On Surviving Cancer

How very glad I am to hear
That, well beyond your sixtieth year,
You've kept triumphantly at bay
What was the scourge of yesterday.
A man who’s sixty years of age,
Of blameless life and conduct sage,
Has long since left off dating virgins,
And when a surgeon’s healing knife
Has happily prolonged our life,
We grant that reading Epicurus
Is not quite all we need to cure us.
He reached the age of seventy-one;
We may outlive him and have fun.
And think: the worthy Metrodorus,
Whose wise example shines before us,
Only survived to fifty-seven!
To be alive today is heaven,
In view of all that surgeons can
Now do to vivify a man.
The mem’ry of that noble pair
Is, all the same, exceeding fair.
Their portraits ornament my College;
So, thirteen years ago, such knowledge
As I could muster on those two
Went into what I send to you.
Please find attached the piece I wrote,
Which you’re at liberty to quote;
And please believe that it is true
That I remain attached to you.