Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe




Here’s a health to thee Tom,* a bright bumper we drain
    To the friends that our bosoms hold dear,
As the bottle goes round, and again and again
    We whisper “we wish he were here.”

Here’s a health to thee Tom, may the mists of this earth
    Never shadow the light of that soul
Which so often has lent the mild flashes of mirth
    To illumine the depths of the Bowl.

With a world full of beauty and fun for a theme,
    And a glass of good wine to inspire,
E’en without thee we sometimes are bless’d with a gleam
    That resembles thy spirit’s own fire.

Yet still, in our gayest and merriest mood
    Our pleasures are tasteless and dim,
For the thoughts of the past, and of Tom that intrude,
    Make us feel we’re but happy with him.

Like the Triumph of the old where the absent one threw
    A cloud o’er the glorious scene,
Are our feasts, my dear Tom, when we meet without you,
    And think of the nights that have been.

When thy genius, assuming all hues of delight,
    Fled away with the rapturous hours, [Page 169]
And when wisdom, and wit, to enliven the night,
    Scatter’d freely their fruits and their flowers.

When thy eloquence played round each topic in turn,
    Shedding luster and life where it fell,
As the sunlight, in which the tall mountain tops burn,
    Paints each bud in the lowliest dell.

When that eye, before which the pale Senate once quailed
    With humor and deviltry shone,
And the voice which the heart of the patriot hailed,
    Had mirth in its every tone.

Then a health to thee, Tom, ev’ry bumper we drain
    But renders thy image more dear,
As the bottle goes round, and again, and again,
    We wish, from our hearts, you were here.

* “Tom” was Judge Haliburton, better known as Sam Slick the Clockmaker. [back]