After Dinner - Poem by Albert Pike
To BEVERLEY TUCKER, ESQUIRE, GREETING:
Dear BEV. this greeting goes to you across the Atlantic brine,
From the little room at Johnny Coyle's where once we used to dine,
And where we've met today, to eat your mutton and your game,
Which lately over that same brine, a welcome present came.
Of course the Host himself presides, this memorable night,
With 'Jon' Kingman on his left, Will Hunter on his right;
At the foot our genial Mayor, better known as Jim Berrett,
On either hand of whom Clem Hill, and Walter Lenox sit.
Between these jovial chiefs, your friends around the table throng;
Hugh Caperton, of martial fame, Jack Savage, full of song,
Arnold Harris, Charley Boteler, who was never known to tire,
Buck Bayliss, Robert Johnson, Charley Winder, Jim McGuire.
Knox Walker, from far Tennessee, by Jonah Hoover sits,
And Albert Pike, of Arkansaw the glass ne'er pretermits:
Ned Tidball, Major Donoho, and Royal Robert Ould,
Just twenty, BEV.! you recollect the room will no more hold.
In Oeil de Perdrix, St. Marceaux, Veuve Chiquot, St. Peray,
In Liebfraunmilch, Latour, Lafitte, and ruddy Romance,
In ripe Amontillado we remember you, old friend!
And Sercial and Buel to the feast enchautmeut lend.
Now while old songs are carrolled, and all hearts are full of glee,
'Tis moved and seconded, and all without demur agree,
That each shall send you greeting, in these free and easy rhymes,
That, redolent of fun, shall stir the memories of old times.
'Tis ordered that the host himself the first wish shall express,
And I drain the brimming bumper, to your health, and happiness;
Contented, prosperous, fortunate, unvexed by care or toil,
May your days glide gracefully away is the wish of JOHN COYLE.
May heaven its richest blessings shed upon your house and you!
Your enemies prove impotent, your friends prove staunch and true,
May your Life's current smoothly flow, nor vainly chafe and fret,
Against the impediments of fate! this drinks JAMES G. BERRET.
May all your paths be pleasantness, your life be free from care,
Tour Evening like your Morning and Meridian be fair,
And when Life's Sunset calmly comes, may all your Sky be clear,
I, W. HUNTER, breathe this wish, heartfelt, and most sincere.
I like the good old fashioned Toast, Health, Peace and Competence!
Health, on good terms, with social cheer, and foe of abstinence;
Peace without dulness; Competence without frugality,
All this in loving kindness BEV., E. KINGMAN wishes thee.
May Heaven preserve you from all ills, this mortal state that vex,
From all annoyances that sting, all troubles that perplex!
May no great sorrow sadden you, and no bereavement chill,
The generous heart we love so well! Thus wishes CLEMENT HILL.
May Canvass-backs and terrapins still be within your means!
May Pheasants not destroy your taste for homely jowl and greens!
Nor English rolls, corn-bread displace, nor any royal fish,
Make you contemn Potomac shad! I, ARNOLD HARRIS, wish.
May time take from you none you love, nor any friend estrange,
Nor kindliness and confidence to cold indifference change!
Nor doubt, or dumb suspicion of an old friend's truth spring up!
To this C. W. BOTELER drains an overflowing cup.
Let others wish yon what they please, this wish, dear BEV., is mine;
Soon may your chimney-corner be once more your only shrine!
At home with loving hearts around, no longer an estray,
May you find happiness indeed! I, E. M. TIDBALL, pray.
When e'er you want to borrow, may you find a loyal friend,
Who fortunately flush himself will be rejoiced to lend!
You'll never want the ready will, a friend in need to aid,
And may you never want the means, J. KNOX WALKER'S wish is said.
May these familiar Signatures, these unpretending rhymes,
Sweet memories awaken, and bring back the good old times!
Oh Barnum! may you soon return, our merriment to share!
Vouchsafe this favour, Oh, ye Gods! is CHARLES H. WINDER'S prayer.
If Fortune will be less than kind, may she not cruel be,
Nor in her wrath afflict you with the last calamity.
May you Congressional slavery 'scape, whatever else betides:
This ROBERT W. JOHNSON asks, and asks no boon besides.
May you full long with appetite and palate unimpaired,
To feast on fish and flesh and fowl be mercifully spared!
Without that penalty the gout, which some for pleasure pay,
May you that luxury enjoy! I, BUCKNER BAYLY, pray.
Health, Wealth and Happiness! may you this three-fold boon attain!
May Envy, Hate, and Malice, seek to injure you in vain!
And if, dear BEV., between us, Power again is put to choose,
May you the wished for office win, and J. D. HOOVER lose!
May you ne'er lose your taste for Wine, nor then potations choose,
Nor off your feet or foundered, BEV., to drain your glass refuse,
Long may the generous life-blood of the grape your wit inspire,
And drive away dull care, old friend! wishes JAMES C. MCGUIRE.
Whenever you're reported dead, and many a manly eye
With tears attest the soul's sharp pain, may it be proved a lie!
May such a wake be given you, as once was given me,
And may I, ALBERT PIKE, and all these friends be there to see!
When e'er again a President you help to nominate,
May your share of the pickings be at least a consulate!
Due meed for loyal services, may none from you withhold
Nor those you help ungrateful prove! thus wishes ROBERT OULD.
Should sorrows sadden you, my frieud or fortune prove unkind,
Receive the buffets dealt by Fate, with firm and equal mind!
From whatsoever quarters ill-luck's cross-winds wildly blow,
May you as safe at anchor ride, as THOMAS DONOHO.
Dear BEV., I, JOHANN SAVAGE, drink with all my soul to this:
May all the arrows of hard fate your portly person miss!
Lord love you, BEV., and bless you with those blessings manifold,
Which round the home-hearth clustering, are more than place or gold.
May those dear ones at home be spared to make with their sweet eyes,
That home when to it you return, once more a Paradise!
May you with them to cherish you, long walk Life's pleasant ways,
And fall asleep in peace at last! Thus WALTER LENOX prays.
The last wish is assigned to me; and as when old friends part,
Hand lingers clasping hand, and heart seems clinging unto heart;
So I, HUGH CAPERTON, so all with one accord do cry,
While the voice falters at the word, Dear BEV., old friend, Good bye.
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