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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

The Old Man’s Carousal

By James Kirke Paulding (1778–1860)

DRINK! drink! to whom shall we drink?

To a friend or a mistress? Come, let me think!

To those who are absent, or those who are here?

To the dead that we loved, or the living still dear?

Alas! when I look, I find none of the last!

The present is barren,—let’s drink to the past!

Come! here’s to the girl with a voice sweet and low,

The eye all of fire and the bosom of snow,

Who erewhile, in the days of my youth that are fled,

Once slept on my bosom, and pillowed my head!

Would you know where to find such a delicate prize?

Go seek in yon church-yard, for there she lies.

And here’s to the friend, the one friend of my youth,

With a head full of genius, a heart full of truth,

Who travelled with me in the sunshine of life,

And stood by my side in its peace and its strife!

Would you know where to seek for a blessing so rare?

Go drag the lone sea, you may find him there.

And here’s to a brace of twin cherubs of mine,

With hearts like their mother’s, as pure as this wine,

Who came but to see the first act of the play,

Grew tired of the scene, and then both went away.

Would you know where this brace of bright cherubs have hied?

Go seek them in heaven, for there they abide.

A bumper, my boys! to a gray-headed pair,

Who watched o’er my childhood with tenderest care,

God bless them, and keep them, and may they look down,

On the head of their son, without tear, sigh, or frown!

Would you know whom I drink to? go seek ’mid the dead,

You will find both their names on the stone at their head.

And here’s—but, alas! the good wine is no more,

The bottle is emptied of all its bright store;

Like those we have toasted, its spirit is fled,

And nothing is left of the light that it shed.

Then, a bumper of tears, boys! the banquet here ends.

With a health to our dead, since we’ve no living friends.