows lay.
Ere the morning's faintest dawn,
Each had girt his armour on:
But with too much haste arranged,
Luckless chance! their darts were changed.
Little space our heroes ran,
Ere their archery began.
Love, a whizzing shaft, let fly
At a youth, with beaming eye:
The aim was true; one shriek he gave,
And sunk, into an early grave.
Death shot next; he pierced the core
Of a dotard, past threescore:
The cankered carle, his crutch threw by,
A lover now, with amorous eye.
"Ho!" cried young Love, "here's some mistake;
These darts of mine, sad havoc make."
"And mine," said Death, "instead of killing,
Serve but to set these bald-heads billing."
Reader, oft will wanton age
Bing to mind, our sportive page;
Oh! that youth's untimely fall,
Its sadder strain, should e'er recall!