Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BALLADE OF THE ABSENT GUEST, by RICHARD THOMAS LE GALLIENNE



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BALLADE OF THE ABSENT GUEST, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Friends whom to-night once more I greet
Last Line: I drink -- in tears -- the absent guest.
Subject(s): Death; Drinks & Drinking; Dead, The; Wine


FRIENDS whom to-night once more I greet,
Most glad am I with you to be,
And, as I look around, I meet
Many a face right good to see;
But one I miss -- ah! where is he? --
Of merry eye and sparkling jest,
Who used to brim my glass for me:
I drink -- in what? -- the Absent Guest.

Low lies he in his winding-sheet,
By organized hypocrisy
Hurled from his happy wine-clad seat,
Stilled his kind heart and hushed his glee;
His very name daren't mention we,
That good old friend who brought such zest,
And set our tongues and spirits free:
I drink -- in what? -- the Absent Guest.

No choice to-night 'twixt "dry" or "sweet,"
'Twixt red or white, 'twixt Rye, -- ah! me --
Or Scotch -- and think! we live to see't --
No whispered word, nor massive fee,
Nor even influenza plea,
Can raise a bubble; but, as best
We may, we make our hollow spree:
I drink -- in what? -- the Absent Guest.

ENVOI

Friends, good is coffee, good is tea,
And water has a charm unguessed --
And yet -- that brave old deity!
I drink -- in tears -- the Absent Guest.





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