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THE GROANS OF THE TANKARD.
Dulci digne mero!
OF strange events I sing, and portents dire;
'T was at the solemn, silent, noon-tide hour,
When hungry poets the glad summons own,
“How changed the scene!—for what unpardoned crimes “ Have I survived to these degenerate times ?
“I, who was wont the festal board to grace,
“And 'midst the circle lift my honest face
“ White o'er with froth, like Etna crowned with snow,
“ Which mantled o’er the brown abyss below, “ Where Ceres mingled with her golden store “The richer spoils of either India's shore,
The dulcet reed the Western islands boast,
“ And spicy fruit from Banda's fragrant coast.
Deep draughts imbibed, and conquered land and sea, “ And overthrew the pride of France-by me.
“ Let meaner clay contain the limpid wave,
The clay for such an office nature gave;
“ Let China's earth, enriched with coloured stains,
“ Penciled with gold, and streaked with azure veins, “ The grateful flavour of the Indian leaf, “ Or Mocho's sunburnt berry glad receive :
“ The nobler metal claims more generous use,
“ And mine should flow with more exalted juice.
“ Did I for this my native bed resign
In the dark bowels of Potosi's mine?
“ Was I for this with violence torn away,
And dragged to regions of the upper day? " For this the rage of torturing furnace bore, “ From foreign dross to purge the brightening ore? “ For this have I endured the fiery test,
And was I stamped for this with Britain's lofty crest?
“ Unblest the day, and luckless was the hour,
Fated to serve the Puritanic race,
Whose slender meal is shorter than their
“ Whose moping sons no jovial orgies keep; “ Where evening brings no summons--but to sleep;
“ No Carnival is even Christmas here,
“ And one long Lent involves the meagre year. “ Bear me, ye powers ! to some more genial scene,
Where on soft cushions lolls the gouty Dean, “Or rosy Prebend with cherubic face, “ With double chin, and paunch of portly grace, “ Who lulled in downy slumbers shall agree “ To own no inspiration but from me. “ Or to some spacious mansion, Gothic, old, “ Where Comus' sprightly train their vigils hold; “ There oft exhausted, and replenished oft, “ O let me still supply the' eternal draught, “ Till Care within the deep abyss be drowned,
And Thought grows giddy at the vast profound !"
More had the goblet spoke; but lo! appears