Crabbed Age and Youth, Poem Summary

Topics: ChildPoetry

Crabbed Age and Youth Summary

Crabbed Age and Youth’ is quite a self-explanatory poem. You wouldn’t really have to delve into the poem too much to discover that it’s about a person who despises the effects of aging, and as a consequence praises the youths. I would like to mention that no-one really knows who had written this poem, one poet who is also supposed to have written this poem is a man called Thomas Deloney, who died a year after ‘crabbed age and youth’ was written.

Crabbed Age and Youth: Theme

Consequently it makes sense if he had composed this poem because the poet seems to be jealous of the youth or even have resentment towards youth altogether, due to the line ‘Age I do abhor thee, Youth I do adore thee. ’Also Shakespeare tended to write in iambic pentameter, which this poem is not. Therefore I will be saying that the poet is Deloney. Despite this if I interpret this poem to refer to the relationship between a child and parent, and then ultimately the poet who has written this is of no significance.

Initially when you read this you can see that Deloney seems to have a stereotypical of view of those who are older. We know this because he says, “age is weak and cold, ‘age is lame’ and ‘age’s breath is short’. However, if you were to interpret the poem to demonstrate a parent-child relationship, then the poem can be taken in a new, different way.

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Consequently ‘age’ would represent a parent and ‘youth’ would represent a child. You could say that due to the fact that the view is so stereotypical that the poem is written by someone young, because they have not experienced what it is like to be old.

On the other hand you could argue that the use of similes and metaphors show an opinion which is adamant and sure, which means that someone has experience of being old, because they have no hesitancy in how being old feels. Throughout the poem the words ‘age’ and ‘youth’ only appear on the same stanza together 3 times. Perhaps this was done purposely to demonstrate how different parents and children are, in the sense that each both play different roles to each other.

The 3 times of which the words appear to be on the same line could indicate that perhaps there is a similarity in the roles that both parent and child represents. For example a child needs care, the parents take care of them, but when the parents become elderly and unable to care for themselves, the children must look after their parents, in which case their roles are almost reversed. This theme of dependency and effects of ageing in a parent child relationship is also portrayed in ‘Follower’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

The title of “Crabbed Age and Youth” is important because it gives us an idea of Deloney’s view of age or the view of the persona he plays immediately. One could argue that the word ‘crabbed’ is being used to describe both ‘age and youth’, but in my opinion, once reading the whole poem through, I believe that Deloney is only talking about ‘age’. The word crabbed actually means complicated, or someone who complains a lot, and this is how he presents ‘age’ to us by using imagery ‘age like winter’, and by describing age to be ‘weak and cold’.

After all judging by how stereotypical the poet is it would be absurd to believe that the composer is talking about youth after praising them so dearly. Although the poet is describing age to be ‘crabbed’, I think that this is not really thought through very well, because to be honest children are more demanding, and when they do not get something they want, they cry or get in a bad mood, or you could say become ‘crabbed youth’.

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Crabbed Age and Youth, Poem Summary. (2017, Oct 27). Retrieved from

Crabbed Age and Youth, Poem Summary
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