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Poem by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The True Joy-Giver

  Oh Oevoë, liber Pater,
    Oh, the vintage feast divine,
  When the God was in the bosom
    And his rapture in the wine;

  When the Faun laugh'd out at morning;
    When the Mænad hymn'd the night;
  And the Earth itself was drunken
    With the worship of delight;

  Oh Oevoë, liber Pater,
    Whose orgies are upon
  The hilltops of Parnassus,
    The banks of Helicon;--

  How often have I hail'd thee!
    How often have I been
  The bearer of the thyrsus,
    When its wither'd leaves were green.

  Then the boughs were purple gleaming
    With the dewdrop and the star;
  And chanting came the wood-nymph,
    And flashing came the car.

  Long faded are the garlands
    Of the thyrsus that I bore,
  When the wood-nymph chanted "Follow"
    In the vintage-feast of yore.

  My vineyards are the richest
    Falernian slopes bestow;
  Has the vineherd lost his cunning?
    Has the summer lost its glow?

  Oh, never on Falernium
    The Care-Dispeller trod,
  Its vine-leaves wreathe no thyrsus,
    Its fruits allure no god.

  For ever young, Lyæus;
    For ever young his priest;
  The Boy-god of the Morning,
    The conqueror of the East,

  His wine is Nature's life-blood;
    His vineyards bloom upon
  The hilltops of Parnassus,
    The banks of Helicon.

  But the hilltops of Parnassus
    Are free to every age;
  I have trod them with the Poet,
    I have mapp'd them with the Sage;

  And I'll take my pert disciple
    To see, with humble eyes,
  How the Gladness-bringer honours
    The worship of the wise.

  Lo, the arching of the vine-leaves;
    Lo, the sparkle of the fount;
  Hark, the carol of the Mænads;
    Lo, the car is on the Mount!

  "Ho, room, ye thyrsus-bearers,
    Your playmate I have been!"
  "Go, madman," laughs Lyæus,
    "Thy thyrsus then was green."

  And adown the gleaming alleys
    The gladness-givers glide;
  And the wood-nymph murmurs "Follow,"
    To the young man by my side.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Edward Bulwer-Lytton's other poems:
  1. The Love of Maturer Years
  2. The Desire of Fame
  3. Lost and Avenged
  4. The Loyalty of Love
  5. The Treasures by the Wayside

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