The Painter By Edgar Albert Guest

The Painter

When my hair is thin and silvered, an’ my time of toil is through,
When I’ve many years behind me, an’ ahead of me a few,
I shall want to sit, I reckon, sort of dreamin’ in the sun,
An’ recall the roads I’ve traveled an’ the many things I’ve done,
An’ I hope there’ll be no picture that I’ll hate to look upon
When the time to paint it better or to wipe it out is gone.

I hope there’ll be no vision of a hasty word I’ve said,
That has left a trail of sorrow, like a whip welt, sore an’ red,
An’ I hope my old-age dreamin’ will bring back no bitter scene
Of a time when I was selfish an’ a time when I was mean;
When I’m gettin’ old an’ feeble, an’ I’m far along life’s way
I don’t want to sit regrettin’ any by-gone yesterday.

I’ll admit the children boss me, I’ll admit I often smile
When I ought to frown upon ’em, but for such a little while
They are naughty, romping youngsters, that I have no heart to scold,
An’ I know if I should whip ’em I’d regret it when I’m old.
Age to me would be a torment an’ a ghost-infested night,
If I’d ever hurt a baby, an’ I could not make it right.

I am painting now the pictures that I’ll some day want to see,
I am filling in a canvas that will come back soon to me.
An’ though nothing great is on it, an’ though nothing there is fine,
I shall want to look it over when I’m old an’ call it mine.
An’ I do not dare to leave it, while the paint is warm an’ wet,
With a single thing upon it that I’ll later on regret.

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