Study of the head of an old man, Peter Paul Rubens (Ulm 1610-1615)

 This painting is on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History) in Vienna, Austria (site).

compiled by Dee Finney



Sons of Ind, why sit ye idle,

Wait ye for some Deva's aid?

Buckle to, be up and doing!

Nations by themselves are made!

Yours the land, lives, all, at stake, tho'

Not by you the cards are played;

Are ye dumb? Speak up and claim them!

By themselves are nations made!

What avail your wealth, your learning,

Empty titles, sordid trade?

True self-rule were worth them all!

Nations by themselves are made!

Whispered murmurs darkly creeping,

Hidden worms beneath the glade,

Not by such shall wrong be righted!

Nations by themselves are made!

Are ye Serfs or are ye Freemen,

Ye that grovel in the shade?

In your own hands rest the issues!

By themselves are nations made!

Sons of Ind, be up and doing,

Let your course by none be stayed;

Lo! the Dawn is in the East;

By themselves are nations made!


11-7-08 - THE OLD MAN -

DREAM -  It seemed to be in Milwaukee, WI.  I was listening to people recite poetry at a park, and someone said, "Compare the 'old man' from poem to poem", so I planned to do that.

Then after dinner we took a drive down Wisconsin Avenue toward the east to see the Art Center and Lake Michigan and the parkway along the lake.

One of the boys in the car said, "Wait until you see City Hall, it's all lit up with lights shining up into the sky, and it looks amazing in the fog to see these rays of light shining up out of it."

As we drove along Wisconsin Avenue, we could see lights shining up into the sky,  but we couldn't see City Hall itself because another tall building was blocking our view.

There was a large red air liner up in the sky flying east. a bit farther north of us and we looked out of the car window, waved and yelled at it, "Look down!  Look down!" hoping the passengers would see our City hall as they flew over it.

Finally we got past the tall building and there stood a huge green copper statue of a  man which was on top if City hall, but City hall itself had been dropped straight down into its own footprint.  the lights were still shining up from around the green copper man and a huge American flag flew in the wind behind the statue. 

It was an awesome sight to see.


Basic Facts About Milwaukee City Hall

A Factual and Historical Glance
The Common Council decided to build a new city hall in 1889; before that, city government had been scattered around in rented rooms and some of the buildings had been destroyed by fire. Construction was authorized by a Common Council resolution in 1890 and on August 29, 1891, a resolution was passed calling for a City Hall design contest. The contest drew eleven applicants on a nation-wide basis with a wide variety if concepts and ideas. The plans of Henry C. Koch and Company were chosen. The building – which cost just over $1 million to construct – was completed in 1895.

The Flemish Renaissance inspired building required eight million bricks, weighs approximately 41,000 tons, has more than 47,000 sq. feet of mosaic and marble flooring, and features approximately 107,000 sq. feet of office and meeting space. The building was one of the first to feature an extensive open atrium, of 20 by 70 feet, rising eight stories in the building's center. During the Great Depression, seven people jumped to their deaths, and an eighth died of a stroke after one of the jumpers nearly missed him. Afterwards, in 1935, protective wiring was placed around the center rails of the floors to prevent accidents and suicides and remained in place until Mayor John O. Norquist took office in 1988. The building measures 393 feet from the base of the bell tower to the top of the flagpole, making it Milwaukee's sixth largest. The flagpole measures 40 feet in length.

Note: In the year 2008. the building's bricks are being tuck-pointed.

Bell Tower
The 22,500 pound bell – named "Solomon Juneau" after Milwaukee's first mayor – was fabricated from melted copper and tin old church and firehouse bells around the City, and was hoisted to the tower in 1896, first chiming on New Year's Eve. While Milwaukee's Allen-Bradley building (Rockwell Automation) features the world's largest four-sided clock, City Hall's 18-foot clock was believed to be the world's third largest when it was fabricated.

Statue of Solomon Juneau against the backdrop of Lake Michigan

Solomon Juneau (1793 – 1856)

Photo credit: Milwaukee Public Library

  • 1793: Born Solomon Juneau in Repentigny, Montreal, Canada
  • 1808  Became voyageur and headed west with trading company
              He was a fur trader, land speculator.
  • 1818: Met Jacques Vieau, became his clerk and took up residence with Vieau family
  • 1818: Settled “Juneautown” in area east of Milwaukee River
  • 1820: Married Josette Juneau, Jacques Vieau’s daughter
  • 1825: Juneau and wife, Josette set up trading post on what is now N. Water and E. Wisconsin Ave. The Juneau’s were very successful and developed good relationships with the Native Americans
  • 1831: Became an American citizen
  • Juneau built the first store and first tavern
  • 1835: Became Milwaukee’s first postmaster
  • 1837: Became the first village president
  • 1837: Launched the Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper, which would become the oldest continuously operating business in Wisconsin
  • 1846: Became first mayor of Milwaukee; one of the three founders of the city of Milwaukee
  • 1848: Left Milwaukee and founded the settlement of Theresa
  • 1856: Died and is buried at Calvary Cemetery


An Old Man's Winter Night
by Robert Frost
1874 –1963

All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him -- at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; -- and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man -- one man -- can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.


The Little Boy and the Old Man
by Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that too."
The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.  

T.S. Eliot

The Waste Land


April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain, we stopped in the colonnade,
And went into the sunlight into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch
And when we were children staying at the archduke's
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled<
And I was frightened He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight And down we went
In the mountains, there you feel free
I read much of the night, and go south in the winter

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of the stony rubbish" Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock)<
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
I will show you fear in a handful of dust
Frisch weht der Wind:
Der Heimat zu.
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?
You gave me hyacinths first a year ago.
"They called me the hyacinth girl."
-- Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence
Od' und leer das Meer.


An Old Man's Thought of School


[For the Inauguration of a Public School, Camden, New Jersey, 1874]

An old man's thought of school,
An old man gathering youthful memories and blooms that youth itself cannot.

Now only do I know you,
O fair auroral skies--O morning dew upon the grass!

And these I see, these sparkling eyes,
These stores of mystic meaning, these young lives,
Building, equipping like a fleet of ships, immortal ships,
Soon to sail out over the measureless seas,
On the soul's voyage.

Only a lot of boys and girls?
Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes?
Only a public school?

Ah more, infinitely more;
(As George Fox rais'd his warning cry, "Is it this pile of brick and
mortar, these dead floors, windows, rails, you call the church?
Why this is not the church at all--the church is living, ever living souls.")

And you America,
Cast you the real reckoning for your present?
The lights and shadows of your future, good or evil?
To girlhood, boyhood look, the teacher and the school.



The Wild Old Wicked Man

by William Butler Yeats (W. B. Yeats)

‘Because I am mad about women
I am mad about the hills,’
Said that wild old wicked man
Who travels where God wills.
‘Not to die on the straw at home.
Those hands to close these eyes,
That is all I ask, my dear,
From the old man in the skies.’
                                                      Day-break and a candle end.


‘Kind are all your words, my dear,
Do not the rest withhold.
Who can know the year, my dear,
when an old man’s blood grows cold.’
I have what no young man can have
Because he loves too much.
Words I have that can pierce the heart,
But what can he do but touch?’
                                              Day-break and a candle end.


Then said she to that wild old man,
His stout stick under his hand,
‘Love to give or to withhold
Is not at my command.
I gave it all to an older man:
That old man in the skies.
Hands that are busy with His beads
Can never close those eyes.’
                                                 Day-break and a candle end.


