‘Young and Old’
Hoagwood, Terence. “Kingsley's ‘Young and Old',” Explicator Vol. 46, No. 4 (Summer 1988): 18-21.
Hoagwood analyzes Kingsley’s ‘Young and Old,” the short poem sung by the kind schoolmistress at Vendale in The Water-Babies.  He shows that it is impossible for the song to be fully understood when first encountered in the book.  It is only later in the story that we recognize that the song is the old dame’s lament for her son Grimes who left her.  The realization at the end of the novel that Grimes is her son “enables us to revisit the lyric and to revise our understanding of its latent, private, and even secret significance for the grieving old dame” (19).

‘Young and Old’; Poetry; The Water-Babies.