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A. A. Milne

The Alchemist

There lives an old man at the top of the street,

And the end of his beard reaches down to his feet,

And he's just the one person I'm longing to meet,

I think that he sounds so exciting;

For he talks all the day to his tortoiseshell cat,

And he asks about this, and explains about that,

And at night he puts on a big wide-awake hat

And sits in the writing-room, writing.

He has worked all his life (and he's terribly old)

At a wonderful spell which says, "Lo, and behold!

Your nursery fender is gold!"—and it's gold!

(Or the tongs, or the rod for the curtain);

But somehow he hasn't got hold of it quite,

Or the liquid you pour on it first isn't right,

So that's why he works at it night after night

Till he knows he can do it for certain.