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Greybeards at Play

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By: (1874-1936)

G.K. Chesterton's first publication, "Greybeards at Play" is a collection of poetry and accompanying illustrations. The work is marked by the irreverent whimsy and ancient delight that would eventually be recognized as Chesterton's signature style. Short (only four poems long and a dedication), playful, and with a touch of awe, Chesterton's first piece (written at 26) is appropriately titled: it is the work of an amateur, mature in his spirit, young in his play. -

First Page:


Literature And Art For Old Gentlemen

Rhymes and Sketches by


London: R. Brimley Johnson 8, York Buildings, Adelphi




He was, through boyhood's storm and shower, My best, my nearest friend; We wore one hat, smoked one cigar, One standing at each end.

We were two hearts with single hope, Two faces in one hood; I knew the secrets of his youth; I watched his every mood.

The little things that none but I Saw were beyond his wont, The streaming hair, the tie behind, The coat tails worn in front.

I marked the absent minded scream, The little nervous trick Of rolling in the grate, with eyes By friendship's light made quick.

But youth's black storms are gone and past, Bare is each aged brow; And, since with age we're growing bald, Let us be babies now.

Learning we knew; but still to day, With spelling book devotion, Words of one syllable we seek In moments of emotion.

Riches we knew; and well dressed dolls Dolls living who expressed No filial thoughts, however much You thumped them in the chest... Continue reading book >>

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