‘Go your ways, O go your ways,
I choose another mark,
Girls down on the seashore
Who understand the dark;
Bawdy talk for the fishermen;
A dance for the fisher lads;
When dark hangs upon the water
They turn down their beds.’
                                                      Day-break and a candle end.


‘A young man in the dark am I
But a wild old man in the light
That can make a cat laugh, or
Can touch by mother wit
Things hid in their marrow-bones
From time long passed away,
Hid from all those warty lads
That by their bodies lay.’
                                                     Day-break and a candle end.


‘All men live in suffering
I know as few can know,
Whether they take the upper road
Or stay content on the low,
Rower bent in his row-boat
Or weaver bent at his loom,
Horsemen erect upon horseback
Or child hid in the womb.’
                                                   Day-break and a candle end.


‘That some stream of lightning
From the old man in the skies
Can burn out that suffering
No right taught man denies.
But a coarse old man am I,
I choose the second-best,
I forget it all awhile
Upon a woman’s breast.’
Day-break and a candle end.

Used with permission of A P Watt Ltd on behalf of Gráinne Yeats.

Source: The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (Simon and Schuster, 1996).


 William Butler Yeats

A Prayer For Old Age

God guard me from those thoughts
 men think In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;
From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song's sake a fool?
I pray -- for word is out
And prayer comes round again --
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.

Born in Dublin, Ireland,
William Butler Yeats
was an enormously influential poet and playwright.

More Poems by William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats (W. B. Yeats) (1865 - 1939)

William Butler Yeats is widely acknowledged as the greatest poet of the twentieth century. He belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the seventeenth century. Most members of this minority considered themselves English people who merely happened to have been born in Ireland, but Yeats was staunch in affirming his Irish nationality. Although he lived in London for fourteen years of his childhood (and kept a permanent home there during the first half of his adult life), Yeats maintained his cultural roots, featuring Irish legends and heroes in many of his poems and plays. He was equally firm in adhering to his self-image as an artist. This conviction led many to accuse him of elitism, but it also unquestionably contributed to his greatness. As fellow poet W. H. Auden noted in a 1948 Kenyon Review essay entitled "Yeats as an Example," Yeats accepted the modern necessity of having to make a lonely and deliberate "choice of the principles and presuppositions in terms of which [made] sense of his experience." Auden assigned Yeats the high praise of having written "some of the most beautiful poetry" of modern times.

Eighteen eighty-five was an important year in Yeats's early adult life, marking the first publication, in the Dublin University Review, of his poetry and the beginning of his important interest in occultism. It was also the year that he met John O'Leary, a famous patriot who had returned to Ireland after totaling twenty years of imprisonment and exile for revolutionary nationalistic activities. O'Leary had a keen enthusiasm for Irish books, music, and ballads, and he encouraged young writers to adopt Irish subjects. Yeats, who had preferred more romantic settings and themes, soon took O'Leary's advice, producing many poems based on Irish legends, Irish folklore, and Irish ballads and songs. As he explained in a note included in the 1908 volume Collected Works in Verse and Prose of William Butler Yeats: "When I first wrote I went here and there for my subjects as my reading led me, and preferred to all other countries Arcadia and the India of romance, but presently I convinced myself ... that I should never go for the scenery of a poem to any country but my own, and I think that I shall hold to that conviction to the end."

As Yeats began concentrating his poetry on Irish subjects, he was compelled to accompany his family in moving to London at the end of 1886. There he continued to devote himself to Irish subjects, writing poems, plays, novels, and short stories—all with Irish characters and scenes. In addition, he produced book reviews, usually on Irish topics. The most important event in Yeats's life during these London years, however, was his acquaintance with Maud Gonne, a tall, beautiful, prominent young woman passionately devoted to Irish nationalism. Yeats soon fell in love with Gonne, and for nearly three decades he courted her; although he eventually learned that she had already borne two children from a long affair, with Gonne's encouragement Yeats redoubled his dedication to Irish nationalism and produced such nationalistic plays as "The Countess Kathleen" (1892), which he dedicated to her, and "Cathleen ni Houlihan" (1902), which featured her as the personification of Ireland in the title role.

Gonne also shared Yeats's interest in occultism and spiritualism. Yeats had been a theosophist, but in 1890 he turned from its sweeping mystical insights and joined the Golden Dawn, a secret society that practiced ritual magic. The society offered instruction and initiation in a series of ten levels, the three highest of which were unattainable except by magi (who were thought to possess the secrets of supernatural wisdom and enjoy magically extended lives). Yeats was fascinated by the possibility of becoming a magi, and he became convinced that the mind was capable of perceiving past the limits of materialistic rationalism. Yeats remained an active member of the Golden Dawn for thirty-two years, becoming involved in its direction at the turn of the century and achieving the coveted sixth grade of membership in 1914, the same year that his future wife, Georgiana Hyde-Lees, also joined the society.

Although Yeats's occult ambitions were a powerful force in his private thoughts, the Golden Dawn's emphasis on the supernatural clashed with his own need—as a poet—for interaction in the physical world, and thus in his public role he preferred to follow the example of John Keats, a Romantic poet who remained—in comparison with Romantics William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley—relatively close to the materials of life. Yeats avoided what he considered the obscurity of Blake, whose poetic images came from mystical visions rather than from the familiar physical world. Even so, Yeats's visionary and idealist interests were more closely aligned with those of Blake—and Shelley—than with those of Keats, and in the 1899 collection The Wind among the Reeds he featured several poems employing occult symbolism.

Most of Yeats's poetry, however, used symbols from ordinary life and from familiar traditions, and much of his poetry in the 1890s continued to reflect his interest in Irish subjects. During this decade he also became increasingly interested in poetic techniques. He befriended English decadent poet Lionel Johnson, and in 1890 they helped found the Rhymers' Club, a group of London poets who met to read and discuss their poems. The Rhymers placed a very high value on subjectivity and craftsmanship and preferred sophisticated aestheticism to nationalism. The club's influence is reflected in the lush density of Yeats's poetry of the times, culminating in The Wind among the Reeds (1899). Although Yeats was soon to abandon that lush density, he remained permanently committed to the Rhymers' insistence that a poet should labor "at rhythm and cadence, at form and style"—as he reportedly told a Dublin audience in 1893.

The turn of the century marked Yeats's increased interest in theatre, an interest influenced by his father, a famed artist and orator whose love of highly dramatic moments in literature certainly contributed to Yeats's lifelong interest in drama. In the summer of 1897 the author enjoyed his first stay at Coole Park, the County Galway estate of Lady Augusta Gregory. There he devised, with Lady Gregory and her neighbor Edward Martyn, plans for promoting an innovative, native Irish drama. In 1899 they staged the first of three annual productions in Dublin, including Yeats's "The Countess Kathleen," and in 1902 they supported a company of amateur Irish actors in staging both George Russell's Irish legend "Deirdre" and Yeats's "Cathleen ni Houlihan." The success of these productions led to the founding of the Irish National Theatre Society with Yeats as president. With a wealthy sponsor volunteering to pay for the renovation of Dublin's Abbey Theatre as a permanent home for the company, the theatre opened on December 27, 1904, and included plays by the company's three directors: Lady Gregory, John M. Synge (whose 1907 production "The Playboy of the Western World" would spark controversy with its savage comic depiction of Irish rural life), and Yeats, who was represented that night with "On Baile's Strand," the first of his several plays featuring heroic ancient Irish warrior Cuchulain.

