Twenty-One

Good Essays
Johnson and Housman both characterize coming of age as a part of life. In “To Sir John Lade …,” Johnson welcomes getting older in line 1, “long-expected one and twenty.” Housman ties coming of age with finding love. He mentions love several times throughout the poem, “but not your heart away (line 4),” “but keep your fancy free (line 6).”
Housman states his point of becoming older through his first-person point of view and a regretful tone. He reminisces about when he was twenty-one. He looks back and he wishes he had heeded the counsel of the wise man. The wise man said, “Give crowns and pounds … but not your heart away (line 3-4),” meaning material possessions come and go, but love should be kept. He notes that love is worth more than any amount of money. The wise man also warned, “The heart out of the bosom was never given in vain,” meaning love can entrap one. Line 13-14 states, “Tis paid with sighs a plenty and sold for endless rue,” shows that Housman thinks love can leave one in misery or heartbroken. He is now twenty-two and agrees with the wise man’s counsel by saying, “tis true.”

Johnson brings about his point of growing older by his use of a nonchalant tone and his use of a third-person point of view. Johnson describes the coming of age as a lively time in one’s life. Sir John has turned twenty-one and he has inherited a great deal of money. John was admonished to “show the spirit of an heir” (line 12) and to “call the Bettys, Kates, and Jennys” (line 9). Johnson’s view on adulthood is very relaxed and he views it as a time to experience life. In line 17-18, John was told that “Wealth ... was made to wander, let it wander as it will.” Johnson shows that John should enjoy his newfound wealth and allow it to spend. “Scorn their counsel and their pother,” John was advised to overlook any fuss made about his “wilful waste” (line 26). Johnson had the ambition to live life as if it were to end the next day.
The two poems captured getting older in two

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