"The Mermaid" by Leighton 1858


The author ANACREON flourished in the sixth century B.C. He was ranked first in his age for the lyric of wine and women, and what is now called "Horatian" philosophy of life.

THE thirsty earth soaks up the rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
The plants suck in the earth and are,
With constant drinking, fresh and fair.

The sea itself, which one, would think
Should have but little need of drink,
Drinks ten thousand rivers up,
So filled that they o'erflow the cup;

The busy sun (and one would guess
By his drunken, fiery face no less)
Drinks up the sea, and when he 'as done,
The moon and stars drink up the sun.

They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in Nature's sober sound,
But an eternal health goes round.

Fill up the bowl, then, fill it high,
Fill all the glasses there, for why
Should ev'ry creature drink but I?
Why, men of morals, tell me why?

Drink and play, for life is fleeting;
short our time beneath the sky;

Amphis 332 BC.

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Nancy Fry, nancy@wayward.com.