Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Lines Inscribed Upon a Cup Fashioned from a Skull
by Lord Byron, 1808
"Start not - nor deem my spirit fled
In me behold the only skull,
From which unlike a living head,
Whatever flows is never dull.
"I lived, I loved, I quaffed like thee
I died ; let earth my bones resign
Fill up - thou canst not injure me ;
The worm has fouler lips than thine.
"Better to hold the sparkling grape,
Than nurse the earth - worm's slimy brood
And circle in the goblet's shape
The drink of Gods, than reptile's food.
"Where once my wit, perchance, hath shone,
In aid of others let me shine ;
And when, alas ! our brains are gone,
What nobler substitute than wine ?
"Quaff while thou canst: another race,
When thou and thine, like me, are sped,
May rescue thee from earth's embrace,
And rhyme and revel with the dead.
"Why not ? Since through life's little day
Our heads such sad effects produce;
Redeem'd from worms and wasting clay,
This chance is theirs, to be of use."
See an artistic recreation of this bony beverage holder here: