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Paul Laurence Dunbar

A Border Ballad

Oh, I haven't got long to live, for we all

Die soon, e'en those who live longest;

And the poorest and weakest are taking their chance

Along with the richest and strongest.

So it's heigho for a glass and a song,

And a bright eye over the table,

And a dog for the hunt when the game is flush,

And the pick of a gentleman's stable.

There is Dimmock o' Dune, he was here yesternight,

But he's rotting to-day on Glen Arragh;

'Twas the hand o' MacPherson that gave him the blow,

And the vultures shall feast on his marrow.

But it's heigho for a brave old song

And a glass while we are able;

Here's a health to death and another cup

To the bright eye over the table.

I can show a broad back and a jolly deep chest,

But who argues now on appearance?

A blow or a thrust or a stumble at best

May send me to-day to my clearance.

Then it's heigho for the things I love,

My mother'll be soon wearing sable,

But give me my horse and my dog and my glass,

And a bright eye over the table.