Excerpt from “Hymnus Tabaci a Poem in Honour of Tabaco” by Raphael Thorius

The twice-born Liber seeing that his Foes
(Whom the parch’d desart Cliffs as yet inclose)
Had furious war begun, with hot alarms,
Doth call his Ivy-crowned troops to arms,
And the swift Lynxes to be yoak’d, commands;
The great Bassarides in order’d bands,
March with their valiant Leader to the Field;
And all his furious Priests obedience yield
To his behests, and follow: nor yet will
Silenus (though grown old) at home sit still.
The Drugdges and the Carriages go next,
And amongst them is led (an ample Text,
For Antiquaries to glosse on) the sage
Silenus saddle-Asse, grown lame with age;
The fearfull Indians here and there do fly;
And while they sought their flying enemy,
The weary Troops having too long in vain
Wandred about upon the sandy Plain,
Grow faint, and their provisions all are spent,
And Bacchus wants what he himself first lent
Unto us Men, the liquor of the Vine.
(Pity that he who gave, should e’re lack Wine!)
The old mans Vessel too being quite drawn dry,
Does in this Chariot overturned ly.
The Maenades and Satyrs, and the rout
Of untam’d youth (impatient of the drought)
Do wound the intrals of their Mother Earth,
Longing to see some gentle spring gush forth.
But all in vain, necessity makes them bold
To taste the salt drink; their own bladder hold
Unnatural draughts! but yet such is their woe,
That those unnatural draughts do fail them too.
So Tyrant-like, Thirst in their bodies reigns,
All moisture does forsake their dryed veins.
The sterner face of horrour now controls
The sinking Troops; Some breathe their toasted souls
Out of their reeking jaws; others are found
To own borrow supplies from their mutual wound;
Who finding too those Fountains to grow dry,
In a despair drink their last Cup and dy.

Note: Liber is another name for the god Bacchus (also known as Dionysus), traditionally considered the god of wine, winemaking, the grape harvest, fertility and madness. According to mythology, he was twice born as his mother, Semele, asked to see Zeus unmasked to prove that he was the father of her baby. Despite Zeus’s warning that this would kill her, she insisted and died when he revealed himself. Zeus then rescued the unborn Dionysus and sewed him into his thigh. Dionysus was later released/born from Zeus’s thigh.

Bacchus was associated with the lynx, a type of large hunting cat, although the exact species meant is unknown and it is sometimes referred to as a leopard or panther. The other creatures mentioned, such as bassarides, maenads and satyrs, are all followers of Bacchus. Silenus was Bacchus’ companion and tutor and is usually depicted as an old man riding an ass (or donkey).

From: Thorius, Raphael and Hausted, Peter, Hymnus tabaci a poem in honour of tabaco. Heroïcally composed by Raphael Thorius: made English by Peter Hausted Mr of Arts Camb. 2009, Text Creation Partnership: Ann Arbor, Michigan and Oxford, pp. 14-15.
(http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A94292.0001.001)

Date: 1610 (original in Latin); 1651 (published translation in English)

By: Raphael Thorius (15??-1625)

Translated by: Peter Hausted (c1605-1644)

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