a poem by robert graves, published in 1919.
ADVICE TO LOVERS
I knew an old man at a fair
Who made it his twice-yearly task
To clamber on a cider cask
And cry to all the lovers there : –
‘Lovers of all lands and all time
Preserve the meaning of my rhyme,
Love is not kindly nor yet grim
But does to you as you to him.
Whistle, and Love will come to you :
Hiss, and he fades without a word :
Do wrong, and he great wrong will do :
Speak, and he tells what he has heard.
Then all you lovers take good heed,
Vex not young Love in thought or deed :
Love never leaves an unpaid debt,
He will not pardon, nor forget.’
The old man’s voice was kind yet loud
And this shows what a man was he,
He’d scatter apples to the crowd
And give great draughts of cider free.