“Dithyrambic” by James Gates Percival

by Ann Neilson

From his 1823 volume of Poems, Percival’s “Dithyrambic” proves to be an excellent ode to Dionysus, Greek god of wine.

Dithyrambic.
James Gates Percival

FILL the cup for me,
Fill the cup of pleasure;
Wake the fairy lyre
To its wildest measure.
Melancholy’s gloom
Now is stealing on me.
But the cup and lyre
Can chase the demon from me.

Fill the cup for me,
Fill the cup of pleasure;
Wake the fairy lyre
To its wildest measure.

In the shades of night,
When every eye is closing,
On the moonlight bank
All in peace reposing,
There is nought so sweet,
As the cup of pleasure,
And the lyre that breathes
In its wildest measure.

Fill the cup, &c.

This is the smiling star,
That guides me o’er life’s ocean,
This the heavenly light,
That wakes my heart’s devotion:
‘T is when Beauty’s smile
Gives the cup of pleasure,
And awakes the lyre
To its wildest measure.

Fill the cup, &c.

If the fiend of sorrow
With his gloom affright thee,
There may come to-morrow
One who will delight thee:
‘Tis the fair, whose smile
Beams with sweetest pleasure,
And whose hand awakes
The lyre’s delightful measure.

Fill the cup, &c.

Form of Beauty! bind
Pleasure’s wreath of roses
Round this brow of mine,
Where every joy reposes:
Yes—my heart can bound
To mirth’s enlivening measure,
When the lyre is tuned,
And smiles the cup of Pleasure.

Fill the cup, &c.

Drive dull Care away—
Why should gloom depress thee?
Life may frown to-day,
But Joy will soon caress thee.
While there’s time, my friend,
Drink the cup of Pleasure,
And awake the lyre
To its wildest measure.

Fill the cup for me,
Fill the cup of Pleasure,
Wake the fairy lyre
To its wildest measure.