Charles Dibdin (1745-1814), Sound Argument
We bipeds, made up of frail clay,
Alas! are the children of sorrow;
And though brisk and merry to-day,
We may all be wretched to-morrow
For sunshine's succeeded by rain;
Then, fearful of life's stormy weather,
Lest pleasure should only bring pain,
Let us all be unhappy together.
I grant the best blessing we know
Is a friendfor true friendship's a treasure;
And yet, lest your friend prove a foe,
Oh taste not the dangerous pleasure.
Thus friendship's a flimsy affair;
Thus riches and health are a bubble;
Thus there's nothing delightful but care,
Nor anything pleasing but trouble.
If a mortal could point out that life
Which on earth could be nearest to heaven,
Let him, thanking his stars, choose a wife
To whom truth and honour are given.
But honour and truth are so rare,
And horns, when they're cutting, so tingle,
That, with all my respect to the fair,
I'd advise him to sigh, and live single.
It appears, from these premises, plain
That wisdom is nothing but folly,
That pleasure's a term that means pain,
And that joy is your true melancholy;
That all those who laugh ought to cry,
That 'tis fine frisk and fun to be grieving,
And that, since we must all of us die,
We should taste no enjoyment while living.