The Picture of a Debauchee.

Town and Country Magazine 5 (January 1773) 48.


An imitation of Milton's L'Allegro that hymns the pleasures of inebriation: "Wine, more wine, I cannot think— | Bacchus, Bacchus, drink, more drink. | Thou second Venus to my arms, | Let me revel in thy charms." The poem, addressed "Story's Gate Coffe-house, Jan. 12, 1773" appears to answer W. Porden's "The Debauchee," published in the Town and Country Magazine in March 1771; the absence of repentance here may be considered an aesthetic improvement.

Bacchus, glorious god, inform me,
With thy fragrant nectar fire me;
Lead me to thy chrystal bowers;
Dropping odours, lin'd with flowers.
Pleasure true is only thine,
Ev'ry pleasure springs from wine:
Amply fill the gen'rous bowl,
Bacchus, ope each narrow soul;
Fill the bumpers, fill 'em boy,
Thou alone bring'st every joy,
Business and study, hence,
With each sober sad pretence
Made by dull philosophy,
And frowning strict severity;
Sober, musty fools, adieu,
Bacchus will not favour you.
Give me music, give me love,
Such as angels know above.
Jolly god, quick, music bring,
Such as ravish'd Persia's king.
Strike the lyre, and let it move
To some melting tale of love:
Some swain, by love unhappy made,
Wandering thro' the woodland shade:
(When night gives rest to wearied hinds,
And nought is heard but whistling winds)
To an ivy-mantled tower,
Or a dismal cypress bower;
(Where shrieking owls salute the skies;
Or where the humming beetle flies;
Infected too, by goblins drear,
Created by bigotted fear:)
T' indulge his sorrow or despair,
Created by a harden'd fair.
That done — our nobler sense regale
With some ancient martial tale;
Our ancestors how bravely fought,
How dear his conquest, Caesar bought;
Liberty, how dear! they held;
Defending it by spear and shield:
Where British kings, victorious strode
O'er haughty Gallia, drench'd in blood.
I joy in ideal glory won!
Greater now, than Philip's son!
A bumper! bring me beauty's aid,
In some lovely, modest maid;
Blooming as the ripening corn,
Healthy as a summer's morn
Angelic creature, source of bliss,
Let me take a balmy kiss:
Bacchus, wreath my brows with vine,
Give us music, give us wine;
Music, strike some merry air,
To exhilarate my fair.
Wine, more wine, I cannot think—
Bacchus, Bacchus, drink, more drink.
Thou second Venus to my arms,
Let me revel in thy charms:
She smiles consent, I rave, I fear—
'Tis more than mortal man can bear:
I'm mad with pleasure, I shall sink,
Bacchus, Bacchus, drink, more drink.
Philosophy now! what say'st thou,
Is this real joy or no?
No! — Envy does thy passion move,
With music, wine, and love, I'll sing;
Greater was not Persia's king.
Greater joy cannot be known;
From the thatch'd cottage, to the throne;
Drinking, dancing, singing, loving,
Thus towards the Styx I'm moving.
Let me, when I'm stopp'd by death,
In beauty's arms resign my breath;
I'll deck with pleasure chequer'd life,
Keep from politics and strife;
Strew life's passage o'er with roses,
Hide my bitterest griefs with posies;
Posies, made of luscious grape,
Posies, joys in beauty's shape,
When I die, joy's I've tasted;
In pleasure all my life was wasted.

[p. 48]