To Edward Fitzgerald

A poem by Henry Newbolt

(MARCH 31ST, 1909)

'Tis a sad fate
To watch the world fighting,
All that is most fair
Ruthlessly blighting,
Blighting, ah! blighting.

When such a thought cometh
Let us not pine,
But gather old friends
Round the red wine--
Oh! pour the red wine!

And there we'll talk
And warm our wits
With Eastern fallacies
Out of old Fitz!
British old Fitz!

See him, half statesman--
Philosopher too--
Half ancient mariner
In baggy blue--
Such baggy blue!

Whimsical, wistful,
Haughty, forsooth:
Indolent always, yet
Ardent in truth,
But indolent, indolent!

There at the table
With us sits he,
Charming us subtly
To reverie,
Magic reverie.

"How sweet is summer's breath,
How sure and swift is death;
Nought wise on earth, save
What the wine whispereth,
Dreamily whispereth.

"At Naíshapúr beneath the sun,
Or here in misty Babylon,
Drink! for the rose leaves while you linger
Are falling, ever falling, one by one."

Ah! poet's soul, once more with us conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,
Once more with us to-night, old Fitz, once more
Remould it nearer to the heart's desire!

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