Verse > Anthologies > Augustin S. Macdonald, comp. > A Collection of Verse by California Poets
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Augustin S. Macdonald, comp.  A Collection of Verse by California Poets.  1914.
 
Hurrah for the Next that Dies!
By Bartholomew Dowling
 
          [This remarkable poem relates to revelry in India at a time when the English officers serving in that country were being struck down by pestilence. It has been correctly styled “the very poetry of military despair.”]


WE meet ’neath the sounding rafter,
  And the walls around are bare:
As they shout back our peals of laughter,
  It seems as the dead were there.
Then stand to your glasses!—steady!        5
  We drink ’fore our comrades’ eyes;
One cup to the dead already:
  Hurrah for the next that dies!
 
Not here are the goblets glowing,
  Not here is the vintage sweet;        10
’Tis cold as our hearts are growing,
  And dark as the doom we meet.
But stand to your glasses!—steady!
  And soon shall our pulses rise.
One cup to the dead already:        15
  Hurrah for the next that dies!
 
There’s many a hand that’s shaking,
  And many a cheek that’s sunk;
But soon, though our hearts are breaking,
  They’ll burn with the wine we’ve drunk.        20
Then stand to your glasses!—steady!
  ’Tis here the revival lies;
Quaff a cup to the dead already:
  Hurrah for the next that dies!
 
Time was when we laughed at others;        25
  We thought we were wiser then.
Ha! ha! let them think of their mothers,
  Who hope to see them again.
No! Stand to your glasses!—steady!
  The thoughtless is here the wise;        30
One cup to the dead already:
  Hurrah for the next that dies!
 
Not a sigh for the lot that darkles,
  Not a tear for the friends that sink;
We’ll fall ’mid the wine-cup’s sparkles,        35
  As mute as the wine we drink.
Come! Stand to your glasses!—steady!
  ’Tis this that the respite buys;
One cup to the dead already:
  Hurrah for the next that dies!        40
 
Who dreads to the dust returning?
  Who shrinks from the sable shore,
Where the high and haughty yearning
  Of the soul can sting no more?
No! Stand to your glasses!—steady!        45
  This world is a world of lies;
One cup to the dead already:
  Hurrah for the next that dies!
 
Cut off from the land that bore us,
  Betray’d by the land we find,        50
When the brightest are gone before us,
  And the dullest are left behind.
Stand!—stand to your glasses!—steady!
  ’Tis all we have left to prize;
One cup to the dead already:        55
  Hurrah for the next that dies!
 
 
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