During the entire first decade of the twentieth century Yeats was extremely active in the management of the Abbey Theatre company, choosing plays, hiring and firing actors and managers, and arranging tours for the company. At this time he also wrote ten plays, and the simple, direct style of dialogue required for the stage became an important consideration in his poems as well. He abandoned the heavily elaborated style of The Wind among the Reeds in favor of conversational rhythms and radically simpler diction. This transformation in his poetic style can be traced in his first three collections of the twentieth century: In the Seven Woods (1903), The Green Helmet and Other Poems (1910), and Responsibilities (1914). Several poems in those collections use style as their subject. For example, in "A Coat," written in 1912, Yeats derided his 1890s poetic style, saying that he had once adorned his poems with a coat "covered with embroideries / Out of old mythologies." The poem concludes with a brash announcement: "There's more enterprise / In walking naked." This departure from a conventional nineteenth-century manner disappointed his contemporary readers, who preferred the pleasant musicality of such familiar poems as "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," which he wrote in 1890.

Simplification was only the first of several major stylistic changes. In "Yeats as an Example?" an essay in Preoccupations: Selected Prose 1968-1978, the prominent Irish poet Seamus Heaney commended Yeats for continually altering and refining his poetic craftsmanship. "He is, indeed, the ideal example for a poet approaching middle age," Heaney declared. "He reminds you that revision and slog-work are what you may have to undergo if you seek the satisfaction of finish; he bothers you with the suggestion that if you have managed to do one kind of poem in your own way, you should cast off that way and face into another area of your experience until you have learned a new voice to say that area properly."

Eventually, Yeats began experimenting as a playwright; in 1916, for instance, he adopted a deliberately esoteric, nonrealistic dramatic style based on Japanese Noh plays, a theatrical form to which he had been introduced by poet Ezra Pound. These plays were described by Yeats as "plays for dancers."

While Yeats fulfilled his duties as president of the Abbey Theatre group for the first fifteen years of the twentieth century, his nationalistic fervor, however, was less evident. Maud Gonne, with whom he had shared his Irish enthusiasms, had moved to Paris with her husband, exiled Irish revolutionary John MacBride, and the author was left without her important encouragement. But in 1916 he once again became a staunch exponent of the nationalist cause, inspired by the Easter Rising, an unsuccessful, six-day armed rebellion of Irish republicans against the British in Dublin. MacBride, who was now separated from Gonne, participated in the rebellion and was executed afterward. Yeats reacted by writing "Easter, 1916," an eloquent expression of his complex feelings of shock, romantic admiration, and a more realistic appraisal.

The Easter Rising contributed to Yeats's eventual decision to reside in Ireland rather than England, and his marriage to Georgie Hyde-Lees in 1917 further strengthened that resolve. Earlier, in an introductory verse to Responsibilities, he had asked his ancestors' pardon for not yet having married to continue his Irish lineage: "Although I have come close on forty-nine, / I have no child, I have nothing but a book." Once married, however, Yeats traveled with his bride to Thoor Ballylee, a medieval stone tower where the couple periodically resided. With marriage came another period of exploration into complex and esoteric subjects for Yeats. He had long been fascinated by the contrast between a person's internal and external selves—between the true person and those aspects that the person chooses to present as a representation of the self. Yeats had first mentioned the value of masks in 1910 in a simple poem, "The Mask," where a woman reminds her lover that his interest in her depends on her guise and not on her hidden, inner self. Yeats gave eloquent expression to this idea of the mask in a group of essays, Per Amica Silentia Lunae (1918): "I think all happiness depends on the energy to assume the mask of some other life, on a re-birth as something not one's self." This notion can be found in a wide variety of Yeats's poems.

Yeats also continued to explored mysticism. Only four days after the wedding, his bride began what would be a lengthy experiment with the psychic phenomenon called automatic writing, in which her hand and pen presumably served as unconscious instruments for the spirit world to send information. Yeats and his wife held more than four hundred sessions of automatic writing, producing nearly four thousand pages that Yeats avidly and patiently studied and organized. From these sessions Yeats formulated theories about life and history. He believed that certain patterns existed, the most important being what he called gyres, interpenetrating cones representing mixtures of opposites of both a personal and historical nature. He contended that gyres were initiated by the divine impregnation of a mortal woman—first, the rape of Leda by Zeus; later, the immaculate conception of Mary. Yeats found that within each two-thousand-year era, emblematic moments occurred at the midpoints of the thousand-year halves. At these moments of balance, he believed, a civilization could achieve special excellence, and Yeats cited as examples the splendor of Athens at 500 B.C., Byzantium at A.D. 500, and the Italian Renaissance at A.D. 1500.

Yeats further likened these historical cycles to the twenty-eight day lunar cycle, contending that physical existence grows steadily until it reaches a maximum at the full moon (phase fifteen), which Yeats described as perfect beauty. In the remaining half of the cycle, physical existence gradually falls away, until it disappears completely at the new moon, whereupon the cycle begins again. Applying this pattern both to historical eras and to individuals' lives, Yeats observed that a person completes the phases as he advances from birth to maturity and declines toward death. Yeats further elaborated the scheme by assigning particular phases to specific types of personality, so that although each person passes through phases two through fourteen and sixteen through twenty-eight during a lifetime, one phase provides an overall characterization of the individual's entire life. Yeats published his intricate and not completely systematic theories of personality and history in A Vision (1925; substantially revised in 1937), and some of the symbolic patterns (gyres, moon phases) with which he organized these theories provide important background to many of the poems and plays he wrote during the second half of his career.

During these years of Yeats's esoterica Ireland was rife with internal strife. In 1921 bitter controversies erupted within the new Irish Free State over the partition of Northern Ireland and over the wording of a formal oath of allegiance to the British Crown. These issues led to an Irish civil war, which lasted from June, 1922, to May, 1923. In this conflict Yeats emphatically sided with the new Irish government. He accepted a six-year appointment to the senate of the Irish Free State in December, 1922, a time when rebels were kidnapping government figures and burning their homes. In Dublin, where Yeats had assumed permanent residence in 1922 (after maintaining a home for thirty years in London), the government even posted armed sentries at his door. As senator, Yeats considered himself a representative of order amid the chaotic new nation's slow progress toward stability. He was now the "sixty-year-old smiling public man" of his poem "Among School Children," which he wrote after touring an Irish elementary school. But he was also a world renowned artist of impressive stature, having received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.

Yeats's poems and plays produced during his senate term and beyond are, at once, local and general, personal and public, Irish and universal. At night the poet could "sweat with terror" (a phrase in his poem "Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen") because of the surrounding violence, but he could also generalize those terrifying realities by linking them with events in the rest of the world and with all of history. The energy of the poems written in response to these disturbing times gave astonishing power to his collection The Tower (1928), which is often considered his best single book, though The Wild Swans at Coole (1917; enlarged edition, 1919), Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921), The Tower, The Winding Stair (1929); enlarged edition, 1933), and Words for Music Perhaps and Other Poems (1932), also possess considerable merit.

Another important element of poems in both these collections and other volumes is Yeats's keen awareness of old age. Even his romantic poems from the late 1890s often mention gray hair and weariness, though those poems were written while he was still a young man. But when Yeats was nearly sixty, his health began to fail and he was faced with real, rather than imaginary, "bodily decrepitude" (a phrase from "After Long Silence") and nearness to death. Nevertheless, despite the author's often keen awareness of his physical decline, the last fifteen years of his life were marked by extraordinary vitality and an appetite for life. He continued to write plays, including "Sophocles' 'King Oedipus'" and "Sophocles' 'Oedipus at Colonus'" (translations performed with masks in 1926 and 1927) and "The Words upon the Window Pane" (1934), a full-length work about spiritualism and the eighteenth-century Irish writer Jonathan Swift. In 1929, as an expression of gaiety after recovering from a serious illness, he also wrote a series of brash, vigorous poems narrated by a fictitious old peasant woman, "Crazy Jane." His pose as "The Wild Old Wicked Man" (the title of one of his poems) and his poetical revitalization was reflected in the title of his 1938 volume New Poems.

