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-AncientPoemsBalladsSongsOfThePeasantryOfEngland); supposedly printed in broadside by Thackeray before 1700 [according to Dixon-AncientPoemsBalladsSongsOfThePeasantryOfEngland]; c. 1790 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 3(39))
KEYWORDS: age drink hardtimes
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Dixon-AncientPoemsBalladsSongsOfThePeasantryOfEngland, Poem #2, pp. 7-10, "The Life and Age of Man" (1 text)
Bell-Combined-EarlyBallads-CustomsBalladsSongsPeasantryEngland, pp. 240-242, "The Life and Age of Man" (1 text)
Broadwood-EnglishTraditionalSongsAndCarols, 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 [138 words]: 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

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