A Short Song of Congratulation

By Samuel Johnson

Edited by Jack Lynch

The text comes from the third edition of Boswell’s Life (London, 1799). Please send corrections to Jack Lynch.

Long-expected one-and-twenty,
   Ling’ring year at last has flown;
Pomp and pleasure, pride and plenty,
   Great *** ****, are now your own.

Loosen’d from the Minor’s tether, [5]
   Free to mortgage or to sell,
Wild as wind, and light as feather,
   Bid the sons of thrift farewell.

Call the Betseys, Kates, and Jennies,
   Ev’ry name that laughs at care: [10]
Lavish of your grandsire’s guineas,
   Shew the spirit of an heir.

All that prey on vice and folly
   Joy to see their quarry fly;
Here the gamester, light and jolly, [15]
   There the lender, grave and sly.

Wealth, my lad, was made to wander,
   Let it wander as it will;
Call the jockey, call the pander,
   Bid them come and take their fill. [20]

When the bonny blade carouses,
   Pockets full, and spirits high —
What are acres? what are houses?
   Only dirt, or wet or dry.

Should the guardian friend or mother [25]
   Tell the woes of willful waste;
Scorn their counsel, scorn their pother —
   You can hang or drown at last.