Home  »  Yale Book of American Verse  »  54 The Mint Julep

Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse. 1912.

Charles Fenno Hoffman 1806–1884

Charles Fenno Hoffman

54 The Mint Julep

’T IS said that the gods, on Olympus of old

(And who the bright legend profanes with a doubt),

One night, mid their revels, by Bacchus were told

That his last butt of nectar had somehow run out!

But determined to send round the goblet once more,

They sued to their fairer immortals for aid

In composing a draught, which, till drinking were o’er,

Should cast every wine ever drank in the shade.

Grave Ceres herself blithely yielded her corn,

And the spirit that lives in each amber-hued grain,

And which first had its birth from the dew of the morn,

Was taught to steal out in bright dewdrops again,

Pomona, whose choicest of fruits on the board

Were scatter’d profusely in every one’s reach,

When call’d on a tribute to cull from the hoard,

Express’d the mild juice of the delicate peach.

The liquids were mingled while Venus look’d on

With glances so fraught with sweet magical power,

That the honey of Hybla, e’en when they were gone,

Has never been miss’d in the draught from that hour.

Flora then, from her bosom of fragrancy, shook,

And with roseate fingers press’d down in the bowl,

All dripping and fresh as it came from the brook,

The herb whose aroma should flavor the whole.

The draught was delicious, and loud the acclaim,

Though something seemed wanting for all to bewail;

But Juleps the drink of immortals became,

When Jove himself added a handful of hail.