Notes

Original poem
by Bartholomew Dowling

Printable version

MP3 Sample

Revelry of the Dying

Composed by Capt. Bartholomew Dowling in India about 1845,
as the plague was hourly sweeping away his companions.
He did not long survive his wonderful production.

Adapted by Charlie Ipcar - 1993
New tune by Charlie Ipcar 1993

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We meet 'neath the sounding rafters,
And the walls around are bare,
As they shout to our peals of laughter,
You'd swear that the dead were there.
But stand to your glasses, steady!
We'll drink to our comrades' eyes,
Raise a cup to the dead already,
And hurrah! for the next that dies.

There's a mist on the glass congealing;
'Tis the furies' fiery breath;
And thus does the warmth of feeling
Turn ice in the grasp of death.
But stand to your glasses, steady!
For a moment the vapor flies,
Raise a cup to the dead already,
And hurrah! for the next that dies.

Who dreads to the dust returning?
Who shrinks from that sable shore?
Where the high and haughty yearning
Of the soul shall sting no more.
But stand to your glasses, steady!
This world is a world of lies,
Raise a cup to the dead already,
And hurrah! for the next that dies.

Cut off from the land that bore us,
Betrayed by the land we find,
Where the brightest have gone before us,
And the dullest remain behind.
But stand to your glasses, steady!
'Tis all we've left to prize,
Raise a cup to the dead already,
And hurrah! for the next that dies.

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THE REVEL
East India

Original poem by Capt. Bartholomew Dowling

We meet 'neath the sounding rafter,
And the walls all around are bare;
As they shout back our peals of laughter
It seems that the dead are there.
Then stand to your glasses, steady!
We drink in our comrades eyes:
One cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies!

Not here are the goblets glowing,
Not here is the vintage sweet;
'Tis cold as our hearts are growing,
And dark as the doom we meet.
But stand to your glasses, steady!
And soon shall our pulses rise:
A cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies!

There's many a hand that's shaking,
And many a cheek that's sunk;
But soon, though our hearts are breaking,
They'll burn with the wine we've drunk.
Then stand to your glasses, steady!
'Tis here the revival lies:
Quaff a cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies.

Time was when we laughed at others;
We thought we were wiser then;
Ha! Ha! Let them think of their mothers,
Who hope to see them again.
No! stand to your glasses, steady!
The thoughtless is here the wise:
One cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies!

Not a sigh for the lot that darkles,
Not a tear for the friends that sink-,
We'll fall, 'midst the wine-cup's sparkles,
As mute as the wine we drink.
Come, stand to your glasses, steadyl!
'Tis this that the respite buys:
A cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies!

There's a mist on the glass congealing,
'Tis the hurricane's sultry breath;
And thus does the warmth of feeling
Turn ice in the grasp of Death.
But stand to your glasses, steady!
For a moment the vapor flies:
Quaff a cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies!

Who dreads to the dust returning?
Who shrinks from the sable shore,
Where the high and haughty yearning
Of the soul can sting no more?
No, stand to your glasses, steady!
The world is a world of lies:
A cup to the dead already-
And hurrah for the next that dies!

Cut off from the land that bore us,
Betrayed by the land we find,
When the brightest have gone before us,
And the dullest are most behind-
Stand, stand to your glasses, steady!
'Tis all we have left to prize:
One cup to the dead already-
Hurrah for the next that dies!

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Notes:

The above poem is supposed to have been written in India while the plague was playing havoc among the British residents and troops there. It has been attributed to Alfred Domett as well as Bartholomew Dowling.

Music was first set to his poem by Alfred Domett, using a dirge by Beethoven.

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