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Each month, a birth-day coming on,

We drink defying trouble, Or sometimes two would meet in one,

And then we drank it double ;

Whether the vintage, yet unkept,

Had relish fiery-new,
Or, elbow-deep in sawdust, slept,

As old as Waterloo ;
Or stow'd (when classic Canning died)

In musty bins and chambers, Had cast upon its crusty side

The gloom of ten Decembers.

The Muse, the jolly Muse, it is!

She answer'd to my call,
She changes with that mood or this,

Is all-in-all to all :
She lit the spark within my throat,

To make my blood run quicker,
Used all her fiery will, and smote

Her life into the liquor.

And hence this halo lives about

The waiter's hands, that reach To each his perfect pint of stout,

His proper chop to each.
He looks not like the common breed

That with the napkin dally;
I think he came, like Ganymede,

From some delightful valley.

The Cock was of a larger egg

Than modern poultry drop, Stept forward on a firmer leg,

And cramm'd a plumper crop ; Upon an ampler dunghill trod,

Crow'd lustier late and early, Sipt wine from silver, praising God,

And raked in golden barley.

A private life was all his joy,

Till in a court he saw
A something-pottle-bodied boy,

That-knuckled at the taw :

He stoop'd and clutch'd him, fair and good,

Flew over roof and casement :

His brothers of the weather stood

Stock-still for sheer amazement.

But he, by farmstead, thorpe and spire,

And follow'd with acclaims,
A sign to many a staring shire,

Came crowing over Thames.
Right down by smoky Paul's they bore,

With motion less or greater ;
One fix'd for ever at the door,

And one became head-waiter.

But whither would my fancy go?

How out of place she makes The violet of a legend blow

Among the chops and steaks ! 'Tis but a steward of the can,

One shade more plump than common; As just and mere a serving-man

As any, born of woman.

I ranged too high : what draws me down

Into the common day?
Is it the weight of that half-crown,

Which I shall have to pay ?
For, something duller than at first,

Nor wholly comfortable,
I sit (my empty glass reversed),

And thrumming on the table ;

Half fearful that, with self at strife,

I take myself to task ;
Lest of the fullness of


I leave an empty flask :
For I had hope, by something rare,

To prove myself a poet;
But, while I plan and plan, my hair

Is gray before I know it.

So fares it since the years began,

Till they be gather'd up;
The truth, that flies the flowing can,

Will haunt the vacant cup ;


And others' follies teach us not,

Nor much their wisdom teaches; And most, of sterling worth, is what

Our own experience preaches.

Ah! let the rusty theme alone!

We know not what we know.

But for my pleasant hour, 'tis gone,

'Tis gone, and let it go. 'Tis gone: a thousand such have slipt

Away from my embraces, And fall'n into the dusty crypt

Of darken’d forms and faces.

Go, therefore, thou ! thy betters went

Long since, and came no more ; With peals of genial clamour sent

From many a tavern-door, With twisted quirks and happy hits

From misty men of letters; The tavern-hours of mighty wits

Thine elders and thy betiers.

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