When!

WHEN I am young again I'll hoard my bliss,
Nor deem that inexhaustible it is,
Remembering old age comes after this,
Joy grows to pain;
Nor waste one moment of youth's rose-sweet hours,
Nor trample one of all its countless flowers,
But drink the summer sun and soft spring showers,
When I am young again.


I will be wise with wisdom dearly won
By those who through life's wood have nearly run;
Learn what to do, and what to leave undone,
Risk or refrain.
I will not seek into my mouth to take
The bitter apple of the acrid lake,
But at clear fountains all my thirsts will slake,
When I am young again.


I will not brush the bloom to reach the core,
Remembering how it chanced with me before,
And bloom once lost returns not any more,
Hard cores remain:
I will fence round with prudence and secure
A lasting bloom whose freshness shall endure;
Oh, I will guard my peach of youth, be sure,
When I am young again.


When I am young again, I'll spend no breath
On bitter words the heart remembereth
When bitterness is swallowed up by Death
Holding sole reign;
I'll love so well that if they pass to sleep
Before me, I shall have no watch to keep
Over their tears-only my tears to weep
When I am young again.


I will not lightly joy nor idly grieve,
Nor for a heaven itself one soul deceive,
Nor will I be deceived, vainly believe,
Nor love in vain.
Come back, lost youth! Ah, Fate, that one gift give!
Then I will show that I have learned to live;
Youth shall be wise--and two and two make five--
When I am young again!

by Edith Nesbit

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