ROUND ABOUT RYE 87
Balger : " Now that is a good song. With such a companionable thought who can say that the jovial past is dead ? The merry ghost of the past still smiles at us broadly, and we are here to-night to keep the ghost smiling. We will drink to the memory of that jolly old playwright named Cratinus, who died of a broken heart on seeing some soldiers spear a cask of wine and let it run to waste. And to Chaucer who received from England's King a great measure of wine daily in London town. And to Doctor Johnson who declared roundly and without shocking anybody, ' Brandy, sir, is the drink for heroes.' On this theme a writer by the name of Peacock composed some verses, and as I think you may not have previously heard them, I shall make the experiment of singing them to a tune of my own ."
And with that Balger went over to the piano and sang to us this drinking song which is the kindest and most scandalous that poet ever penned :
' If I drink water while this doth last,
May I never again drink wine ; For how can a man, in his life of a span
Do anything better than dine ? We'll dine and drink, and say if we think
That anything better can be ; And when we have dined, wish all mankind
May dine as well as we.