When Uncle Doc Was Young

Though Doctor Glen — the best of men —
Is wrinkled, old, and gray,
He'll always smile and stop a while
Where little children play:
And often then he tells us, when
He was a youngster, too,
He was as glad and bad a lad
As old folks ever knew!

As he walks down, no boy in town
But sees him half a block,
And stops to shout a welcome out
With " Here comes Uncle Doc! "
Then all the rest, they look their best
As he lines up among
Us boys of ten — each thinking then
When Uncle Doc was young.

We run to him! — Though grave and grim,
With voice pitched high and thin,
He still reveals the joy he feels
In all that he has been:
With heart too true, and honest, too,
To ever hide a truth,
He frankly owns, in laughing tones,
He was " a sorry youth! " —

When he was young, he says, he sung
And howled his level-best;
He says he guyed, and sneaked, and lied,
And wrecked the robin's nest. —
All this, and worse, will he rehearse,
Then smooth his snowy locks
And look the saint he says he ain't. . . .
Them eyes of Uncle Doc's!

He says, when he — like you and me —
Was just too low and mean
To slap asleep, he used to weep
To find his face was clean:
His hair, he said, was just too red
To tell with mortal tongue —
" The Burning Shame " was his nickname
When Uncle Doc was young.
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