As Yeats aged, he saw Ireland change in ways that angered him. The Anglo-Irish Protestant minority no longer controlled Irish society and culture, and with Lady Gregory's death in 1932 and the consequent abandonment of the Coole Park estate, Yeats felt detached from the brilliant achievements of the eighteenth-century Anglo-Irish tradition. According to Yeats's unblushingly antidemocratic view, the greatness of Anglo-Irishmen such as Jonathan Swift, philosopher George Berkeley, and statesman Edmund Burke, contrasted sharply with the undistinguished commonness of contemporary Irish society, which seemed preoccupied with the interests of merchants and peasants. He stated his unpopular opinions in late plays such as Purgatory (1938) and the essays of On the Boiler (1939).

But Yeats offset his frequently brazen manner with the personal conflicts expressed in his last poems. He faced death with a courage that was founded partly on his vague hope for reincarnation and partly on his admiration for the bold heroism that he perceived in Ireland in both ancient times and the eighteenth century. In proud moods he could speak in the stern voice of his famous epitaph, written within six months of his death, which concludes his poem "Under Ben Bulben": "Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by!" But the bold sureness of those lines is complicated by the error-stricken cry that "distracts my thought" at the end of another late poem, "The Man and the Echo," and also by the poignantly frivolous lust for life in the last lines of "Politics," the poem that he wanted to close Last Poems: "But O that I were young again / And held her in my arms."

Throughout his last years, Yeats's creative imagination remained very much his own, isolated to a remarkable degree from the successive fashions of modern poetry despite his extensive contacts with other poets. Literary modernism held no inherent attraction for him except perhaps in its general association with youthful vigor. He admired a wide range of traditional English poetry and drama, and he simply was unconcerned that, during the last two decades of his life, his preference for using rhyme and strict stanza forms would set him apart from the vogue of modern poetry. Yeats's allegiance to poetic tradition did not extend, however, to what he considered an often obscure, overly learned use of literary and cultural traditions by T. S. Eliot and Pound. Yeats deplored the tremendous enthusiasm among younger poets for Eliot's The Waste Land, published in 1922. Disdaining Eliot's flat rhythms and cold, dry mood, Yeats wanted all art to be full of energy. He felt that the literary traditions furnishing Eliot with so many allusions and quotations should only be included in a poem if those traditions had so excited the individual poet's imagination that they could become poetic ingredients of the sort Yeats described in "The Tower": "Poet's imaginings / And memories of love, / Memories of the words of women, / All those things whereof / Man makes a superhuman / Mirror-resembling dream."

Yeats wanted poetry to engage the full complexity of life, but only insofar as the individual poet's imagination had direct access to experience or thought and only insofar as those materials were transformed by the energy of artistic articulation. He was, from first to last, a poet who tried to transform the local concerns of his own life by embodying them in the resonantly universal language of his poems. His brilliant rhetorical accomplishments, strengthened by his considerable powers of rhythm and poetic phrase, have earned wide praise from readers and, especially, from fellow poets, including W. H. Auden (who praised Yeats as the savior of English lyric poetry), Stephen Spender, Theodore Roethke, and Philip Larkin. It is not likely that time will diminish his achievements.


Writer. Cofounder of Irish Literary Theatre. Senator of the Irish Free State, 1923-29.


That Odd Old Man is Dead A Year

That odd old man is dead a year --
We miss his stated Hat.
'Twas such an evening bright and stiff
His faded lamp went out.

Who miss his antiquated Wick --
Are any hoar for him?
Waits any indurated mate
His wrinkled coming Home?

Oh Life, begun in fluent Blood
And consummated dull!
Achievement contemplating thee --
Feels transitive and cool.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
1809 –1894

The Old Man Dreams

OH for one hour of youthful joy!
Give back my twentieth spring!
I'd rather laugh, a bright-haired boy,
Than reign, a gray-beard king.

 Off with the spoils of wrinkled age!
Away with Learning's crown!
Tear out life's Wisdom-written page,
And dash its trophies down!

One moment let my life-blood stream
From boyhood's fount of flame!
Give me one giddy, reeling dream
Of life all love and fame! . . . . .

My listening angel heard the prayer,
And, calmly smiling, said,
"If I but touch thy silvered hair
Thy hasty wish hath sped.

"But is there nothing in thy track,
To bid thee fondly stay,
While the swift seasons hurry back
To find the wished-for day?"

"Ah, truest soul of womankind!
Without thee what were life ?
One bliss I cannot leave behind:
I'll take-- my-- precious-- wife!"

The angel took a sapphire pen
And wrote in rainbow dew,
The man would be a boy again,
And be a husband too!

"And is there nothing yet unsaid,
Before the change appears?
Remember, all their gifts have fled
With those dissolving years."

 "Why, yes;" for memory would recall
My fond paternal joys;
"I could not bear to leave them all--
I'll take-- my-- girl-- and-- boys."

 The smiling angel dropped his pen,--
"Why, this will never do;
The man would be a boy again,
And be a father too!" . . . . .

And so I laughed,-- my laughter woke
The household with its noise,--
And wrote my dream, when morning broke,
To please the gray-haired boys.


Ernest Hemingway

Born: July 21, 1899 // Died: July 2, 1961


Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899. Working in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen, Hemingway started his career as a writer. Before the United States had entered the World War I, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army. Hemingway was wounded while serving at the front, and later decorated by the Italian Government. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers. Later he was sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.

During the 1920's, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter, was equally successful. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Among his later works, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), a short novel about an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat, was the most outstanding.

Hemingway's straightforward prose, spare dialogue, and predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories. Some of his short stories are collected in Men Without Women (1927), The Fifth Column, and The First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Ernest Miller Hemingway died in Idaho on July 2, 1961.

* From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967.




THOUGH narrow be that old Man's cares, and near,
The poor old Man is greater than he seems:
For he hath waking empire, wide as dreams;
An ample sovereignty of eye and ear.
Rich are his walks with supernatural cheer;
The region of his inner spirit teems
With vital sounds and monitory gleams
Of high astonishment and pleasing fear.
He the seven birds hath seen, that never part,
Seen the SEVEN WHISTLERS in their nightly rounds,
And counted them: and oftentimes will start--
For overhead are sweeping GABRIEL'S HOUNDS
Doomed, with their impious Lord, the flying Hart
To chase for ever, on aerial grounds!



Never to living ear came sweeter sounds
Than when I heard thee by our own fire-side
First uttering without words a natural tune,
When thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy
Sing at thy Mother's breast. Month follow'd month,
And in the open fields my life was pass'd
And in the mountains, else I think that thou
Hadst been brought up upon thy father's knees.
--But we were playmates, Luke; among these hills,
As well thou know'st, in us the old and young
Have play'd together, nor with me didst thou
Lack any pleasure which a boy can know.

Luke had a manly heart; but at these words
He sobb'd aloud; the Old Man grasp'd his hand,
And said, "Nay do not take it so--I see
That these are things of which I need not speak.
--Even to the utmost I have been to thee
A kind and a good Father: and herein
I but repay a gift which I myself
Receiv'd at others' hands, for, though now old
Beyond the common life of man, I still
Remember them who lov'd me in my youth."

