Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

A Border Ballad


OH, I haven't got long to live, for we all
Die soon, e'en those who live longest;
And the poorest and weakest are taking their chance
Along with the richest and strongest.
So it's heigho for a glass and a song,
And a bright eye over the table,
And a dog for the hunt when the game is flush.
And the pick of a gentleman's stable.
There is Dimmock o' Dune, he was here yesternight,
But he's rotting to-day on Glen Arragh;
'Twas the hand o' MacPherson that gave him the blow,
And the vultures shall feast on his marrow.
But it's heigho for a brave old song
And a glass while we are able;
Here's a health to death and another cup
To the bright eye over the table.
I can show a broad back and a jolly deep chest,
But who argues now on appearance?
A blow or a thrust or a stumble at best
May send me to-day to my clearance.
Then it's heigho for the things I love,
My mother'll be soon wearing sable,
But give me my horse and my dog and my glass,
And a bright eye over the table.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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  • Ray Schreiber (3/16/2014 3:38:00 PM)

    Wonderful... what can be said about this poem that it hasn't already said itself. Heigho. (Report) Reply

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