Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
246. Let Us Drink and Be Merry
 
Thomas Jordan (1612(?)–1685)
 
 
LET us drink and be merry, dance, joke, and rejoice,
With claret and sherry, theorbo and voice!
The changeable world to our joy is unjust,
      All treasure’s uncertain,
      Then down with your dust!        5
In frolics dispose your pounds, shillings, and pence,
For we shall be nothing a hundred years hence.
 
We’ll sport and be free with Moll, Betty, and Dolly,
Have oysters and lobsters to cure melancholy:
Fish-dinners will make a man spring like a flea,        10
      Dame Venus, love’s lady,
      Was born of the sea:
With her and with Bacchus we’ll tickle the sense,
For we shall be past it a hundred years hence.
 
Your most beautiful bride who with garlands is crown’d        15
And kills with each glance as she treads on the ground.
Whose lightness and brightness doth shine in such splendour
      That one but the stars
      Are thought fit to attend her,
Though now she be pleasant and sweet to the sense,        20
Will be damnable mouldy a hundred years hence.
 
Then why should we turmoil in cares and in fears,
Turn all our tranquill’ty to sighs and to tears?
Let’s eat, drink, and play till the worms do corrupt us,
      ’Tis certain, Post mortem        25
      Nulla voluptas.
For health, wealth and beauty, wit, learning and sense,
Must all come to nothing a hundred years hence.
 

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