Both of them sleep together: here they liv'd
As all their Forefathers had done, and when
At length their time was come, they were not loth
To give their bodies to the family mold.
I wish'd that thou should'st live the life they liv'd.
But 'tis a long time to look back, my Son,
And see so little gain from sixty years.
These fields were burthen'd when they came to me;
'Till I was forty years of age, not more
Than half of my inheritance was mine.

"I toil'd and toil'd; God bless'd me in my work,
And 'till these three weeks past the land was free.
--It looks as if it never could endure
Another Master. Heaven forgive me, Luke,
If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good
That thou should'st go." At this the Old Man paus'd,
Then, pointing to the Stones near which they stood,
Thus, after a short silence, he resum'd:
"This was a work for us, and now, my Son,
It is a work for me. But, lay one Stone--
Here, lay it for me, Luke, with thine own hands.
I for the purpose brought thee to this place."

Nay, Boy, be of good hope:--we both may live
To see a better day. At eighty-four
I still am strong and stout;--do thou thy part,
I will do mine.--I will begin again
With many tasks that were resign'd to thee;
Up to the heights, and in among the storms,
Will I without thee go again, and do
All works which I was wont to do alone,
Before I knew thy face.--Heaven bless thee, Boy!
Thy heart these two weeks has been beating fast
With many hopes--it should be so--yes--yes--
I knew that thou could'st never have a wish
To leave me, Luke, thou hast been bound to me
Only by links of love, when thou art gone
What will be left to us!--But, I forget
My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone,
As I requested, and hereafter, Luke,
When thou art gone away, should evil men
Be thy companions, let this Sheep-fold be
Thy anchor and thy shield; amid all fear
And all temptation, let it be to thee
An emblem of the life thy Fathers liv'd,
Who, being innocent, did for that cause
Bestir them in good deeds. Now, fare thee well--
When thou return'st, thou in this place wilt see
A work which is not here, a covenant
'Twill be between us--but whatever fate
Befall thee, I shall love thee to the last,
And bear thy memory with me to the grave.

The Shepherd ended here; and Luke stoop'd down,
And as his Father had requested, laid
The first stone of the Sheep-fold; at the sight
The Old Man's grief broke from him, to his heart
He press'd his Son, he kissed him and wept;
And to the House together they return'd.

Next morning, as had been resolv'd, the Boy
Began his journey, and when he had reach'd
The public Way, he put on a bold face;
And all the Neighbours as he pass'd their doors
Came forth, with wishes and with farewell pray'rs,
That follow'd him 'till he was out of sight.

A good report did from their Kinsman come,
Of Luke and his well-doing; and the Boy
Wrote loving letters, full of wond'rous news,
Which, as the House-wife phrased it, were throughout
The prettiest letters that were ever seen.

Both parents read them with rejoicing hearts.
So, many months pass'd on: and once again
The Shepherd went about his daily work
With confident and cheerful thoughts; and now
Sometimes when he could find a leisure hour
He to that valley took his way, and there
Wrought at the Sheep-fold. Meantime Luke began
To slacken in his duty, and at length
He in the dissolute city gave himself
To evil courses: ignominy and shame
Fell on him, so that he was driven at last
To seek a hiding-place beyond the seas.

There is a comfort in the strength of love;
'Twill make a thing endurable, which else
Would break the heart:--Old Michael found it so.
I have convers'd with more than one who well
Remember the Old Man, and what he was
Years after he had heard this heavy news.
His bodily frame had been from youth to age
Of an unusual strength. Among the rocks
He went, and still look'd up upon the sun.
And listen'd to the wind; and as before
Perform'd all kinds of labour for his Sheep,
And for the land his small inheritance.

And to that hollow Dell from time to time
Did he repair, to build the Fold of which
His flock had need. 'Tis not forgotten yet
The pity which was then in every heart
For the Old Man--ands 'tis believ'd by all
That many and many a day he thither went,
And never lifted up a single stone.

There, by the Sheep-fold, sometimes was he seen
Sitting alone, with that his faithful Dog,
Then old, beside him, lying at his feet.
The length of full seven years from time to time
He at the building of this Sheep-fold wrought,
And left the work unfinished when he died.

Three years, or little more, did Isabel,
Survive her Husband: at her death the estate
Was sold, and went into a Stranger's hand.
The Cottage which was nam'd The Evening Star
Is gone, the ploughshare has been through the ground
On which it stood; great changes have been wrought
In all the neighbourhood, yet the Oak is left
That grew beside their Door; and the remains
Of the unfinished Sheep-fold may be seen
Beside the boisterous brook of Green-head Gill.




      The way was long, the wind was cold,
      The Minstrel was infirm and old;
      His wither'd cheek, and tresses gray,
      Seem'd to have known a better day;
      The harp, his sole remaining joy,
      Was carried by an orphan boy.
      The last of all the Bards was he,
      Who sung of Border chivalry;
      For, welladay! their date was fled,
      His tuneful brethren all were dead;
      And he, neglected and oppress'd,
      Wish'd to be with them, and at rest.
      No more on prancing palfrey borne,
      He caroll'd, light as lark at morn;
      No longer courted and caress'd,
      High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
      He pour'd, to lord and lady gay,
      The unpremeditated lay:
      Old times were changed, old manners gone;
      A stranger filled the Stuarts' throne;
      The bigots of the iron time
      Had call'd hs harmless art a crime.
      A wandering Harper, scorn'd and poor,
      He begg'd his bread from door to door.
      And timed, to please a peasant's ear,
      The harp, a king had loved to hear.
      He pass'd where Newark's stately tower
      Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower:
      The Minstrel gazed with wishful eye--
      No humbler resting-place was nigh,
      With hesitating step at last,
      The embattled portal arch he ass'd,
      Whose ponderous grate and massy bar
      Had oft roll'd back the tide of war,
      But never closed the iron door
      Against the desolate and poor.
      The Duchess marked his weary pace,
      His timid mien, and reverend face,
      And bade her page the menials tell,
      That they should tend the old man well:
      For she had known adversity,
      Though born in such a high degree;
      In pride of power, in beauty's bloom,
      Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb!
      When kindness had his wants supplied,
      And the old man was gratified,
      Began to rise his minstrel pride:
      And he began to talk anon,
      Of good Earl Francis, dead and gone,
      And of Earl Walter, rest him, God!
      A braver ne'er to battle rode;
      And how full many a tale he knew,
      Of the old warriors of Buccleuch:
      And, would the noble Duchess deign
      To listen to an old man's strain,
      Though stiff his hand, his voice though weak,
      He thought even yet, the sooth to speak,
      That, if she loved the harp to hear,
      He could make music to her ear.
      The humble boon was soon obtain'd;
      The Aged Minstrel audience gain'd.
      But, when he reach'd the room of state,
      Where she, with all her ladies, sate,
      Perchance he wished his boon denied:
      For, when to tune his harp he tried,
      His trembling hand had lost the ease,
      Which marks security to please;
      And scenes, long past, of joy and pain,
      Came wildering o'er his aged brain--
      He tried to tune his harp in vain!
      The pitying Duchess praised its chime,
      And gave him heart, and gave him time,
      Till every string's according glee
      Was blended into harmony.
      And then, he said, he would full fain
      He could recall an ancient strain,
      He never thought to sing again.
      It was not framed for village churls,
      But for high dames and mighty carls;
      He had play'd it to King Charles the Good,
      When he kept court in Holyrood,
      And much he wish'd yet fear'd to try
      The long-forgotten melody.
      Amid the strings his fingers stray'd,
      And an uncertain warbling made,
      And oft he shook his hoary head.
      But when he caught the measure wild,
      The old man raised his face, and smiled;
      And lighten'd up his faded eye,
      With all a poet's ecstasy!
      In varying cadence, soft or strong,
      He swept the sounding chords along:
      The present scene, the future lot,
      His toils, his wants, were all forgot:
      Cold diffidence, and age's frost,
      In the full tide of song were lost;
      Each blank in faithless memory void,
      The poet's glowing thought supplied;
      And while his harp responsive rung,
      'Twas thus the Latest Minstrel sung.



