Sunday, July 25, 2010

“But I am withered worn and grim”

A month ago I went off for my two yearly mammogram like the good woman I am. I was a little surprised to receive through the post shortly after, a second invitation. I opened it so that I could send the form off explaining why I was turning down their kind offer and discovered another invitation to a different party. A free test for Colon cancer – how lovely!

Last week I trundled off to the doctor’s, armed with latest blood and pee test results, for my free full medical because I am an entrepreneur and he awarded me with the necessary kit for the cancer test. Done and ready to post. In the mean time I’ve also received a leaflet on how to look after my heart because I am getting old….

The title of my post comes from a poem featured in The Queen’s Gift Book, published on aid of Queen Mary’s Convalescent Auxiliary Hospitals (World War I). The book is falling apart but I still have some of the original pictures which were pasted in – W. Heath Robinson illustrated this poem for the book

By Mrs. Henry de la Pasture
(Lady Clifford)

Paintings and Drawing,s by
W. Heath Robinson

The old lord to the goose-girl said,
" 'Tis not your beauty that I prize,
Nor raven hair that crowns your head,
Nor slender waist, nor soft grey eyes.

" I love you for your simple truth
And for the mind and soul of you.
And would the gods but grant me youth,
I straight would be your husband true.

" But I am withered, worn and grim.
And you a flower fresh and wild,
And all the world makes mock of him
Who, in his dotage, weds a child."

The old lord to the goose-girl said.
With courteous smile and silver tongue,
" I love you and I fain would wed —
But I'm too old, and you're too young,

" And yet withal I do admit,
So gentle and so grave your mien,
So low your voice, so kind your wit,
One would suppose you bred a queen.

" No high-born dame could please me more,
And would the gods but grant to me
To lose of all my years a score,
Then we might wed right faithfully.

" So we would make Old Time confess
(Who brings mankind to sure decay)
We loved each other none the less
For eyes grown dim and heads grown grey."

With blush of peach and candid eyes
The goose-girl answered straight and free,
"To be your wife I fain would rise.
For I love you as you love me."

The goose-girl said, with heart on fire,
" Oh, what is age when love is true ?
No dearer mate covild I desire,
I love the noble words of you.

" And since 'tis not my looks you prize.
And since 'tis youth for which you pine —
I've nothing else to sacrifice —
I'll pray the gods to grant you mine."

A passing cupid caught the sigh.
And bore it in a crystal dish
On his swift flight from earth to sky.
Jove, smiling, said, " I grant that wish."

The old lord dropped of years a score.
Each shrunken limb grew round and fair,
In manhood's prime he stood once more.
Back to his temples stole his hair.

The old lord's sunken jaw plumped out.
His teeth stood firm, his eyes shone clear.
He was as straight and strong and stout
As man could be at forty year.

The goose-girl took his load of years
That on her shoulders now was cast.
She knew no doubts, she knew no fears,
She kissed Love's hand that bound it fast.

Her fleeting charms of youth were lost ;
A buxom dame with comely face
And raven hair just touched with frost
Stood smiling in the goose-girl's place.

Full wistfully she looked at him,
Nor needed words his blank dismay.
Her candid eyes grew something dim,
Love shut his wings and stole away.

She stood alone — unseen, unheard — •
And pondered, wondering, o'er the change.
" I did but take him at his word.
And oh," she said, " but men are strange ! "

Then homeward trudging — on her staff
She leaned a trifle heavily —
Her wise eyes wrinkled with a laugh.
'' He was a man o' words ! " quoth she.

The moral of the poem is; careful what you wish for


Caroline said...

What cruel reminders of our frailty. Hope you passed the tests with flying colours.

Caroline xxx

Véro B said...

I'm supposed to pick up my colon kit too. Getting old is such fun!

Anonymous said...

What I like is the way we're encouraged to feel so good about ourselves. And then they remind us about the passing of the years.

Karen Fayeth said...

Ah, the joys of growing old with grace.

Had my first mammogram last year. It was my 40th birthday present. They could have at least given me some chocolate before doing that sort of thing to my boobs.

And now you are to be congratulated on your courage while facing all the medical indignities with grace.

Unknown said...

Anji, I'm looking forward to sharing your post later with my partner. We'll find a lot to smile about. She recently went for a colonoscopy, on one condition - it's my turn next :( Thanks too for the reminder of the wonderful poem!

Anji said...

Caroline: I'm fine!

Veronica: it's nicer than running to the lab with a sample in a jar.

Graham: They do this every two years now so there are the gaps in between.

Karen: What an original 40th birthday present. We have to wait for 50 here.

Chris nash: Thank you for visiting. Hopefully we'll all stay fit and well this way.