James Shirley

(September 1596 – October 1666 / London, England)

Two Gentlemen That Broke Their Promise


There is no faith in claret, and it shall
Henceforth with me be held apocryphal.
I'll trust a small-beer promise, nay, a troth
Washed in the Thames, before a French wine oath.
That grape, they say, is binding; yes, 'tis so,
And it has made your souls thus costive too.
Circe transformed the Greeks; no hard design,
For some can do as much with claret wine
Upon themselves; witness you two, allowed
Once honest, now turned air, and à la mode.
Begin no health in this, or if by chance
The King's 'twill question your allegiance;
And men will, after all your ruffling, say
You drink as some do fight, in the French way:
Engage and trouble many, when 'tis known
You spread their interest to wave your own.
Away with this false Christian: it shall be
An excommunicate from mirth, and me;
Give me the Catholic diviner flame,
To light me to the fair Odelia's name;
'Tis sack that justifies both man and verse,
Whilst you in Lethe-claret still converse.
Forget your own names next; and when you look
With hope to find, be lost in the church-book.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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