Cakes and Ale — and Young People!

While I was lying awake at quarter to four this morning (a normal occurrence) a jingly poem leaped into my mind, and frolicked there for quite a while. I didn’t remember all of it, but I knew the ending for sure was “And King David wrote the Psalms.” So this morning when fully awake I Googled it, and here it is:

King David and King Solomon led merry, merry lives,

With many, many lady friends and many many wives;

But when old age crept over them, with many, many qualms,

King Solomon wrote the Proverbs and King David wrote the Psalms.

King David

(Here’s King David long after Bathsheba and his other ladies, in the throes of composing a psalm.)

I never knew the poem was actually written by anyone, but it was, and that someone turns out to be James Ball Naylor, a versifier and novelist of the turn of the 20th century. I knew for sure, however, that the poem came to me for a reason, and the reason is this: later today we — grandparents in our ‘seventies and ‘eighties — are expecting a weekend visit from two granddaughters, 22 and 21 respectively.

Some of you may remember them, a little younger, from this post:

Two Charming Butterflies

The elder of the two (and first-born grandchild) invented the title of Papat for The Hub. It was her approximation of Grandfather, and it so charmed him that he refused to hear of its ever being changed. It sounded like Grandpa, he said, in an obscure Central European language. I demanded my own equivalent, which turned out to be Pamma. To this day we are Papat and Pamma to all seven grandchildren.

The jingly poem diverted me in insomnia, but it came with a more profound mission than that. It seems to me there’s a moral attached to the poem, which is, that it’s easy to forget the follies and frivols and fads of our own youth, and look with a jaundiced eye on today’s young people. It’s easy to forget — and fatal.

Papat and I may be of an age where proverbs and psalms are appropriate, but we mustn’t, we oldies, forget the music and the dancing. We’ll remember to rejoice this weekend with our granddaughters, and take delight, not only in our nicknames, but in their exuberances and rejoicings.

Shakespeare always has a word, or a line, for any idea or occasion, and this is no exception:

Dost thou think,Β because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?

Let’s hear it, then, for the cakes and the ale and the young people!

This entry was posted in Etcetera, Happiness, Personal Essay, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Cakes and Ale — and Young People!

  1. Angelia Sims says:

    That is so awesome! Two beautiful granddaughters! I love your names too. Such a cute story. My step-dad was called Poppy to all the grandkids. I guess we will see how it turns out with ours. πŸ™‚


  2. Sonel says:

    Your granddaughters sure are beauties and I love the masks! So colourful and pretty and they invented such cute names for you and hubby. Enjoy the weekend and have lots of fun. We are never too old to dance and enjoy cake and ale. πŸ™‚ *hugs*


  3. Enjoy cakes and ale and love, my friend, enjoy!!


  4. Pauline says:

    Aren’t grandchildren grand? Yours are beautiful. Enjoy every moment as Papat and Pamma!


  5. Cheers, and yup yup. We were young once, too.


  6. Kavita Joshi says:

    lovely story..thanks a lot for sharing..enjoyed it


  7. 2e0mca says:

    I say – Join in with the youngsters and grow old disgracefully πŸ™‚ There’s too much of the ‘They have it so easy these days’ going on. They really don’t – they’re expected to learn about things that were just a twinkle on the horizon when I was at school! But keeping up with them is a great way to engage our own interest in life and the ever changing world around us πŸ™‚ And if we can occasionally bring the voice of experience to help them on their way – then that’s all to the good!


  8. Madhu says:

    Well said! Those that take delight in their exuberances, remain young, at heart at least. Enjoy the cakes and ale πŸ™‚


  9. Such cute names! I say bring on the music and dancing. Grow older but never grow old. Rejoice and stay young at heart! πŸ™‚


  10. mybrightlife says:

    I find special nicknames to be such an expression of love!


  11. Patti Kuche says:

    And I am sure your beautiful granddaughters absolutely enjoyed having their Papat and Pamma with them to celebrate, to sing and dance!


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