Belloc's In Praise Of Wine: A Herioc Poem (sometimes
called “A Heroic Poem In Praise Of Wine”) is an awesome poem,
over 200 lines in length. Belloc takes us through the tale of
Dionysus, the god of wine, and then calls upon him to help fend off
of the modern (in 1931)
Temperance Movement. It is a beautiful
piece of epic poetry.
In this abridged version, much of the tale of Dionysus and
Belloc's "rant" against the Temperance Movement is left out.
The first and final stanzas could also stand alone. For
those who wish to share with friends or in association with a business,
blog, or website, the Printable version is good for cutting and pasting.
can also find an explanation of the storyline, references, and
obscure terminology at the special note link that follows.
– S. H.
Special Note: Belloc's "In Praise of Wine"
In Praise of Wine: A Heroic Poem (complete)
more Hilaire Belloc
On The Excellence Of Burgundy Wine
Upon God, The Wine Giver
Verses from the VineVINTAGE WINE POEMS NEW PRESSINGSvinted and bottled by Stephen H. Bass
Bacchus and Ariadne Titian (1490-1576)
click image to enlargevintagewinepoems.com
Praise Of Wine: A Heroic Poem
exalt, enthrone, establish and defend,
To welcome home mankind's mysterious friend
Wine, true begetter of all arts that
Wine, privilege of the completely free;
Wine the recorder;
wine the sagely strong;
Wine, bright avenger of sly-dealing
Awake, Ausonian Muse, and sing the vineyard song!
how the Charioteer from Asia came,
And on his front the little
Which marked the God-head. Sing the
The gilded Thyrsus twirling, and the gleam
cymbals through the darkness. Sing the drums.
He comes; the young
renewer of Hellas comes!
. . .
Lenaean, to whom our strength belongs,
Our loves, our wars, our
laughter and our songs,
Remember our inheritance, who praise
glory in these last unhappy days
When beauty sickens and a muddied
Of baseness fouls the universal globe.
Though all the Gods
indignant and their train
Abandon ruined man, do thou remain!
thee the vesture of our life was made,
The Embattled Gate, the
The woven fabric's gracious hues, the sound
trumpets, and the quivering fountain-round,
the Arch, and, high,
The Shaft of Stone that stands against the
And, last, the guardian-genius of them, Rhyme,
beyond the world to conquer time:
All these are thine,
By thee do seers the inward light discern;
the statue lives, the Gods return;
By thee the thunder and the
Of loud Acquoria's torrent call to Rome;
rejoices in a thousand springs,
Gensano laughs, and Orvieto
But, Ah! With Orvieto, with that name
Eturian, subterranean flame
The years dissolve. I am standing in
Of majesty Septembral, and the power
Which swells the
clusters when the nights are still
With autumn stars on Orvieto
Had these been mine, Ausonian Muse, to know
contented oxen heaving slow;
To count my sheaves at harvest; so to
Perfected days in peace until the end;
evening's dust of gold to hear
The bells upon the pasture height,
Full horn of herdsmen gathering in the kine
ancient byres in hamlets Appenine,
And crown abundant age with
Had these, Ausonian Muse, had these, had
But since I would not, since I could not stay,
me remember even in this my day
How, when the ephemeral vision's
lure is past
All, all, must face their Passion at the last
there not one that did to Heaven complain
How, driving through the
midnight and the rain,
He struck, the Atlantic seethe and surge
Wrecked in the North along a lonely shore
To make the
lights of home and hear his name no more.
Was there not one that
from a desperate field
Rode with no guerdon but a rifted shield;
name disherited; a broken sword;
Wounds unrenowned; battle beneath
Strong blows, but on the void, and toil without
When from the waste of such long labor done
must leave the grape-ennobling sun
And like the vineyard worker
take my way
Down the long shadows of declining day,
Bend on the
somber plain my clouded sight
And leave the mountain to the
Come to the term of all that was mine own
nothingness before me, and alone;
Then to what hope of answer
shall I turn?
Comrade-Commander whom I dared not earn,
said You then to trembling friends and few?
"A moment, and I
drink it with you new:
But in my Father's Kingdom." So, my
Let not Your cup desert me in the end.
But when the
hour of mine adventure's near
Just and benignant, let my youth
Bearing a Chalice, open, golden, wide,
graven on its side.
So touch my dying lip: so bridge that deep:
pledge my waking from the gift of sleep,
And, sacramental, raise
me the Divine:
brother in God and last companion, Wine.
published in 1931, this work is in the public domain in the U.S.
because it was first published before 1978 and its copyright was now
renewed. - SHB