Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

An Echo From Horace - Poem by Richard Le Gallienne

_Lusisti est, et edisti, atque bibisti;
Tempus abire, tibi est._

Take away the dancing girls, quench the lights, remove
Golden cups and garlands sere, all the feast; away
Lutes and lyres and Lalage; close the gates, above
Write upon the lintel this; _Time is done for play!
Thou hast had thy fill of love, eaten, drunk; the show
Ends at last, 'twas long enough--time it is to go._

Thou hast played--ah! heart, how long!--past all count were they,
Girls of gold and ivory, bosomed deep, all snow,
Leopard swift, and velvet loined, bronze for hair, wild clay
Turning at a touch to flame, tense as a strung bow.
Cruel as the circling hawk, tame at last as dove,--
Thou hast had thy fill and more than enough of love.

Thou hast eaten; peacock's tongues,--fed thy carp with slaves,--
Nests of Asiatic birds, brought from far Cathay,
Umbrian boars, and mullet roes snatched from stormy waves;
Half thy father's lands have gone one strange meal to pay;
For a morsel on thy plate ravished sea and shore;
Thou hast eaten--'tis enough, thou shalt eat no more.

Thou hast drunk--how hast thou drunk! mighty vats, whole seas;
Vineyards purpling half a world turned to gold thy throat,
Falernian, true Massic, the gods' own vintages,
Lakes thou hast swallowed deep enough galleys tall to float;
Wildness, wonder, wisdom, all, drunkenness divine,
All that dreams within the grape, madness too, were thine.

Time it is to go and sleep--draw the curtains close--
Tender strings shall lull thee still, mellow flutes be blown,
Still the spring shall shower down on thy couch the rose,
Still the laurels crown thine head, where thou dreamest alone.
Thou didst play, and thou didst eat, thou hast drunken deep,
Time at last it is to go, time it is to sleep.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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