Saki, thou know’st I worship wine ;
Let that delicious cup be mine.
Wine ! pure and limpid as my tears,
Dispeller of a lover’s fears ;
With thee inspired, with thee made bold,
‘Midst combat fierce my post I hold ;
With thee inspired, I touch the string,
And, rapt, of love and pleasure sing.
Thou art a lion, seeking prey,
Along the glades where wild deer stray ; 10
And like a lion I would roam,
To bring the joys I seek for home ;
With wine, life’s dearest, sweetest treasure,
I feel the thrill of every pleasure :
— Bring, Saki, bring the ruby now;
Its lustre sparkles on thy brow,
And, flashing with a tremulous light,
Has made thy laughing eyes more bright:
Bring, bring the liquid gem, and see
Its power, its wond’rous power, in me. 20
—No ancestors have I to boast;
The trace of my descent is lost.
From Adam what do I inherit ?
What but a sad and troubled spirit ?
For human life, from oldest time,
Is ever mark’d with guilt and crime ;
And man, betrayer and betray’d,
Lurks like a spider in the shade;
But wine still plays a magic part,
Exalting high the drooping heart. 30
Then, Saki, linger not, but give
The blissful balm on which I live.
Come, bring the juice of the purple vine,
Bring, bring the rnusky-scented wine ;
A draught of wine the memory clears,
And wakens thoughts of other years.—
When blushing dawn illumes the sky,
Fill up a bumper, fill it high !
That wine, which to the fever’d lip,
With anguish parch’d, when given to sip, 40
Imparts a rapturous smile, and throws
A veil o’er all distracting woes :
That wine, the lamp which, night and day,
Lights us along our weary way ;
Which strews the path with fruits and flowers,
And gilds with joy our fleeting hours;
And lifts the mind, now grown elate,
To Jamshid’s glory, Jamshid’s state.—
But of the kingly race beware ;
‘Tis not for thee their smiles to share : 50
Smiles are deceitful, fire looks bright,
And sheds a lucid dazzling light;
But, though attractive, it is known
That safety dwells in flight alone.
The moth the taper’s radiance tries,
But ‘midst the flame in torment, dies:
And none lament that foolish pride
Which seeks to be with kings allied.—
Bring, bring the musky-scented wine !
Tis the key of mirth, and must be mine ; 60
The key which opens wide the door
Of rapture’s rich and varied store ;
Which makes the mounting spirits glad,
And feel the pomp of Kai-Kobad.
Wine o’er the temper casts a spell
Of kindness indescribable:
Then, since I ‘m in the drinking vein,
Bring, bring the luscious wine again !
From the vintner another fresh supply,
And let not the reveller’s lips be dry.— 70
Come, Saki, thou’rt not old, nor lame ;
Thou ‘dst not incur from a minstrel blame;
Let him wash from his heart the dust of sorrow;
Let him riot in social bliss till the morrow ;
Let the sound of the goblet delight his ear,
Like the music that breathes from Heaven’s own sphere.