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!
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