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Charles Harper Webb

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Dum Vivimus Vigilemus


TURN out more ale, turn up the light;
I will not go to bed to-night.
Of all the foes that man should dread
The first and worst one is a bed.
Friends I have had both old and young,
And ale we drank and songs we sung:
Enough you know when this is said,
That, one and all,—they died in bed.
In bed they died and I ’ll not go
Where all my friends have perished so.
Go you who glad would buried be,
But not to-night a bed for me.

For me to-night no bed prepare,
But set me out my oaken chair.
And bid no other guests beside
The ghosts that shall around me glide;
In curling smoke-wreaths I shall see
A fair and gentle company.
Though silent all, rare revellers they,
Who leave you not till break of day.
Go you who would not daylight see,
But not to-night a bed for me:
For I ’ve been born and I ’ve been wed—
All of man’s peril comes of bed.

And I ’ll not seek—whate’er befall—
Him who unbidden comes to all.
A grewsome guest, a lean-jawed wight—
God send he do not come to-night!
But if he do, to claim his own,
He shall not find me lying prone;
But blithely, bravely, sitting up,
And raising high the stirrup-cup.
Then if you find a pipe unfilled,
An empty chair, the brown ale spilled;
Well may you know, though naught be said,
That I ’ve been borne away to bed.

Submitted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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