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Bacchus Analysis



Author: poem of Ralph Waldo Emerson Type: poem Views: 8

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Bring me wine, but wine which never grew

In the belly of the grape,

Or grew on vine whose taproots reaching through

Under the Andes to the Cape,

Suffered no savor of the world to 'scape.

Let its grapes the morn salute

From a nocturnal root

Which feels the acrid juice

Of Styx and Erebus,

And turns the woe of night,

By its own craft, to a more rich delight.



We buy ashes for bread,

We buy diluted wine;

Give me of the true,

Whose ample leaves and tendrils curled

Among the silver hills of heaven,

Draw everlasting dew;

Wine of wine,

Blood of the world,

Form of forms and mould of statures,

That I; intoxicated,

And by the draught assimilated,

May float at pleasure through all natures,

The bird-language rightly spell,

And that which roses say so well.



Wine that is shed

Like the torrents of the sun

Up the horizon walls;

Or like the Atlantic streams which run

When the South Sea calls.



Water and bread;

Food which needs no transmuting,

Rainbow-flowering, wisdom-fruiting;

Wine which is already man,

Food which teach and reason can.



Wine which music is;

Music and wine are one;

That I, drinking this,

Shall hear far chaos talk with me,

Kings unborn shall walk with me,

And the poor grass shall plot and plan

What it will do when it is man:

Quickened so, will I unlock

Every crypt of every rock.



I thank the joyful juice

For all I know;

Winds of remembering

Of the ancient being blow,

And seeming-solid walls ot use

Open and flow.



Pour, Bacchus, the remembering wine;

Retrieve the loss of me and mine;

Vine for vine be antidote,

And the grape requite the lot.

Haste to cure the old despair,

Reason in nature's lotus drenched,

The memory of ages quenched;—

Give them again to shine.

Let wine repair what this undid,

And where the infection slid,

And dazzling memory revive.

Refresh the faded tints,

Recut the aged prints,

And write my old adventures, with the pen

Which, on the first day, drew

Upon the tablets blue

The dancing Pleiads, and the eternal men.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Emerson's wine is his surrogate for wisdom, intellect, awareness of history, pursuit of the arts and appreciation of nature. The lines "And the poor grass shall plot and plan what it will do when it is man" particularly struck me and seems to imply the exact opposite: denial of observations and facts, rewriting of history, disregard of the need to preserve our environment, and proliferation of "alt-facts"- what we are seeing today. (His later line "and where the infection slid, a dazzling memory assign" is a little unsettling in this regard.)
His call for us to dispose of our ashes and diluted wine for man's higher instincts is certainly inspirational.

| Posted on 2017-09-03 | by a guest




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