(“O you mad, you superbly drunk!...”)

By Rabindranath Tagore 1861–1941 Rabindranath Tagore
                                                      IV

O you mad, you superbly drunk!
If you kick open your doors and play the fool in public;
If you empty your bag in a night, and snap your fingers at prudence;
If you walk in curious paths and play with useless things;
Reck not rhyme or reason;
If you break the rudder in two unfurling your sails before the storm:
Then I will follow you, comrade, and be drunken and go to the dogs.

I have wasted my days and nights in the company of steady wise neighbors.
Much knowing has turned my hair grey, and much watching has made my sight dim.
For years I have gathered and heaped all scraps and fragments of things;
Crush them and dance upon them, and scatter them all to the winds!
For I know ’tis the height of wisdom to be drunken and go to the dogs.

Let all crooked scruples vanish, let me hopelessly lose my way.
Let a gust of wild giddiness come and sweep me away from my anchors.
The world is peopled with worthies, and workers useful and clever;
There are men who are easily the first, and men who come decently next:
Let them be happy and prosperous, and let me be foolishly futile.
For I know ’tis the end of all works to be drunken and go to the dogs.

I swear to surrender this moment all claim to the ranks of the sensible.
I let go my pride of learning and judgment of right and of wrong.
I’ll shatter the vessel of memory, scattering the last drop of tears;
With the foam of the ruby red wine, I’ll bathe and brighten my laughter.
The badge of the proper and prim I’ll tear into shreds for the nonce.
I’ll take the holy vow of being worthless, and be drunken and go to the dogs.

Source: Poetry (June 1913).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the June 1913 issue of Poetry magazine

June 1913
 Rabindranath  Tagore

Biography

A native of Calcutta, India, who wrote in Bengali and often translated his own work into English, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 — the first Asian to receive the honor. He wrote poetry, fiction, drama, essays, and songs; promoted reforms in education, aesthetics and religion; and in his late sixties he even turned to the visual arts, producing 2,500 paintings and drawings before his death.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Health & Illness, Living, Disappointment & Failure

POET’S REGION Asia, South

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.