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Dram-Shop Ditty Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 2

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I drink my fill of foamy ale

I sing a song, I tell a tale,

I play the fiddle;

My throat is chronically dry,

Yet savant of a sort am I,

And Life's my riddle.

For look! I raise my arm to drink-

A voluntary act, you think

(Nay, Sir, you're grinning)>

You're wrong: this stein of beer I've drained

to emptiness was pre-ordained

Since Time's beginning.

But stay! 'Tis I who err, because

Time has no birth; it always was,

It will be ever;

And trivial though my act appears,

Its repercussion down the years

Will perish never.

It will condition ages hence,

but its most urgent consequence,

You'll not deny, Sir,

Is that it should be filled again

To goad my philosophic brain,

If you will buy, Sir.

There is no great, there is no small;

Fate makes a tapestry of all,

each stitch is needed . . .

The gods be praised! that barman chap

Manipulates his frothing tap -

My plea is heeded.

Two foaming tankards over-spill,

And soon, ah! not too soon, they will

Our thirst be slaking.

Stout lad! he does not dream that he

A page of history maybe

Is blandly making.

For Sir, it was ordained that you

Buy me a drink (or maybe two)

Since ages hoary;

And doubtless it is predestined

our meeting shall affect in kind

Earth's Cosmic Story.

The fathomless, eternal Past,

The Future infinitely vast,

We two are linking;

So let us fitly celebrate

This moment of immortal Fate

In drinking, drinking.

But though I toss a hearty pot,

Kind stranger, do not think I'm not

For Truth a groper . . .

Another? Thanks, I won't refuse,

I am a tippler, if you choose,

But not a toper.

A nice distinction! . . . Well, life's good;

Just give me beer, rich greasy food,

And let me fiddle;

Enough of dull philosophy;

To-night we'll merry, merry be . . .



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