To Live Merrily



Betty Roe

Words by:

Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Date of composition:



Robish Music


Two Soprano voices, flute, viola and piano



Vocal Range(s):





This jolly song includes a drunken interlude before a sober ending.

This work could be programmed with Betty Roe’s Herrick setting; Carolls to the King or Elizabeth Lutyens’ Three Songs to words by Dylan Thomas.

Synthesized version generated by Sibelius:

A CD containing this song is planned for release in 2014.

 To Live Merrily - extract from the vocal score

To Live Merrily, and to Trust to Good Verses

By Robert Herrick

Now is the time for mirth,
         Nor cheek or tongue be dumb;
For with the flow'ry earth
         The golden pomp is come.


The golden pomp is come;
         For now each tree does wear,
Made of her pap and gum,
         Rich beads of amber here.


Now reigns the rose, and now
         Th' Arabian dew besmears
My uncontrolled brow
         And my retorted hairs.


Homer, this health to thee,
         In sack of such a kind
That it would make thee see
         Though thou wert ne'er so blind.


Next, Virgil I'll call forth
         To pledge this second health
In wine, whose each cup's worth
         An Indian commonwealth.


A goblet next I'll drink
         To Ovid, and suppose,
Made he the pledge, he'd think
         The world had all one nose.


Then this immensive cup
         Of aromatic wine,
Catullus, I quaff up
         To that terse muse of thine.


Wild I am now with heat;
         O Bacchus! cool thy rays!
Or frantic, I shall eat
         Thy thyrse, and bite the bays.


Round, round the roof does run;
         And being ravish'd thus,
Come, I will drink a tun
         To my Propertius.


Now, to Tibullus, next,
         This flood I drink to thee;
But stay, I see a text
         That this presents to me.


Behold, Tibullus lies
         Here burnt, whose small return
Of ashes scarce suffice
         To fill a little urn.


Trust to good verses then;
         They only will aspire,
When pyramids, as men,
         Are lost i' th' funeral fire.


And when all bodies meet,
         In Lethe to be drown'd,
Then only numbers sweet
         With endless life are crown'd.