Poem: Drink out thy glass!

Drink out thy glass! See, on thy threshold, nightly,
Staying his sword, stands Death, awaiting thee.
Be not alarmed; the grave-door, opened slightly,
Closes again; a full year it may be
Ere thou art dragged, poor sufferer, to the grave.
Pick the octave!
Tune up the strings! Sing of life with glee!

Golden’s the hue thy dull, wan cheeks are showing;
Shrunken’s thy chest, and flat each shoulder-blade.
Give me thy hand! Each dark vein, larger growing,
Is, to my touch, as if in water laid.
Damp are these hands; stiff are these veins becoming.
Pick now, and strumming,
Empty thy bottle! Sing! drink unafraid.

Skal, then, my boy! Old Bacchus sends last greeting;
Freya’s farewell receive thou, o’er thy bowl.
Fast in her praise thy thin blood flows, repeating
Its old-time force, as it was wont to roll.
Sing, read, forget; nay, think and weep while thinking.
Art thou for drinking
Another bottle? Thou art dead? No Skal!

(Carl Michael Bellman)

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