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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/316

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276
HOURS OF IDLENESS.

LINES INSCRIBED UPON A CUP FORMED FROM A SKULL.[1]

1.

Start not—nor deem my spirit fled:
In me behold the only skull,
From which, unlike a living head,
Whatever flows is never dull.


2.

I lived, I loved, I quaff'd, like thee:
I died: let earth my bones resign;
Fill up—thou canst not injure me;
The worm hath fouler lips than thine.


3.

Better to hold the sparkling grape,
Than nurse the earth-worm's slimy brood;
And circle in the goblet's shape
The drink of Gods, than reptile's food.



  1. [Byron gave Medwin the following account of this cup:—"The gardener in digging [discovered] a skull that had probably belonged to some jolly friar or monk of the abbey, about the time it was dis-monasteried. Observing it to be of giant size, and in a perfect state of preservation, a strange fancy seized me of having it set and mounted as a drinking cup. I accordingly sent it to town, and it returned with a very high polish, and of a mottled colour like tortoiseshell."—Medwin's Conversations, 1824, p. 87.]