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John Godfrey Saxe (Джон Годфри Сакс)


The Origin of Wine


A GERMAN LEGEND

I

Ye friends of good cheer, I pray you give ear;
I sing of old Noah who planted the vine;
But first, if you please, our thirst to appease,
Let's drink to his health in a bumper of wine!

II

When the Deluge was o'er, and good Father Noah
Sat moping one day in the shade of a tree,
An Angel came near, and thinking it queer,
Said: 'Tell me, I pray, what the matter may be.'

III

Says Noah: 'I'm curst with a horrible thirst;
So painful, indeed, I am ready to sink;
I have plenty to eat, there's no lack of meat;
But, sir, on my honor, I've nothing to drink!

IV

'See, on every side,' the Angel replied,
'There is water enough both in river and rill,
Your fever to slake- not to mention the lake,
And many a fountain that flows from the hill.'

V

Says Noah: 'I know the waters still flow,
But the Deluge has ruined the fluid for drink;
So many bad men were soaked in it then,
The water now tastes of the sinners, I think.'

VI

'It can't be denied,' the Angel replied,
'There is something of reason in what you have said;
Since the water is bad, it si fitting you had
A good wholesome tipple to drink in its stead.'

VII

Then flying away, the very next day
The Angel came back with a handful of seeds;
And taught the good man the properest plan
Of planting, and hoeing, and killing the weeds.

VIII

Ah! what color and shape! 't is the beautiful grape;
In clusters of purple they hand from the vine;
And these being pressed- it is easily guessed,
Old Noah thenceforward drank nothing but wine.

IX

So, a cup ere we part to the man of our heart,
Old Noah, the primitive grower of wine;
And one brimming cup (nay, fill it quite up)
To the Angel who gave him the seed of the vine! 



John Godfrey Saxe's other poems:
  1. Sonnet to a Clam
  2. Early Rising
  3. Rhyme of the Rail
  4. How Cyrus Laid the Cable
  5. Love and Lucre


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