The Old Man
by Robert F Doane
Published 1939 at 13 years of age
Campton New Hampshire
On the crest of a mighty mountain
Looking over the lake below,
A face with a human expression
Watches many a century go.

It was made from a mountain of granite
With the skill of a sculptor's hand,
And guards the green valley below it
As time passes over the land.

At dusk when the birds cease their carols
And the wind murmurs through the trees,
There's a sense of sadness about you,
As you stand in the evening breeze.
You feel that a great respect's due him -
So mighty beneath the blue sky,
There are few who have not been inspired
By that face as they've passed it by.
And to me, as to Daniel Webster,
The thought comes now and again
That in the great State of New Hampshire
The Master of Sculptors makes men.
The Old Man
By Cameron D. Tanguay
Written 2003 at 12 years of age
Chelmsford Massachusetts
Down fell a face
Of a million years counting

The king of the mountain
And guard of the valley below

The last generation
The very last era
Never to see again
From Gods sculpting hands
“The mountains of New Hampshire,
God Almighty has hung out a sign to show,
That there, He makes man.”
Only memories will do now the justice
Of Gods great creation
Of the man who peeks out from the mountain,
The monument,
The icon,

The Old Man in the Mountain
The Old Man of the Mountain may be viewed from Interstate 93, northbound, in Franconia State Park from several cutout parking areas. The area is well marked and you will have no trouble locating the viewing areas. Southbound on Interstate 93, take Exit 2 into the Canon Mt Tramway parking lot and follow the signs for the "Old Man viewing area".
New Hampshire, USA











This old man, he played one
He played knick-knack on my thumb [some versions use "drum"]
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played two
He played knick-knack on my shoe
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played three
He played knick-knack on my knee
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played four
He played knick-knack on my door
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played five
He played knick-knack on my hive
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played six
He played knick-knack on my sticks
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played seven
He played knick-knack up in heaven
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played eight
He played knick-knack on my gate
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played nine
He played knick-knack on my spine [some versions use "line" here]
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home

This old man, he played ten
He played knick-knack once ag'n [some versions use "on my hen" here]
With a knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone
This old man came rolling home





The expressions “old man” and “new man” occur in basically four places in Paul’s letters, namely,

Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 4:22-24; and Colossians 3:9-11.

Observe the following chart displaying various translations and how they handle the phrase:


Romans 6:6

Ephesians 2:15

Ephesians 4:22-24

Colossians 3:9-11


our old man

(one) new man

old man/new man

old man/new man


our old self

(one) new man

(your) old self/new self

(your) old self/new self

NASB (1995)

our old self

(one) new man

old self/new self

old self/new self


our old man

(one) new man

old man/new man

old man/new man


our old man

(one) new man

old man/new man

old man/new man


our old self

(one) new man

old nature/new nature

old nature/new nature


our old self

(one) new humanity

old self/new self

old self/new self


our old self

one new person

old self/new self

old self/new self


our old selves

(one) new man

old way of living/new life

old nature/new nature


old country of sin

a new kind of human being

old way of life/a new way of life

old life/a new way of life


our old humanity

a single new humanity

old human nature/new nature

old human nature/new nature


our old sinful selves

one new person

old evil nature/a new nature

old evil nature/a brand-new nature

So, what does Paul mean when he refers to “old man” and “new man”? The apparent disparity between the translations undoubtedly fuels the misunderstanding of this expression current among many Christians. Does Paul mean “sinful self”
(Rom 6:6) or “our old sinful selves” (Rom 6:6)? Both of these are fairly individualistic and stand quite apart from other translations such as “our old humanity” (Rom 6:6) which is more corporate in focus. What about “old evil nature” and “new nature”? But the word “nature” is extremely slippery and as David Dockery points out there are few terms in English that are as ambiguous as the word “nature.”  Further, “old evil nature” suggests something of the immaterial aspect of man. But is this what Paul is referring to? Is the expression, then, somewhat synonymous with “flesh” as Paul sometimes uses that term? If so, does the crucifixion/putting off of the “old man” entail a form of Christian perfectionism and sinlessness in this life? Some have understood the “old man”/“new man” in just such a way. This study is directed at finding answers to these and related questions.

In order to get a better grasp on this important expression we will examine the four passages in some detail. In each passage the “old man” is the same expression in Greek, namely, oJ palaioV" a[nqrwpo" (ho palaios anthropos). The expression “new man” is the same in Ephesians 2:15 and 4:24, namely, oJ kainoV" a[nqrwpo" (ho kainos anthropos). In Colossians 3:10, however, the “new man” is rendered through the use of a different adjective, i.e., toVn nevon (ton neon).7 But since the expression is set in contrast to the oJ palaioV" a[nqrwpo" of the previous verse, this is only stylistic; ton neon also refers to the same entity or concept as oJ kainoV" a[nqrwpo".

Biblical Analysis

Romans 6:6


tou'to ginwvskonte" o{ti oJ palaioV" hJmw'n a[nqrwpo" sunestaurwvqh, i{na katarghqh'/ toV sw'ma th'" aJmartiva", tou' mhkevti douleuvein hJma'" th'/ aJmartiva/

    New English Translation (NET Bible)

“We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”


Let us first remind ourselves of the broader context of Romans 6:6. Paul’s letter to the Romans concerns the gospel of God’s righteousness, with the quotation from Habakkuk 2:4 (1:17) providing a helpful outline of the first eight chapters: (1) the just by faith (chs. 1-5:11) shall live (5:12-8:39). In 5:12-21 Paul demonstrates that Christ has completely overturned the effects of Adam’s sin with the result that believers should no longer live in sin. It is to this point that 6:1-14 is primarily directed and it is in this context that we find Romans 6:6 and the comment about the crucifixion of “our old man.”

What, then, does Paul mean by our old man (oJ palaioV" hJmw'n a[nqrwpo", ho palaios hemon anthropos) in Romans 6:6?
Well, we can say that whatever it is, it is not the body of sin (toV sw'ma th'" aJmartiva", to soma tes hamartias), for the crucifixion of “our old man” prevents the “body of sin” from dominating us. The two entities are not the same. If they were the same, the passage would be at best tautologous, making little, if any, sense.  Now the expression “body of sin” refers to our physical bodies as vehicles through which sin expresses itself, that is, our whole selves as enslaved to sin and relating to others through our bodies.12 Thus “body of sin” is relational in focus.

So the “old man” is not to be strictly identified with the “body of sin.” Further, Paul says that our old man “was crucified with Christ.” But how can that be? We were not there at Golgotha and this is surely the time to which the past tense was crucified (sunestaurwvqh, sunestaurothe) points.  Answer: the “with Christ” language relates us to Christ and his death in a legal or forensic way, not experientially. God reckoned us there as co-crucified with Christ: his death was our death. The passive voice suggests that it was something done to us (by God) and not something we did to ourselves (cf. Gal 5:24).

