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THE ORIGIN OF WINE; A GERMAN LEGEND, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Ye friends of good cheer, I pray you give ear
Last Line: To the angel who gave him the seed of the vine!
Subject(s): Alcoholism & Alcoholics; Legends, German


YE friends of good cheer, I pray you give ear;
I sing of old Noah who planted the vine;
But first, if you please, our thirst to appease,
Let's drink to his health in a bumper of wine!


When the Deluge was o'er, and good Father Noah
Sat moping one day in the shade of a tree,
An Angel came near, and thinking it queer,
Said: "Tell me, I pray, what the matter may be."


Says Noah: "I'm curst with a horrible thirst;
So painful, indeed, I am ready to sink;
I have plenty to eat, there's no lack of meat;
But, sir, on my honor, I've nothing to drink!"


"See, on every side," the Angel replied,
"There is water enough both in river and rill,
Your fever to slake, -- not to mention the lake,
And many a fountain that flows from the hill."


Says Noah: "I know the waters still flow,
But the Deluge has ruined the fluid for drink;
So many bad men were soaked in it then,
The water now tastes of the sinners, I think."


"It can't be denied," the Angel replied,
"There is something of reason in what you have said;
Since the water is bad, it is fitting you had
A good wholesome tipple to drink in its stead."


Then flying away, the very next day
The Angel came back with a handful of seeds;
And taught the good man the properest plan
Of planting, and hoeing, and killing the weeds.


Ah! what color and shape! 't is the beautiful grape;
In clusters of purple they hang from the vine;
And these being pressed, it is easily guessed
Old Noah thenceforward drank nothing but wine.


So, a cup ere we part to the man of our heart,
Old Noah, the primitive grower of wine;
And one brimming cup (nay, fill it quite up)
To the Angel who gave him the seed of the vine!

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