But in our time dear to the thyrsus-bearers
Is rosy wine, and greatest of all gods
As Ion the Chian says, in his Elegies—
For this is pretext fit for many a song;
The great assemblies of th' united Greeks,
The feasts of kings, do from this gift proceed,
Since first the vine, with hoary bunches laden,
Push'd from beneath the ground its fertile shoots,
Clasping the poplar in its firm embrace,
And from its buds burst forth a numerous race,
Crashing, as one upon the other press'd;
But when the noise has ceased they yield their juice,
Divinest nectar, which to mortal men
Is ever the sole remedy for care,
And common cause of joy and cheerfulness.
Parent of feasts, and laughter, and the dance,
Wine shows the disposition of the good,
And strengthens all their noble qualities.
Hail! then, O Bacchus, president of feasts,
Dear to all men who love the wreathed flowers;
Give us, kind God, an age of happiness,
To drink, and play, and cherish just designs.
But Amphis, in his Philadelphi, praising the life of those
who are fond of drinking, says:—
For many causes do I think our life,
The life of those who drink, a happy one;
And happier far than yours, whose wisdom all
Lies in a stern and solemn-looking brow.
For that slow prudence which is always busy
In settling small affairs, which with minuteness,
And vain solicitude, keeps hunting trifles,
Fears boldly to advance in things of weight;
But our mind, not too fond of scrutinising
Th' exact result of every trifling measure,
Is ever for prompt deeds of spirit ready.