When I Was One-And-Twenty

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

by Alfred Edward Housman

Comments (4)

The poem raises a pertinent question, whether to fall in love and risk heartbreak, or keep love at bay and one's heart intact. I personally would go with Tennyson: Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
I've always loved this poem since I first read it & George Butterworth's setting of the poem intensifies its already great beauty.
some people fail to appreciate the wisdom
I did underline translation into the Russian language.