The painting is from 1860, and is Frederic Church's Twilight in the Wilderness. Make of it what you will.
I've given up drink for lent, which is a real sacrifice because I love drink as some of my posts on this blog testify. I also am none too keen on seeing and feeling what the world is like, or at least not without some alcoholic veil around me. Still, a proper astringency is one of the purposes of the season.
However, as is now traditional on this blog, I don't see why I shouldn't post love notes to the water of life, and the following--Baratynsky's wineglass--is a favourite. It was written in 1835, and is below in the version translated by Alan Myers. The poem is followed by an American who has something useful to do with a set of wineglasses full of water, but outside of the sink. I never have, though such things have been helpful to neck a few pills with, I suppose. I suppose that that man's terminus is to me a destination that shall in my life remain forever at a distance.
Charged with liquid effervescence
how you hiss my sparkling wine!
Wreathed now in misted essence
ice-cold crystal, wineglass mine...
No company, no noisy drinker
orgiasts to greet you none;
a voluptuous freethinker,
here I sit and drink alone.
What my soul is ever rich in,
All is yours, O friend champagne!
Now my thoughts fear no restriction,
All my dreams are off the rein;
At your font of inspiration
Your disciple is immune
To the petty animation
Of the crowd's discordant tune.
My high mood, though injudicious,
cannot prompt the least offence;
nor, a prey to friendship specious,
blurt my inner joy intense;
nor embarrass jealous weak-wits,
ignorant and solemn fops,
by outpouring my proud secrets,
or my holiest of hopes!
So, with me hold conversation,
my capricious sparkling rill!
life's slow poison, what you will;
legends sweet that make the heart sing
graciously revive for me,
Or some long forgotten suff'ring
call back to my memory!
O my wineglass of seclusion!
You do not make more intense
living's vulgar disillusion
like some magnifying lens;
fertile noble spring eternal,
you have power to bring to birth
visions straight from realms infernal,
or send dreams from heav'n to earth.
Henceforth I drink in isolation!
No seer can find celestial light
amid the world's reverberation,
desert air improves the sight!
Not vainly seeking keen sensation,
passions of the social scene,
but in lone intoxication--
light breaks through where none has been!