Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LETHE. A BALLAD, by JAMES HAY BEATTIE



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LETHE. A BALLAD, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Ye mortals, whom fancies and troubles preplex
Last Line: Drink deep of that stream, and forget all your care.
Subject(s): Lethe (river)


"YE mortals, whom fancies and troubles perplex,
"Whom folly misguides, and infirmities vex;
"Whose lives hardly know what it is to be blest,.
"Who rise without joy, and lie down without rest:
"Obey the glad summons, to Lethe repair,
"Drink deep of the stream, and forget all your care."

The lawyer, whom Lethe prepares for a plea,
Shall remember his duty, forgetting his fee;
The doctor by kindness, not Latin, shall win ye,
And shall ask for your health, ere he look for your guinea.
Obey then the summons, &c.

The bard shall find mutton more savory than grass is,
And to sup in a tavern than starve on Parnassus;
While his lofty heroicks, and loftier garret,
He forgets in brisk trade, and snug rooms, and cool claret.
Obey then, &c.

No more shall the student suck old Alma Mater,
But leave college and port, for elysium and water,
Leave his whims and bocardos to boys and the rabble,
And know, man's chief end is not merely to squabble.
Obey then, &c.

The soldier, for once if a soldier will deign
To drink vapid Lethe for sprightly champaign,
Shall perceive a distinction of courage from oaths,
And of love to his country from love to his cloaths.
Obey then, &c.

But ye who would scruple to journey so far on,
To shiver on Styx, or to wrangle with Charon,
May sit still, if oblivion be all that ye ask,
And rejoice in the Lethe that spouts from the cask.
Obey then the summons, to Hogshead repair,
Drink deep of that stream, and forget all your care.





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