On which account, when we are met together in these Dionysiac conversaziones, no one, as is said in the Tarentines of Alexis—
No one can find a just pretence to grudge usAnd, in the words of the beautiful Sappho,—
Our harmless pleasure, since we never injure
One of our neighbours. Know you not, my friend,
That what is called life is but a name,
Well soften'd down (to make it palatable),
For human fate? And whether any one
Thinks that I'm right or wrong in what I say,
I cannot change a word; for well I know,
And long have I consider'd the whole matter,
That all th' affairs of men are full of madness,
And we who live are only sojourners,
Like men who go to some great festival,
Starting from death and darkness to a pastime,
And to this light which we behold before us.
But he who laughs and drinks most cheerfully,
And most enjoys the charming gifts of Venus,
And most attends on feasts and festivals,
He goes through life, and then departs most happily.
Come, O Venus, hither come,
Bringing us thy goblets fair,
Mingled with the merry feast;
And pour out sparkling wine, I pray,
To your and my companions gay.