Old Scout

Is it because I'm bent and grey,
Though wearing rather well,
That I can slickly get away
With all the yarns I tell?
Is it because my bleary eye
No longer beams with youth
That I can plant a whopping lie,
And flout the truth?

I wonder why folks hark to me
Where once they would have laughed?
They treat my yarns respectfully,
No matter how they're daft.
They count the notches on my gun
And stroke its polished butt,
Wanting to know why every one
Of them was cut.

Indeed were I to stick to fact
Their interest would flag;
Dramatically I must act
The rôle of scalliwag;
A battle veteran to be,
A frozen argonaut,
A castaway in coral sea,--
Such a tommyrot!

And so with unction I conceive
Invention wild and new,
Until I'm coming to believe
My taradiddles true . . .
Is it because I'm old and sage,
I draw a bow that's risky?
Or can it be--that lies with age
Improve like whisky?

by Robert William Service

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