When I Was One and Twenty

Topics: The Riches, Alfred Edward Housman, Wiseman Pages: 1 (271 words) Published: February 6, 2014
Tyler Jones
Brown
Eng. 12/ p.2

When I was One-and-Twenty

In the poem, When I Was One-And-Twenty, by A. E. Housman, the author begins by describing the setting around the time when he was twenty-one. He mentions how an older man had given him some advice. The wise man could possibly be a mentor, father, grandfather, or another male figure in the author’s life. The wise man tells the author, “Give crowns and pounds and guineas, but not your heart away.” The man means that you can give away your materials and riches, but be careful as to not give your heart away so young. In the next few lines, the value of the riches increases to rubies and pearls. “Give pearls and rubies, but keep your fancy free.” Again the man is saying to give away material but keep your heart safe. In the third stanza he is warned once more by the man that giving you heart away young will cost you more than any material or type of riches will. He is also told that if given away in any rush, he will be left with a heart filled with pain. In the last two lines the author says, “And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.” Now the author is admitting that he did not follow the advice of the wise man and is now in rue of the decision he had made. The poem is almost too vague to put a theme behind it but one would assume the theme is to not give your heart away to young, it may end in despair.
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