What does all this mean? It means that when Paul gets to Romans 6:6 he is still thinking of the two humanities (and their heads) he spoke about in Romans 5:12-21.  The “old man,” then, must be who we were “in Adam,” that is, people in relationship to each other and our head in the realm of sin, death and judgment. The focus is corporate and stresses a realm in which unbelievers exist and relate. Thus, the “old man” is not our sinful nature per se, nor is it some part of my immaterial nature as a sinner. In short, the “old man” is the web of relationships we maintained in our former life “in Adam.” That 5:12-21 stands behind Paul’s thinking in 6:1-14 is further confirmed when one sees that Romans 6:1-14 is a logical inference (cf. the ou , oun in v. 1) drawn from the theology of Romans 5:12-21. It was there that Paul relied heavily on the forensic idea of Adam’s sin and our connection to him. Thus the crucifixion of “our old man” is our death to sin and life in Adam.

Further, though the crucifixion of “our old man” is portrayed in forensic language (i.e., language describing positional truth), there is nonetheless an ethic closely associated with it here in Romans 6:6  reflecting Paul’s traditional method of ethical argument: indicative first, then imperative. Recall that the paragraph begins with a rhetorical, yet very practical question: “Should we continue in sin?” The use of the subjunctive mood (ejpimevnwmen, epimenomen) in 6:1 denotes a question of moral “oughtness,” not fact.  Paul is asking, “Should we or should we not continue in sin?” Also, the doctrine of “walking in new life” (v. 4) as well as the imperatives at the end of the paragraph (Romans 6:12-14) are built, in part, on the idea of the crucifixion of our old man.

In summarizing Romans 6:6 we can say at least three things. First, the “old man” is a metaphor describing corporate realities which existed for believers when they were “in Adam,” apart from Christ and those connected to him. Second, our release from the old man was definitive and reckoned to us by God himself. Third, the forensic idea of the crucifixion of “our old man” is the basis for Paul’s ethic of saying “no” to the reign of sin, and “yes” to life in God.

Ephesians 2:15


2:15 toVn novmon tw'n ejntolw'n ejn dovgmasin katarghvsa", i{na touV" duvo ktivsh/ ejn aujtw'/ eij" e{na kainoVn a[nqrwpon poiw'n eijrhvnhn

    New English Translation (NET Bible)

2:15 “when he nullified the law of commandments in decrees. The purpose of this was to create in himself the two into one new man, thus making peace….”


Ephesians is a letter dedicated to unfolding the mystery of the gospel as it relates to the unification of Jew and Gentile in “one new man,” i.e., the church (Ephesians 3:5-6). The passage which unfolds this theme most clearly is Ephesians 2:11-22. Thus, it is in a context of this new salvation-historical “structure” (cf. Ephesians 1:10, 11) that Paul refers to the “new man.”

The individual focus in God’s creative work of salvation comes to expression in Ephesians 2:10 where Paul refers to each person as “created in Christ Jesus.” The shift, however, toward a more corporate perspective comes in Ephesians 2:11-22. There it is argued that Gentiles were “foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world” (v. 12). But God abolished the law, the dividing wall of hostility, through the death of Christ (i.e., his body), and has reconciled the two groups (i.e., Jew and Gentile) into “one new man” in Christ.

The Adam-Christ typology stands behind this passage as well. But the focus in Ephesians 2:15 is not so much on the individual’s position before God vis--vis their being “in Christ” as opposed to still being “in Adam,” but rather on the new relationships which exist on a human level for those “in Christ.” The Jew and the Gentile have been reconciled, and together in Christ they form this so-call “new man.” The “new man” is a new society in which all have free and equal access to God and are seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:5-6). In God’s design of the “new man” there are no divisions or hostility among members, only peace (Ephesians 2:16). Thus the focus here is on the community God has brought into existence in Christ as a result of OT hope. This does not mean that Gentiles were grafted into Israel, but rather that “in Christ” the two become “one new man,” “one new humanity.”

There are at least two important aspects to the expression “one new man.” The “one” implies singleness of divine purpose and unity in the new community. The “new man” evokes images related to the dawn of the “new” age of salvation inaugurated at Messiah’s first coming. It is an idea closely associated with God’s creative work (i.e., “to create in himself….”). Our salvation is described in Ephesians 2:10 as being “created in Christ Jesus”. According to 2 Cor 5:17 we are “new” creations in Christ Jesus. The focus in  Ephesians 2:15 is on the newly created community in Christ—people who have been taken out of a realm where hatred and division were the order of the day, to form a new social reality in Christ. The estrangement and dislocation effected through Adam’s sin has been reversed through God’s creative power in the body of Christ (Ephesians 3:6). Thus the “new man” in Ephesians 2:15 is primarily a new structural or social reality. It is corporate in focus.

Ephesians 4:22-24


4:22-24 ajpoqevsqai uJma'" kataV thVn protevran ajnastrofhVn toVn palaioVn a[nqrwpon toVn fqeirovmenon kataV taV" ejpiqumiva" th'" ajpavth", ajnaneou'sqai deV tw'/ pneuvmati tou' nooV" uJmw'n  kaiV ejnduvsasqai toVn kainoVn a[nqrwpon toVn kataV qeoVn ktisqevnta ejn dikaiosuvnh/ kaiV oJsiovthti th'" ajlhqeiva"

    New English Translation (NET Bible)

4:22 “You were taught with reference to your former life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, 4:23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 4:24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.”


In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul refers to “the old man” (v. 22) and “the new man” (v. 24). The context is obviously ethical. He urges the Ephesians (and all those who received the letter in Asia Minor), in light of the fact that they have received a certain calling (1:3-4; 4:1) and have come to participate in the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:14-16), to likewise walk or live in a way commensurate with their new calling and privilege (Ephesians 4:17).

In particular, believers are not to live as the Gentiles do, that is, in the futility of their thoughts as those who are separated from the life of God. But how is this futility expressed? It is expressed in ever increasing sensuality and lust. The Ephesians are not to live like that because they had been taught in him [Christ] just as the truth is in Jesus (kaqwv" ejstin ajlhvqeia ejn tw'/ jIhsou', kathos estin aletheia en to Iesou). The truth Paul refers to is teaching consistent with apostolic doctrine, especially that which concerns Christ and living a life honoring to him. Thus it is ethical truth with a Christological rationale.

Thus the expressions “old man” and “new man” here are particularly ethical in their focus. The “old man” refers to their former life as Gentiles and the sin that so pervaded their lives in that sphere of existence. They were taught to lay this aside and to put on the new man. The figure “putting on” and “putting off” is one of exchanging clothes and refers to a change in character in light of a change in identity, having moved from the old sphere of existence (without God) to a new sphere of existence (with God).

There is some discussion in this passage as to the force of the infinitives: (1) to lay aside (ajpoqevsqai, apothesthai) and (2) to put on (ejnduvsasqai, endusasthai). They are in indirect discourse and one has to wonder whether they go back to indicatives in the original direct discourse or imperatives. In other words, were the Ephesians taught that they had already laid aside the old man at conversion (indicative; akin to Romans 6:6) or that they should lay aside the old man and put on the new as an ongoing reality in their Christian experience (imperative)?

