In haunts of old I fear to go
I can no longer stay their scorn
I linger in the draughty streets
And flee approaching dawn.
The cockcrow now supplants my sight
A cuckold twice I wander round
Imploring of my haughty friends
Who treat me as the ground:
Lay off awhile, I'm getting old
And close to death's repose
And scalding rheum flows from my eyes
And clutters up my nose
O life! In vain I ascertained
There was another man,
So how, except in living, am
I now to end my span
Perhaps in prayer, belike in dreams
A nightmare come from hell,
Reality is what it seems
Truth is what they tell.
A life, a death do I negate
To wait at Neptune's key ere yet
So few of such tough errant rogues
Who lately formed a jazz sextet
Appear in arms, with me their prey
And drag me in, tearfully sorry
And ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
I must work evermore in the quarry.
The quarry is mine; it is Acheron's pit
Though they pelt me with sticks, still I'll rest in the shade
Where they taunt me who loved me, and spurn me who once
Were my constant companions with whom I once played.