Cobbers and Quids

Is youth not less pedantic, less absurd,
Less prone to value things of little worth
In failing to wax wrath about a word
That bears suspicion of a lowly birth?
All words have known their low and vulgar days
Known grime and poverty when they were young;
And many a proud and pompous modern phrase
Was once the plaything of a common tongue.

But as we grow respectable and staid
Mere sound, to middle-age, parades as sense.
Grey slaves of precedent, we grow afraid
Of youth and all its sane inconsequence.
Forgetting words are no god-given things,
With queer intolerance we would insist
In terms to which the mould of ages clings
On purity that never did exist.

Language is not the gift of any god;
Rude tribesmen made it when the race was young;
And as around the weary earth we plod
Still the illiterate enrich the tongue;
And still while careless youth goes gaily rid
Of age's caution, precedent and pence,
Better a cobber who'll lend half a quid
Than all the thrifty pedant's 'commonsense.'

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"Cobbers and Quids" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 10 Dec. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6260/cobbers-and-quids>.

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