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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

With a Decanter of Madeira

By Silas Weir Mitchell (1829–1914)

[Born in Philadelphia, Penn., 1829. Died there, 1914. A Masque and other Poems. 1887.]

A Decanter of Madeira, Aged 86, to Georoe Bancroft, Aged 86, Greeting:

GOOD Master, you and I were born

In “Teacup days” of hoop and hood,

And when the silver cue hung down,

And toasts were drunk, and wine was good;

When kin of mine (a jolly brood)

From sideboards looked, and knew full well

What courage they had given the beau,

How generous made the blushing belle.

Ah me! what gossip could I prate

Of days when doors were locked at dinners!

Believe me, I have kissed the lips

Of many pretty saints—or sinners.

Lip-service have I done, alack!

I don’t repent, but come what may,

What ready lips, sir, I have kissed,

Be sure at least I shall not say.

Two honest gentlemen are we,—

I Demi John, whole George are you;

When Nature grew us one in years

She meant to make a generous brew.

She bade me store for festal hours

The sun our south-side vineyard knew;

To sterner tasks she set your life,

To statesman, writer, scholar, grew.

Years eighty-six have come and gone;

At last we meet. Your health to-night.

Take from this board of friendly hearts

The memory of a proud delight.

The days that went have made you wise,

There’s wisdom in my rare bouquet.

I’m rather paler than I was;

And, on my soul, you’re growing gray.

I like to think, when Toper Time

Has drained the last of me and you,

Some here shall say, They both were good,—

The wine we drank, the man we knew.

Newport, 3 October, 1886.