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The grape that can with logic absolute
the multitude of roiling sects confute;
the sovereign alchemist that in a trice
does leaden metal into gold transmute.
Why, be this juice the gift of God, who dare
blaspheme by calling it an evil snare?
If a blessing, should we not quaff of it?
And if a curse — why then, who placed it there?
I must foreswear the balm of life, they say,
for fear of penalty on Judgment Day,
or else in hope of some diviner drink
when I am dust and thirst has gone away!
Oh threats of hell and hopes of paradise!
One thing at least is certain — this life flies!
One thing is certain and all the rest is lies:
the flower that once has blown forever dies.
How odd! — of all the souls in numbers vast
that into darkness have already passed
not one returns to tell about the path
which we, like them, must undertake at last.