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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Draw it Mild

By Pierre Jean de Béranger (1780–1857)

(Les Petits Coups)

Translation of William Young

LET’S learn to temper our desires,

Not harshly to constrain;

And since excess makes pleasure less,

Why, so much more refrain.

Small table—cozy corner—here

We well may be beguiled;

Our worthy host old wine can boast:

Drink, drink—but draw it mild!

He who would many an evil shun

Will find my plan the best—

To trim the sail as shifts the gale,

And half-seas over rest.

Enjoyment is an art—disgust

Is bred of joy run wild;

Too deep a drain upsets the brain:

Drink, drink—but draw it mild!

Our indigence—let’s cheer it up;

’Tis nonsense to repine;

To give to Hope the fullest scope

Needs but one draught of wine.

And oh! be temperate, to enjoy,

Ye on whom Fate hath smiled;

If deep the bowl, your thirst control:

Drink, drink—but draw it mild!

What, Phyllis, dost thou fear? at this

My lesson dost thou scoff?

Or would’st thou say, light draughts betray

The toper falling off?

Keen taste, eyes keen—whate’er be seen

Of joy in thine, fair child,

Love’s philtre use, but don’t abuse:

Drink, drink—but draw it mild!

Yes, without hurrying, let us roam

From feast to feast of gladness;

And reach old age, if not quite sage,

With method in our madness!

Our health is sound, good wines abound;

Friends, these are riches piled.

To use with thrift the twofold gift:

Drink, drink—but draw it mild!