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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 Parting Glass

By Philip Freneau (1752–1832)

[From The Poems of Philip Freneau. 1786.—Poems Written During the Revolutionary War, etc. 3d Ed. 1809.]

THE MAN that joins in life’s career

And hopes to find some comfort here,

To rise above this earthly mass,—

The only way’s to drink his glass.

But, still, on this uncertain stage,

Where hopes and fears the soul engage,

And while, amid the joyous band,

Unheeded flows the measured sand,

Forget not as the moments pass,

That time shall bring the parting glass!

In spite of all the mirth I’ve heard,

This is the glass I always feared,

The glass that would the rest destroy,

The farewell cup, the close of joy!

With you, whom reason taught to think,

I could, for ages, sit and drink:

But with the fool, the sot, the ass,

I haste to take the parting glass.

The luckless wight, that still delays

His draught of joys to future days,

Delays too long—for then, alas!

Old age steps up, and—breaks the glass!

The nymph, who boasts no borrowed charms,

Whose sprightly wit my fancy warms;

What though she tends this country inn,

And mixes wine, and deals out gin?

With such a kind, obliging lass,

I sigh to take the parting glass.

With him, who always talks of gain

(Dull Momus, of the plodding train),

The wretch, who thrives by others’ woes,

And carries grief where’er he goes:—

With people of this knavish class

The first is still my parting glass.

With those that drink before they dine,

With him that apes the grunting swine,

Who fills his page with low abuse,

And strives to act the gabbling goose

Turned out by fate to feed on grass—

Boy, give me quick, the parting glass.

The man, whose friendship is sincere,

Who knows no guilt, and feels no fear;—

It would require a heart of brass

With him to take the parting glass.

With him who quaffs his pot of ale,

Who holds to all an even scale;

Who hates a knave, in each disguise,

And fears him not—whate’er his size—

With him, well pleased my days to pass,

May heaven forbid the Parting Glass!