Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE INVITATION, by LEONARD WELSTED

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE INVITATION, by            
First Line: Freeman, I treat tonight, and treat your friends
Last Line: You know your friends; you know your bill of fare.
Subject(s): Friendship - Selectivity; Guests; Visiting

FREEMAN, I treat tonight, and treat your friends:
If, happily, from care your thought unbends,
If Lucy rules not with her jealous sway,
I shall expect you at the close of day.
I give you the rough wholesome grape, that grows
In Tuscan vales, or where the Tagus flows;
Or, if the Gallic vine delight you more,
Of Hermitage I boast a slender store.
This is my wealth: if you have better wine,
Make me your guest; if not, I claim you mine.
Already is my little sideboard graced;
The glasses marshalled; the decanters placed:
The room is cool; the summer-hearth is gay
With greens and flowers, th' exub'rance of the May.
Indulge the bliss this cheerful season brings;
Omit minuter hopes, and joyless things;
Let fame and riches wait. This happy morn,
With Brunswick, peace and liberty were born!
'Tis fit, my friend, we consecrate to mirth
The day, which gave th' illustrious monarch birth:
When the sun sets, we'll break into delight,
And give to gay festivity the night.
Of what avail is fortune unenjoyed?
Or what is life, in anxious hours employed?
Let the dull miser pine with niggard care,
And brood o'er gold, devoted to his heir:
While we in honest mirth send time away,
Regardless what severer sages say.
In cheerful minds unbidden joys arise,
And well-timed levities become the wise.
What virtue does not generous wine impart?
It gives a winning frankness to the heart;
With sprightly hope the drooping spirits arms;
Awakens love, and brightens beauty's charms;
High, florid thoughts th' inspiring juices breed;
Spleen they dispel, and clear the brow of need.
Expect superfluous splendour from the great:
Ragousts, and costly follies served in plate,
And ortolans, from distant regions brought.
In foreign arts of luxury untaught,
I give you only lamb from Uxbridge fields:
And add the choicest herb the garden yields;
Silesian lettuce, with soft Lucca oil,
Delicious blessings of a different soil!
None do our band of fellowship compose,
But know the chasteness of the banquet-rose.
Belmour is ours; Loveless, with humour stored;
And careless Florio, if he keeps his word.
I should exceed your rule, were more allowed:
There's less of mirth than tumult in a crowd.
Remember, time posts on with subtle haste:
Now, as I write, the numbered minutes waste.
Then, Freeman, let us seize the present hour,
And husband the swift moments in our pow'r.
Good-humour bring along, and banish care:
You know your friends; you know your bill of fare.

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net