Horace, Book I. Ode II., pp.161-162.

[Tea-Table Miscellany Contents]

To W. D. 


Tune of, Willy was a wanton Wag


WILLY ne’er enquire what end 

The Gods for thee or me intend; 

How vain the search, that but bestows 

The knowledge of our future woes: 

Happier the man that ne’er repines, 

Whatever lot his fare assigns, 

Than they that idly vex their lives 

With wizards and inchanting wives. 


Thy present years in mirth employ, 

And consecrate thy youth to joy; 

Whether the fates to thy old score 

Shall bounteous add a winter more, 

Or this shall lay thee cold in earth 

That rages o’er the Pentland firth, 

No more with Home the dance to lead; 

Take my advice, ne’er vex thy head. 


With blyth intent the goblet pour, 

That’s sacred to the genial hour, 

In flowing wine still warm thy soul, 

And have no thoughts beyond the bowl. 

Behold the flying hour is lost, 

For time rides ever on the post, 

Even while we speak, even while we think, 

And waits not for the standing drink. 


Collect thy joys each present day, 

And live in youth, while best you may; 

Have all your pleasures at command, 

Nor trust one day in fortune’s hand. 

Then Willy be a wanton wag, 

If ye wad please the lasses braw, 

At bridals then ye’ll bear the brag, 

And carry ay the gree awa’. 

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