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For Conrad Aiken’s Ninety-Ninth Birthday

Four years and four decades ago
Your notice taught me what I’ld owe
To one who, an acknowledged Prince,
Has guided critics ever since:
No trifling feat. Now that you’re eighty,
Whichever others may grow pratey,
Your wit’s as fresh, as quick, as weighty.
A wonder, this, to more than laity;
To all a cause of joy and gaiety.
Alas! There’s no nice rime for “ninety,”
Except some brash young word like “pinty.”
And should we charge on to an-hundred,
You’ld say, no doubt, “Someone’d blunderèd.”

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