The number of the vanish'd years
That mark each famous Grecian reign,
This night, my Telephus, appears
Thy solemn pleasure to explain;
Or else assiduously to dwell,
In conscious eloquence elate,
On those who conquer'd, those who fell
At sacred Troy's devoted gate.
But at what price the cask, so rare,
Of luscious chian may be ours,
Who shall the tepid baths prepare,
And who shall strew the blooming flowers;
Beneath what roof we next salute,
And when shall smile these gloomy skies,
Thy wondrous eloquence is mute,
Nor here may graver topics rise. -
Fill a bright bumper, - to the Moon!
She's new! - auspicious be her birth!
One to the Midnight! - 't is our noon
Of jocund thought, and festal mirth!
And one to him, for whom the feasts
This night are held with poignant gust,
MURENA, whom his Rome invests
With solemn honors, sacred trust!
Kind omens shall his voice convey,
That may each rising care beguile;
Propitious fled the Birds to-day?
Will Love be ours, and Fortune smile? -
Arrange the cups of various size,
The least containing bumpers three,
And nine the rest. - Come, no disguise!
Nor yet constraint, the choice is free!
All but the BARD's - the bowl of nine
He is, in duty, bound to fill;
The Muses number to decline
Were treason at Aonia's hill.
For here the Sisters shall preside,
So they allow us leave to laugh;
Unzon'd the Graces round us glide,
While we the liquid ruby quaff.
Yet they, in kind and guardian care,
Dreading left wild inebriate glee
With broils disturb our light career,
Would stint us to their number, three.
Away ye Prudes! - the caution wise
Becomes not this convivial hour,
That every dull restraint defies,
And laughs at all their frigid power. -
Thou say'st I rave; - and true thou say'st,
Nor must thou check the flowing vein,
For sprightly nonsense suits him best
Whom grave reflection leads to pain.
Why mute the pipe's enlivening note?
Why sleeps the charming lyre so long?
O! let their strains around us float,
Mix'd with the sweet and jocund song!
And lavish be the roses strewn!
Ye flutes, ye lyres, exulting breathe!
The festal Hour disdains to own
The mournful note, the niggard wreath.
Old Lycon, with the venal Fair,
Who courts yet hates his vile embrace,
Our lively strains shall muttering hear,
While Envy pales each sullen face:
THOU, with thy dark luxuriant hair,
Thou, Telephus, as Hesper bright,
Thou art accomplish'd Chloe's care,
Whose glance is Love's delicious light.
Thy utmost wish the Fair-One crowns,
And thy calm'd heart may well pursue
The paths of knowledge; - Lyce frowns,
And I, distasteful, shun their view.
From themes, that wake the powers of mind,
The wounded Spirit sick'ning turns;
To those be then this hour consign'd,
That Mirth approves, tho' Wisdom spurns.
They shall disarm my Lyce's frown,
The frolic jest, the lively strain,
In flowing bowls, shall gaily drown
The memory of her cold disdain.