What tho’ my genius yields no attic brine,
To please the palates of the sacred Nine,
No savoury stanza cooks, or epic dishes
Such as might equal great Apollo’s wishes,
No bay leaf chaplet yet encompass me,
Better I’m pleas’d with leaves of good green tea.
Blest leaves! ye clear’d Confucius’s pate,
Whilst planning codes for might China’s state.
At ease reclining on a bamboo mat,
In solemn silent dignity he sat,
Whilst with assiduous zeal the servile throng,
Alternate proffer’d hyson & souchong;
Grave mandarines bestow’d devout applause,
And grateful China, own’d Con-fu-tsi’s Laws!
Thy influence tea inspir’d the sage’s soul,
Taught him to steer from vice’s hidden shoal,
And lead the willing heart to virtue’s goal.
Benignant balmy juice, thy pow’r shall last,
When salamandrine spirit’s reign is past!
E’en sots shall love thee, & no longer pine
For pleasing punch, or topsy-turvy wine; —
Brandy, rum, hollands crave to take our lives
And shrub shall wither, whilst the tea-plant thrives.