About Hà Công Trọng
This ancient silver bowl of mine, it tells of good old times,
Of joyous days and jolly nights, and merry Christmas times;
They were a free and jovial race, but honest, brave, and true,
Who dipped their ladle in the punch when this old bowl was new.
A Spanish galleon brought the bar,â€”Âso runs the ancient tale;
â€™T was hammered by an Antwerp smith, whose arm was like a flail;
And now and then between the strokes, for fear his strength should fail,
He wiped his brow and quaffed a cup of good old Flemish ale.
â€™T was purchased by an English squire to please his loving dame,
Who saw the cherubs, and conceived a longing for the same;
And oft as on the ancient stock another twig was found,
â€™T was filled with candle spiced and hot, and handed smoking round.
But, changing hands, it reached at length a Puritan divine,
Who used to follow Timothy, and take a little wine,
But hated punch and prelacy; and so it was, perhaps,
He went to Leyden, where he found conventicles and schnapps.
And then, of course, you know whatâ€™s next: it left the Dutchmanâ€™s shore
With those that in the Mayflower came,â€”Âa hundred souls and more,â€”Â
Along with all the furniture, to fill their new abodes,â€”Â
To judge by what is still on hand, at least a hundred loads.
â€™T was on a dreary winterâ€™s eve, the night was closing, dim,
When brave Miles Standish took the bowl, and filled it to the brim;
The little Captain stood and stirred the posset with his sword,
And all his sturdy men-at-arms were ranged about the board.
He poured the fiery Hollands in,â€”Âthe man that never feared,â€”Â
He took a long and solemn draught, and wiped his yellow beard;
And one by one the musketeersâ€”Âthe men that fought and prayedâ€”Â
All drank as â€™t were their motherâ€™s milk, and not a man afraid.
That night, affrighted from his nest, the screaming eagle flew,
He heard the Pequotâ€™s ringing whoop, the soldierâ€™s wild halloo;
And there the sachem learned the rule he taught to kith and kin,
Run from the white man when you find he smells of â€œHollands gin!â€
A hundred years, and fifty more, had spread their leaves and snows,
A thousand rubs had flattened down each little cherubâ€™s nose,
When once again the bowl was filled, but not in mirth or joy, =â€”Â
â€™T was mingled by a motherâ€™s hand to cheer her parting boy.
Drink, John, she said, 't will do you good,â€”Âpoor child, youâ€™ll never bear
This working in the dismal trench, out in the midnight air; And if -â€”Â
God bless me! -â€”Â you were hurt, 't would keep away the chill.
So John did drink,â€”Âand well he wrought that night at Bunkerâ€™s Hill!
I tell you, there was generous warmth in good old English cheer;
I tell you, â€™t was a pleasant thought to bring its symbol here.
â€™T is but the fool that loves excess; hast thou a drunken soul?
Thy bane is in thy shallow skull, not in my silver bowl!
I love the memory of the past,â€”Âits pressed yet fragrant flowers,â€”Â
The moss that clothes its broken walls, the ivy on its towers;
Nay, this poor bauble it bequeathed,â€”Âmy eyes grow moist and dim,
To think of all the vanished joys that danced around its brim.
Then fill a fair and honest cup, and bear it straight to me;
The goblet hallows all it holds, whateâ€™er the liquid be;
And may the cherubs on its face protect me from the sin
That dooms one to those dreadful words,â€”Ââ€œMy dear, where have you been?â€