Song of Golden Youth

David Park Barnitz

Quelle bêtise! O Muse, no longer lappt in sadness let us lie,
Bring the jars of old Falernum, bring the roses ere they die!
I love laughter, I love kisses, I love Lili, I love love,
But these dingy funeral dirges ennuyer us by-and-by;
Fellows, disinvoltamente, when the lords of life depart,
Lift the wine-cup to your haughty lips, and sing, Good bye, goodbye!
We have laughter on our lips, and in our hearts the laughing spring,
Nothing greatly can afflict us, nor our spirits mortify;
All the laws and regulations under scornful feet we tread,
We laugh loud at all the virtues underneath the shining sky;
I have heard, when haughty Tarquin did his horrid deed of sin,
That Lucretia's lily fingers slapp'd his face vivaciously;
Though of all my life dear Lili make a gay dégringolade,
Yet to my ennuis doth Lili sing an endless lullaby;
We are Greeks and we are Tartars, we know all the languages,
To the girls of Persia, India, China, we know how to sigh;
If the heartless heart of Lili tediously cruel prove,
Go and dance the tarantella with the girls of Hokusai!
In the golden-citied world from Paris unto Tokio
We are quite at home, we saunter languidly through tall Shanghai;
Chairete! the shaw of rosy Persia is a gentleman,
Charming people in Benares where the Ganges loiters by;
Allah akbar! O great world, O golden-tower'd cities gay,
Into all your gates with laughter and with roses enter I!

Kalliste, your Persian ghazal cease to sing: the sun is low,
And the sacred hour of absinthe now is very very nigh.

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