Lord Alcohol

I.

Who tames the lion now?
Who smoothes Jove’s wrinkles now?
Who is the reckless wight
   That in the horrid middle
Of the deserted night
Doth play upon man’s brain,
   As on a wanton fiddle,
The mad and magic strain,
The reeling, tripping sound,
To which the world goes round?
   Sing heigh! ho! diddle!
               And then say—
Love, quotha, Love? nay, nay!
It is a spirit fine
Of ale or ancient wine,
   Lord Alcohol, the drunken fay,
               Lord Alcohol alway!

II.

Who maketh the pipe-clay man
Think all that nature can?
Who dares the gods to flout,
   Lay fate beneath the table,
And maketh him stammer out
   A thousand monstrous things,
   For history a fable,
   Dish-clouts for kings?
And sends the world along
Singing a ribald song
   Of heigho! Babel?
               Who, I pray—
Love, quotha, Love? nay, nay!
It is a spirit fine
Of ale or ancient wine,
   Lord Alcohol, the drunken fay,
               Lord Alcohol alway.

[Gosse, 1890]