There aren’t many songwriters of your generation who have been able to maintain the quality of their past work the way you have been able to.
… There is a certain age that is appropriate to this tremendous expenditure of energy and the tremendous bravery and courage that you need to go into the fray. It often is a young man’s game, or as Browning said, ‘The first fine careless frenzy.’ That is what the lyric poem is based on, the song is based on. But there are some old guys who hang in there and come up with some very interesting work.
From a 1992 interview with Leonard Cohen published in Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo. Da Capo Press: 1997. Photo by Dominique Issermann.
The Browning line quoted as “First fine careless frenzy” is actually “The first fine careless rapture” from Home Thoughts From Abroad, by Robert Browning.
That ‘s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture!