|The Rhyme Maker
Theme: Poetry and Poets
Farewell to Sack" would more meaningfully today be titled “His
Farewell To Wine”, Sack being a popular wine of our poet's
Herrick has decided to give up wine for health reasons, and
this is his farewell to his favorite beverage. (Also see The
Welcome to Sack,
the follow-up to this poem) This wine poem is
full of praise and a guarded respect for the role wine has played in
his and other poet's lives. Legendary wine poets Horace and Anacreon
are mentioned as being beholding to wine's influence, as well as the
gods themselves, specifically Apollo (god of poetry and music) and
the nine Muses (“those thrice three Castalian sisters”).
"maidenhead": the state of being a virgin, a reference to the
** “numbers” and
“lays” are other names for poetry.
were preserved with cedar oil. In ancient times, a
laurel wreath, whose berries were called “bays”, was awarded to the
- S. H. Bass
more Robert Herrick
Lyric to Mirth
Ode To Sir Clipseby Crew
let me drink no more
I was to meet with age
He Would Drink His Wine
fear no earthly powers
sing thy praise, Iacchus
Hock-Cart Or Harvest Home
Welcome To Sack
Bacchus: A Canticle
Live Merrily And To Trust To Good Verses
Sir Clipseby Crew
To The Water Nymphs
He Would Have His Verses Read
Farewell to Sack
thou thing, time past so known, so dear
me as blood to life and spirit; near,
thou more near than kindred, friend, man, wife,
to the female, soul to body; life
quick action, or the warm soft side
the resigning, yet resisting bride.
kiss of virgins, first fruits of the bed,
speech, smooth touch, the lips, the maidenhead:*
and a thousand sweets could never be
near or dear as thou wast once to me.
thou, the drink of gods and angels! wine
scatter'st spirit and lust, whose purest shine
radiant than the summer's sunbeam shows;
way illustrious, brave, and like to those
we see by night, whose shagg'd portents
the coming of some dire events,
some full flame which with a pride aspires,
about his wild and active fires;
thou, above nectar, O divinest soul!
in thyself, that can'st control
which subverts whole nature, grief and care,
of the mind, and damn'd despair.
thou alone who, with thy mystic fan,
more than wisdom, art, or nature can
rouse the sacred madness and awake
frost-bound blood and spirits, and to make
frantic with thy raptures flashing through
soul like lightning, and as active too.
not Apollo can, or those thrice three
sisters, sing, if wanting thee.
Anacreon, both had lost their fame,
thou not fill'd them with thy fire and flame.
splendor! and thou, Thespian spring!
which sweet swans must drink before they sing
true pac'd numbers and their holy lays, **
makes them worthy cedar and the bays. ***
why, why longer do I gaze upon
with the eye of admiration?
I must leave thee, and enforc'd must say
all thy witching beauties, Go away.
if thy whimpering looks do ask me why,
know that nature bids thee go, not I.
her erroneous self has made a brain
of such a sovereign
is thy powerful self. Prithee not smile,
smile more inly, lest thy looks beguile
vows denounc'd in zeal, which thus much show
I have sworn but by thy looks to know thee.
others drink thee freely, and desire
and their lips espous'd, while I admire
love thee, but not taste thee. Let my muse
of thy former helps, and only use
inadultrate strength: what's done by me
shall smell of the lamp, not thee.
Hesperides & Noble Numbers (1898)
The Hesperides & Noble Numbers (1898)
by Robert Herrick
Free E-Book from Project Gutenberg