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 The Cup
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The Cup
by John Oldham

Make me a bowl, a mighty bowl,
Large as my capacious soul,
Vast as my thirst is; let it have
Depth enough to be my grave --
I mean the grave of all my care,
For I intend to bury't there
Let it of silver fashioned be,
Worthy of wine, worthy of me,
Worthy to adorn the spheres,
As that bright Cup amidst the stars:
That Cup which Heaven deigned a place,
Next the sun its greatest grace;
Kind Cup, that to the stars did go
To light poor drunkards here below!
Let mine be so, and give me light
That I may drink and revel by't.

Yet draw no shapes of armour there,
No cask, nor shield, nor sword, nor spear,
Nor wars of Thebes, nor wars of Troy,
Nor any other martial toy;
For what do I vain armour prize,
Who mind not such rough exercise,
But gentler sieges, softer wars,
Fights that cause no wounds or scars?
I'll have no battles on my plate,
Lest sight of them should brawls create;
Lest that provoke to quarrels too,
Which wine itself enough can do.
Draw me no constellations there,
No Ram, nor Bull, nor Dog, nor Bear,
Nor any of that monstrous fry
Of animals which stock the sky;
For what are stars to my design,
Stars, which I, when drunk, outshine,
Outshone by every drop of wine?
I lack no Pole Star on the brink
To guide in the wide sea of drink,
But would for ever there be tossed,
And wish no haven, seek no coast.

Yet, gentle artist, if thou'lt try
Thy skill, then draw me (let me see):
Draw me first a spreading vine;
Make its arms the bowl entwine
With kind embraces, such as I
Twist about my loving she;
Let its boughs o'erspread above
Scenes of drinking, scenes of love.
Draw next the patron of that tree:
Draw Bacchus and soft Cupid by;
Draw them both in toping shapes,
Their temples crowned with clustered grapes;
Make them lean against the cup
As 'twere to keep their figures up;
And when their reeling forms I view,
I'll think them drunk, and be so too.
The gods shall my examples be;
The gods, thus drunk in effigy.