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Gentlemen of Bacchus

We are they whose loud carousing,
Tankards deep and anthems rousing
Fill the inns, the drink espousing:
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

As on drunken nights aplenty
Since before the age of twenty;
Alcoholic cognoscenti:
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

Once our numbers swamped the tables,
Packed the snug up to the gables,
Filled the air with jokes and fables:
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

But in ones and twos and threes
Young blades fell to love’s disease;
Moved to Surrey, if you please.
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

By coup de main or escalade,
Sniper’s shot or cannonade,
Cupid drew them in his shade:
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

Just we few still gather gladly,
Sing the old songs somewhat sadly,
Drink and laugh a little madly:
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

We who, shunning home and sleep,
The rites of Dionysus keep
And laughingly refuse to weep.
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

Cheery, beery, worldly, weary,
Playing out our revels dreary,
Hair and numbers thinning yearly:
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

Sooner than we care to think,
As our numbers fade and shrink,
One alone will sit and drink:
Gentleman of Bacchus.

Shorn of satire, robbed of farce,
He’ll watch the leaden moments pass
Reflected in an empty glass:
Gentleman of Bacchus.

The water in his bleary eye
Will mutely question how and why
We let the youthful laughter die,
Gentlemen of Bacchus.

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