Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Cupid Growing Gray-haired.
    Many a man's first love is old enough to be his
mother, and his last love young enough to be
his daughter.  Cupid is no respecter of ages, and
he often plays most fantastic tricks, just to amuse
himself, it would seem.
    There is a monotony in shooting arrows into the
heart of twenty-one and eighteen.  He finds little
variety in such toil, and must needs seek something
new and diverting to render his eternal labors
interesting.  Ask almost any man to tell you the
absolute truth about his first experience with the
god of love, and he will confess that in his teens he
was enamored of a woman in her thirties.
    To the immature maturity is fascinating, and
there is a certain shyness in the early romantic
emotions of a young man's heart, which, like the
mist of morning, disappears only in the ardent rays
of the sun.
    The undeveloped youth thinks the well-seasoned
coquette or the alluring widow or the flirtish mar-
ried woman far more attractive than the girls of his
own age.  This is because they explain him to
himself.  We are such wonderful and fascinating
puzzles to ourselves in the beginning of life!
    But after a man has been explained to himself, he
ceases to care for women wise in love's lore, and
prefers to become an instructor to the ignorant.
    This proves to be such alluring pastime, that many
men keep it up after one decrepit foot is in the
    As a man's years increase, so his admiration for
youth increases.
    Blessings brighten as they take their flight, and
to all of us, as we face the sober realities of life,
youth seems the one perfect gift of the gods.
    Youth is nature's exhilarating "cock-tail," with
the cherry of happiness at the bottom of the glass.
    It is not strange that when an old man seeks a
companion for his declining years, he should want
her to be young.  It is not strange, but, as a rule,
it is most unwise.
    When an old man takes this kind of stimulant, he
is liable to wake up with a head and heart ache
    I have known a girl of twenty to really love in
the most romantic manner a man almost forty years
her senior.  He was handsome, gifted and in
affluent circumstances.  Whether she would have
consented to become his wife had he been poor, as
women accept life with poor young men whom they
love, is a question.  Youth can be picturesque in
poverty, but age needs all the refining embellish-
ments and the dignity of wealth to render it attrac-
tive or even supportable in the eyes of the young.
    I have seen youth so radiant and beautiful that it
made one forget tattered and even soiled garments!
But an untidy old person is a shock to every
    Yet with all that wealth can do to render age
agreeable, nature has placed well-nigh insurmount-
able obstacles in the way of happiness for an old
man and a young bride.
    Age wants repose; youth wants distraction.  Age
grows sleepy after dinner; youth, like a bird of
prey, longs to fly forth and devour pleasure through
the night hours.
    Age loves reverie; youth loves discovery.  Age is
inclined to economy; youth to expenditure.  One
favors seclusion; the other likes to be seen and to
    Age has been through everything and says there
is nothing to it.  Youth wants to find out for itself
if age holds the correct view.
    Marriage, to be really happy, needs to unite peo-
ple of similar tastes; however dissimilar in temper-
ament they may be.   It is not necessary that all
the tastes should be similar; but unless some of their
ideas of pleasure and of duty correspond, they will
find the marital partnership a sad failure.  And it
is not in the nature of things that youth and age
should take the same view of life.  Though we hear
very often of the mating of an old man and a young
woman, it is only now and then we hear of a young
man taking an old wife to his bosom.
    When we do hear of such cases we laugh, for it
seems grotesque.  If we stopped to think about it,
perhaps we should realize that it is pathetic, and
give tears instead of laughter.
    The old man knows he is old, but believes the
young woman loves him as he is; but the old woman
believes she is young, and there is where the pathos
comes in.
    Strangely enough, old men's lives seem to be
prolonged by marriage with young wives; but, on
the contrary, mature women who wed young hus-
bands seldom live many years afterward.
    A bright woman argued with me the other day in
favor of rich old widows choosing young husbands.
    "Why should a wealthy old lady not purchase a
young husband if it pleases her to do so, and him to
be bought?  she asked me.  "Nobody criticises her
when she pays $500 for a poodle or many thousands
for a fine horse.  Now, if her taste and fancy lead
toward a young man instead, no one should com-
ment or criticise."
    But we are all prone to make comments upon our
neighbors' affairs and to criticise others' actions.
And, after all, if nobody said anything about any-
body, what a dull time there would be in society!

    When by December staid and sober,
        Sly Cupid with his bowspring walks,
    It is not matronly October
        Who forms the subject of their talks.
    Not even luscious, ripe September,
    Can interest gay, old December.
    Instead of dry leaves, sere and yellow,
        They talk of fair leaves, fresh and green;
    For Cupid, rascally young fellow,
        Knows all the tricks of trade, I ween.
    He talks of Spring in such a fashion,
    It fires December's heart with passion.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.

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