Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A FLY ABOUT A GLASS OF BURNT CLARET, by RICHARD LOVELACE



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A FLY ABOUT A GLASS OF BURNT CLARET, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Forbear this liquid fire, fly
Last Line: Thou wouldst be scorched and drowned again!
Subject(s): Flies


Forbear this liquid fire, fly,
It is more fatal than the dry:
That singly, but embracing, wounds,
And this at once both burns and drowns.
The salamander, that in heat
And flames doth cool his monstrous sweat,
Whose fan, a glowing cake, 'tis said,
Of this red furnace is afraid.
Viewing the ruby-crystal shine,
Thou tak'st it for heaven-crystalline;
Anon thou wilt be taught to groan,
'Tis an ascended Acheron.
A snowball-heart in it let fall,
And take it out a fire-ball:
An icy breast in it betrayed
Breaks a destructive wild grenade.
'Tis this makes Venus' altars shine,
This kindles frosty Hymen's pine;
When th' Boy grows old in his desires,
This flambeau doth new light his fires.
Though the cold hermit ever wail,
Whose sighs do freeze, and tears drop hail,
Once having passed this, will ne'er
Another flaming purging fear.
The Vestal drinking this doth burn
Now more than in her funeral urn;
Her fires, that with the sun kept race,
Are now extinguished by her face.
The chemist, that himself doth 'stil,
Let him but taste this limbec's bill,
And prove this sublimated bowl,
He'll swear it will calcine a soul.
Noble and brave! now thou dost know
The false prepared decks below,
Dost thou the fatal liquor sup,
One drop, alas, thy bark blows up.
What airy country hast to save,
Whose plagues thou'lt bury in thy grave?
For even now thou seem'st to us
On this gulf's brink a Curtius.
And now th'art fall'n, magnan'mous fly,
In, where thine ocean doth fry,
Like the Sun's son who blushed the flood
To a complexion of blood.
Yet see! my glad auricular
Redeems thee (though dissolved) a star:
Flaggy thy wings, and scorched thy thighs,
Thou li'st a double sacrifice.
And now my warming, cooling breath
Shall a new life afford in death:
See! in the hosp'tal of my hand,
Already cured, thou fierce dost stand.
Burnt insect! dost thou reaspire
The moist-hot glass and liquid fire?
I see! 'tis such a pleasing pain,
Thou wouldst be scorched and drowned again!








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