| 20°C Dublin

A Mad Poem Addressed to my Nephews and Nieces

The World cheats those who cannot read;

I, happily, have mastered script and pen.

The World cheats those who hold no office;

I am blessed with high official rank.

Often the old have much sickness and pain;

With me, luckily, there is not much wrong.

People when they are old are often burdened with ties; But I have finished with marriage and giving in marriage.

No changes happen to jar the quiet of my mind;

No business comes to impair the vigour of my limbs.

Hence it is that now for ten years

Body and soul have rested in hermit peace.

All the more, in the last lingering years

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

What I shall need are very few things.

A single rug to warm me through the winter;

One meal to last me the whole day.

It does not matter that my house is rather small;

One cannot sleep in more than one room!

It does not matter that I have not many horses;

One cannot ride on two horses at once!

As fortunate as me among the people of the world Possibly one would find seven out of ten.

As contented as me among a hundred men

Look as you may, you will not fine one.

In the affairs of others even fools are wise;

In their own business even sages err.

To no one else would I dare to speak my heart.

So my wild words are addressed to my nephews and nieces.

Most Watched