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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

To Live Merrily and to Trust to Good Verses

Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

NOW is the time for mirth,

Nor cheek or tongue be dumb;

For, with the flowery earth,

The golden pomp is come.

The golden pomp is come;

For now each tree does wear,

Made of her pap and gum,

Rich beads of amber here:

Now reigns the rose, and now

Th’ Arabian dew besmears

My uncontrollèd brow

And my retorted hairs.

Homer, this health to thee!

—In sack of such a kind

That it would make thee see

Though thou wert ne’er so blind.

Next, Virgil I’ll call forth

To pledge this second health

In wine, whose each cup’s worth

An Indian commonwealth.

A goblet next I’ll drink

To Ovid, and suppose,

Made he the pledge, he’d think

The world had all one nose.

Then this immensive cup

Of aromatic wine,

Catullus, I’ll quaff up

To that terse muse of thine.

Wild I am now with heat:

O Bacchus, cool thy rays!

Or frantic I shall eat

Thy thyrse and bite the bays.

Round, round the roof does run,

And being ravished thus,

Come, I will drink a tun

To my Propertius.

Now to Tibullus, next,

This flood I’ll drink to thee:

But stay, I see a text

That this presents to me:—

Behold, Tibullus lies

Here burnt, whose small return

Of ashes scarce suffice

To fill a little urn.

Trust to good verses then:

They only will aspire

When pyramids, as men,

Are lost i’ th’ funeral fire.

And when all bodies meet

In Lethe to be drown’d,

Then only numbers sweet

With endless life are crown’d.