An old woman sits afraid of every tick of a clock or sound thinking it brings her closer to death.
THERE was an old woman, I cannot tell who;
But if you’re a young one, it could not be you;
Who sitting quite still, and not speaking a word,
Was greatly disturbed by a ticking she heard.
“Oh! alack! a death-watch,” said the dame, “I declare,
I wish you’d have done,” said she, jogging her chair;
I had rather hear five hundred pigs in a breath,
Than that frightful ticking, that augurs my death.”
Said the insect, “Old Dame, that must be a mistake:
You know not at all why this ticking I make;
If I choose to keep knocking my head as I do,
I am certain of this, that it’s nothing to you.”
“But there is a sound which you constantly hear,
That old folks and young have more reason to fear;
That clock as it ticks, nibbles minutes away,
The stuff life is made of, as I have heard say.
“Cunning men, their machines and their engines among,
Never yet made a mill to grind old people young;
But there if you look you’ll not fail to behold
A mill that for certain grinds young people old;
And more than all this, that machine, it is said,
Grinds old people older, until they are dead!”