07 August 2014

Poetry Thursday - They Are Not Long, by Ernest Dowson

They Are Not Long - Ernest Dowson
Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam*.

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses,
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

*The shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopes.

So that's where the phrase "days of wine and roses" comes from! It was used for the title of a movie about descent into alcoholism - which is ironic as Ernest Dowson's later life was fuelled by alcohol - which in combination with tuberculosis killed him at age 32, in 1900. Here you will discover that Dowson's poetry was also the source for the title of Margaret Mitchell's famous novel and the film Gone with the Wind.

1 comment:

Dijanne Cevaal said...

It was also quoted in Eugene O'Neil's Long Day's Journey Into Night about another descent.