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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Let Us Be Happy As Long As We Can

By Joseph Stansbury (1750–1809)

[A Native of England, and a Resident of Philadelphia and New York during the Revolution. The Loyal Verses of Joseph Stansbury and Doctor Jonathan Odell. Now first edited by Winthrop Sargent. 1860.]

A Song

I’VE heard in old times that a sage used to say

The seasons were nothing—December or May—

The heat or the cold never entered his plan;

That all should be happy whenever they can.

No matter what power directed the state,

He looked upon such things as ordered by fate.

Whether governed by many, or ruled by one man,

His rule was—be happy whenever you can.

He happened to enter this world the same day

With the supple, complying, famed Vicar of Bray.

Through both of their lives the same principle ran:

My boys, we’ll be happy as long as we can.

Time-serving I hate, yet I see no good reason

A leaf from their book should be thought out of season.

When kicked like a foot-ball from Sheba to Dan,

Egad, let’s be happy as long as we can.

Since no one can tell what to-morrow may bring,

Or which side shall triumph, the Congress or King;

Since Fate must o’errule us and carry her plan,

Why, let us be happy as long as we can.

To-night let’s enjoy this good wine and a song,

And relish the hour which we cannot prolong.

If evil will come, we’ll adhere to our plan

And baffle misfortune as long as we can.