There is nothing in the grammar of the passage, nor in the choice of the verb “you were taught” that decides the question with certainty, though aorist infinitives of indirect discourse virtually always go back to imperatives in direct discourse in the NT. But this may be because they are connected to controlling verbs which imply a command.  In any case, what is indecisive grammatically is made fairly certain by the immediate context. That the infinitives go back to imperatival ideas in the direct discourse is likely since the immediate context deals with exhortations not to walk as the Gentiles do (Ephesians 4:17), including putting off lying (4:25), unrighteous anger (4:26), stealing (4:28), etc. Also, since the corruption of the old man is a present reality, the need to lay it aside is a present reality (4:22). Further, the “new man” is described with ethical language, namely, “righteousness,” and “likeness of the truth.” Therefore, the infinitives go back to imperatives and should be read as such.

Also, we said that the verb “you were taught” cannot settle the question one way or another, but when seen in connection with the verb “learn” in Ephesians 4:20 a different answer emerges. It seems that “what they learned was what they were taught.” But the learning Paul has in mind in v. 20 is certainly ethical. Therefore, the things they were taught were ethical and hortatory in nature. Thus, once again we see that the infinitives go back to imperatives in the direct discourse (cf. Col 3:8-9).

Therefore, Ephesians 4:22-24 utilizes the “old man” and “new man” concepts in primarily ethical ways. The “old man” refers to a lifestyle consistent with sin, but inconsistent with being in Christ, while the “new man” refers to a lifestyle (cf. “to walk” in 4:17) consistent with being in Christ and truth. We do note, however, that positional truth about the “new man” is spoken of briefly in 4:24 where Paul says the new man “has been created according to God,” referring to a definitive event in the past (probably at conversion). Note also that as the “new man” here is primarily ethical, so community or a corporate focus must remain inherent in the idea for there has to be some context for the living out of the “new man.”

Colossians 3:9-10


3:9 mhV yeuvdesqe eij" ajllhvlou", ajpekdusavmenoi toVn palaioVn a[nqrwpon suVn tai'" pravxesin aujtou' 3:10 kaiV ejndusavmenoi toVn nevon toVn ajnakainouvmenon eij" ejpivgnwsin kat* eijkovna tou' ktivsanto" aujtovn, 3:11 o{pou oujk e[ni {Ellhn kaiV jIoudai'o", peritomhV kaiV ajkrobustiva, bavrbaro", Skuvqh", dou'lo", ejleuvqero", ajllaV [taV] pavnta kaiV ejn pa'sin Cristov".

    New English Translation (NET Bible)

3:9 Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices 3:10 and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. 3:11 Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.


Colossians 3:9-11 is clearly set in an ethical context, not altogether unlike that of Ephesians 4. In Colossians 3:1 Paul reminds his readers that they have been raised with Christ, and therefore should seek things above and set their minds on things above, not on earthly things. Since they have died with Christ, they are put to death “whatever in their nature belongs to the earth” (3:5), referring to such things as sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passions, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. The Colossian believers are to put off all such things commensurate with their former life (3:7)—e.g., evil such as anger, rage, malice…lying, etc. (3:8-9a).

The reason the Colossian believers are to do this is because they have put off “the old man” and have been clothed with “the new [man].” The adverbial aorist participles put off (ajpekdusavmenoi, apekdusamenoi) and clothed (ejndusavmenoi, endusamenoi) are clearly causal giving the rationale for the call to a new lifestyle. They have put off the old man and have been clothed with the new at conversion. Again, the ethical language of exchanging garments is used and God is the ultimate agent in bringing this about.

The “new man” in Colossians 3:10-11 is definitely corporate in nature and refers to the new community in which all racial distinctions are dissolved. It is a social structure where (o{pou, hopou) there is “neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.” Therefore, to “have been clothed with the new man” is to have been brought into a new community in a totally new sphere of existence and to have put on new clothing (i.e., a new way of conducting oneself in relationships) fit for the new community. The old man, then, by contrast, is the community still under its old head Adam, i.e., all those in him wherein the image of God is effaced, and the old clothing of sinful deeds is worn by all.

In the new community in which Christ dwells in all, however, the image of God is being renewed. Paul does not say here that all are “in Christ,” but rather that Christ is “in all.” This is because his focus is on the image of God developed by the indwelling Christ, not the position of believers (though both are true). The expression “image of God” refers to Christ himself so that the renewal involves progressive conformation in the pattern of Christ himself as head of the “new man/new humanity” (Col. 1:15; Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49; 2 Cor 4:4; Phil 2:6)  In short, the new community is designed to express the image of God in human relationships and structures and the central reality for the “new man” is that Christ is in all!

Thus the “new man” in Colossians 3:10-11 is not something inside an individual, but rather the new community in Christ, the church, and together we reflect the image of God. It is for this reason, since we are the new man corporately, that we are not to live like we once did. Bock explains:

What this means is that the ‘new man,’ made up of peoples, refers to a social structure or community, not to an entity inside an individual…In other words, it is Christ conceived of as a corporate entity, that is Christ’s body…This means that the ‘old man’ is also a community that has certain practices associated with it. This would be the community of the world outside of Christ…The existence of this new community [the church] is why Paul said Christians should not lie and why they should put to death the practices of the old world they shed (like clothes) when they came to Christ.

Theological Conclusions

So what are some conclusions that can be drawn from these passages. The first thing that can be said is that the “old man” refers to people in solidarity with Adam under the old age of sin, death, and judgment. It is corporate in focus.

Second, since it is corporate and relational in focus it should probably not be translated using the word “self” since this is too narrow and individualistic in its focus.

Third, we saw that in every passage the expression “old man” is relational in character. Therefore, it should not be viewed as a synonym for fallen human “flesh” (cf. Rom 7:18; savrx, sarx). When reading the Scriptures, Christians should not view it as pointing directly to some immaterial aspect of man as a sinful human being. Thus, “sinful nature” is also a misleading translation. Again, the “old man” refers to fallen people in community “in Adam.” To read it individualistically as the “flesh” or “sinful nature” robs it off its corporate focus and a great insight to us as relational creatures is obscured. The best translation of ho palaios anthropos is probably “old man” or “old community” with a note explaining its corporate sense.

Fourth, the crucifixion of the “old man” refers to a definitive break with the past in Adam and is something God reckons to be true of us. The sinner is separated from the community of Adam and the relationships that exist there. But, there is also the sense in which the believer, having been decisively removed from that community is not to live as if he still belonged there. Thus the “old man” must be continually put off as well. We will say more about this below under our brief discussion of the “now/not-yet.”

There are some things we need to say about the “new man” as well. First, like “old man,” it too is corporate in focus. This is made clear in Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 3:10-11  Here the new man is synonymous with the church—a sphere of existence in Christ, in which there are no racial boundaries and no divisions. It is not our new regenerate nature spoken of in Titus 3:5.

Second, there is a concomitant ethic in the new man/community. We are to live at peace and there is to be no sin in the “new man” in which we are being renewed according to the pattern of Christ himself.

Third, given the use of the “new man” concept in Ephesians 2:15; Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10-11, the best translation of ho kainos anthropos is “new man” or “new community” with a note explaining its relational focus.

The last thing we want to say about the “old man” and the “new man” is that there is an eschatological tension involved in Paul’s use of the concept. What we mean by “eschatological tension” is that there is a sense in which Christians have been completely and decisively brought into this new community, but another sense in which we are still trying to escape the old community. We live in the “now” of God’s saving purposes, but there is a “not-yet”—there is more to come! This “configuration” of things will exist until God perfects us (i.e., the new man) in heaven. Therefore, when the Bible says we have put off the “old man,” it does not mean that we will exist in perfectly sinless relationships in this life. And, when it says to put on the “new man” it does not mean that living faithfully in the new community depends totally on us. All our efforts by faith are dependant on the antecedent work of God! For our part, we live at the crossroads of repentance and faith.