To Phyllis II

A poem by Eugene Field

Sweet Phyllis, I have here a jar of old and precious wine,
The years which mark its coming from the Alban hills are nine,
And in the garden parsley, too, for wreathing garlands fair,
And ivy in profusion to bind up your shining hair.

Now smiles the house with silver; the altar, laurel-bound,
Longs with the sacrificial blood of lambs to drip around;
The company is hurrying, boys and maidens with the rest;
The flames are flickering as they whirl the dark smoke on their crest.

Yet you must know the joys to which you have been summoned here
To keep the Ides of April, to the sea-born Venus dear,--
Ah, festal day more sacred than my own fair day of birth,
Since from its dawn my loved Mæcenas counts his years of earth.

A rich and wanton girl has caught, as suited to her mind,
The Telephus whom you desire,--a youth not of your kind.
She holds him bound with pleasing chains, the fetters of her charms,--
Remember how scorched Phaëthon ambitious hopes alarms.

The winged Pegasus the rash Bellerophon has chafed,
To you a grave example for reflection has vouchsafed,--
Always to follow what is meet, and never try to catch
That which is not allowed to you, an inappropriate match.

Come now, sweet Phyllis, of my loves the last, and hence the best
(For nevermore shall other girls inflame this manly breast);
Learn loving measures to rehearse as we may stroll along,
And dismal cares shall fly away and vanish at your song.

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