I was struck by the short poem, “Fill the Goblet Again”, by Lord Byron.
Fill the goblet again ! for I never before
Felt the glow which now gladdens my heart to its core;
Let us drink ! — who would not ? — since, through life’s varied round,
In the goblet alone no deception is found.
I have tried in its turn all that life can supply;
I have bask’d in the beam of a dark rolling eye;
I have loved ! — who has not ? — but what heart can declare
That pleasure existed while passion was there?
In the days of my youth, when the heart’s in its spring,
And dreams that affection can never take wing,
I had friends ! — who has not ? — but what tongue will avow,
That friends, rosy wine! Are so faithful as thou?
The heart of a mistress some boy may estrange,
Friendship shifts with the sunbeam — thou never canst change;
Thou grow’st old — who does not ? — but on earth what appears,
Whose virtues, like thine, still increase with its years?
Yet if blest to the utmost that love can bestow,
Should a rival bow down to our idol below,
We are jealous ! — who’s not ? — thou hast no such alloy;
For the more that enjoy thee, the more we enjoy.
Then the season of youth and its vanities past,
For refuge we fly to the goblet at last;
There we find — do we not ? — in the flow of the soul,
That truth, as of yore, is confined to the bowl.
When the box of Pandora was opened on earth,
And Misery’s triumph commenced over Mirth,
Hope was left, — was she not ? — but the goblet we kiss,
And care not for Hope, who are certain of bliss.
Long life to the grape! for when summer is flown.
The age of our nectar shall gladden our own:
We must die — who shall not ? — May our sins be forgiven,
And Hebe shall never be idle in heaven.
It strikes me that there is a certain amount of truth in this. But is such a view compatible with Catholic morality?