Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LAST CUP OF CANARY; SIR HARRY LOVELOCK, 1645, by HELEN GRAY CONE



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THE LAST CUP OF CANARY; SIR HARRY LOVELOCK, 1645, by            
First Line: So, the powder's low, and the larder's clean
Last Line: And the lees in his beard for a fiend outwitted!
Alternate Author Name(s): Green, Coroebus


So, the powder's low, and the larder's clean,
And surrender drapes, with its blacks impending,
All the stage for a sorry and sullen scene:
Yet indulge me my whim of a madcap ending!

Let us once more fill, ere the final chill,
Every vein with the glow of the rich canary!
Since the sweet hot liquor of life 's to spill,
Of the last of the cellar what boots be chary?

Then hear the conclusion: I'll yield my breath,
But my leal old house and my good blade never!
Better one bitter kiss on the lips of Death
Than despoiled Defeat as a wife forever!

Let the faithful fire hold the walls in ward
Till the roof-tree crash! Be the smoke once riven
While we flash from the gate like a single sword,
True steel to the hilt, though in dull earth driven!

Do you frown, Sir Richard, above your ruff,
In the Holbein yonder? My deed ensures you!
For the flame like a fencer shall give rebuff
To your blades that blunder, you Roundhead boors, you!

And my ladies, a-row on the gallery wall,
Not a sing-song sergeant or corporal sainted
Shall pierce their breasts with his Puritan ball,
To annul the charms of the flesh, though painted!

I have worn like a jewel the life they gave;
As the ring in mine ear I can lightly lose it.
If my days be done, why, my days were brave!
If the end arrive, I as master choose it!

Then fill to the brim, and a health, I say,
To our liege King Charles, and I pray God bless him!
'T would amend worse vintage to drink dismay
To the clamorous mongrel pack that press him!

And a health to the fair women, past recall,
That like birds astray through the heart's hall flitted;
To the lean devil Failure last of all,
And the lees in his beard for a fiend outwitted!





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