In a Wine Cellar

Victor James Daley 1858 – 1905

SEE how it flashes,
  This grape-blood fine!—
Our beards it splashes,
  O comrade mine!—
Life dust and ashes
  Were, wanting wine.
  Fires heart and eyes;
Champagne the shadow
  Of care defies;
An El Dorado
  In Rhine-wine lies;

Port has the mintage
  Of generous deeds;
Tokay scorns stintage
  And richly bleeds;
But this great vintage
  The Wine-March leads.

Yet it is wanting
  In poesy;
No legends haunting
  Its vassals be,
No tales enchanting
  Of chivalry.

Spain’s grape hath stories;
  Its blood the bold
  Drank deep of old—
A wine of glories,
  A wine of gold.

Who drinks not sparing,
  Beholdeth he
The great Cid bearing
  His banner free,
Columbus daring
  The unknown Sea,

And, haply biding,
  In this dream-Spain,
Don Quixote riding
  Across the plain,
His squire confiding
  Beside his rein.

The wine of France is
  Aglow to-day
With flash of lances,
  With feast and fray,
And dark-eyed glances
  Of ladies gay.

See where together,
  A flagon near,
Lie hat with feather,
  And long rapier—
Fine courting weather,
  O Cavalier!

Bright Rhenish, gleaming
  Moon-white! Perchance
Thy wave clear beaming
  Still guards Romance,
Not dead, but dreaming
  In spell-bound trance!

Not in Rhine-water,
  But Rhine-wine fair
Sir Rupert sought her
  (As bards declare)
The Rhine King’s daughter
  With golden hair.

Still ’neath its smiling
  Wave’s amber rings,
Men sweetly wiling
  From earthly things,
Her song beguiling
  The Loreley sings.

Your cup, wild siren,
  That Deutschland drains—
Her heart of iron
  Moved by your strains—
No blood shall fire in
  Australian veins;

Nor yours whose charm is
  Your topaz eyne,
Nor yours whose armies
  In gold caps shine,
Shall charm or harm us—
  Eh, comrade mine?

No vintage alien
  For thee or me!
Our fount Castalian
  Of poesy
Shall wine Australian,
  None other be.

Then place your hand in
  This hand of mine,
And while we stand in
  Her brave sunshine
Pledge deep our land in
  Our land’s own wine.

It has no glamour
  Of old romance,
Of war and amour
  In Spain or France;
Its poets stammer
  As yet, perchance;

But he may wholly
  Become a seer
Who quaffs it slowly;
  For he shall hear,
Though faintly, lowly,
  Yet sweet and clear,

The axes ringing
  On mountain sides,
The wool-boats swinging
  Down Darling tides,
The drovers singing
  Where Clancy rides,

The miners driving,
  The stockman’s strife;
All sounds conniving
  To tell the rife,
Rich, rude, strong-striving
  Australian life.

Once more your hand in
  This hand of mine!
And while we stand in
  The brave sunshine,
Pledge deep our land in
  Our land’s own wine!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011


Victor James Daley

Victor James William Patrick Daley was an Australian poet. more…

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    "In a Wine Cellar" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 30 Sep. 2020. <>.

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