Ages of Man, The

DESCRIPTION: "In prime of years, when I was young, I took delight in youthful toys." "At seven years old I was a child." "At twice seven, I must needs go learn." "At three times seven, I waxed wild." The singer tells of life seven years at a time and prepares to ldie
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1846 (Dixon-Peasantry); supposedly printed in broadside by Thackeray before 1700 [according to Dixon-Peasantry]; c. 1790 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 3(39))
KEYWORDS: age drink hardtimes
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Dixon-Peasantry, Poem #2, pp. 7-10, "The Life and Age of Man" (1 text)
Bell-Combined, pp. 240-242, "The Life and Age of Man" (1 text)
BroadwoodCarols, pp. 20-21, "The Ages of Man" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #617
Bodleian, Harding B 3(39), "The Age of Man, displayed in ten different stages of life" ("In prime of years when I was young"), J. Evans and Co. (London), c1790; also 2806 c.16(317), "The Age of Man, displayed in ten stages of life"; Harding B 28(230), "The Ten Stages of Human Life"; Harding B 17(2a), Firth c.21(47), "Age of Man"; Harding B 15(279b), "The Seven Ages of Man" [apparently a printer, Such, decision to omit stage 8, 9 and the conclusion; in some other broadsides those verses are printed in a second column under some other song ...]; Firth c.21(46), "The Seven Ages of Man" [... as in this case where Such prints the final three verses "(continued.)" in a second column]
NOTES: Jean Ingelow wrote a poem, "Seven Times One" or "The Song of Seven," published, e.g., on p. 126 of Jean Ingelow, [The Poetical Words of Jean Ingelow] (N.B. Poems is the common title of this work, but my copy simply says Jean Ingelow on the cover and spine, and has no title page. Nor is there a copyright claim; the dedication is from 1863, but the book seems to have been published by T. Y. Crowell & Co. in the 1870s). This follows the same format as this song, being a child's account of life at seven-times-one, seven-times-two, etc., although it does not reach the age of seventy as in this song. But the similarities are enough that I suspect some sort of dependence.
The song's reference to ten times seven being the end of life is presumably a reference to Psalm 90:10, "The years of our lives are three score and ten." - RBW
Last updated in version 2.8
File: LEBC20

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.