Do not sleep sober or alone this night, The young should live it up till break of day; Rave, rave as boldly as the stars burn bright. Old men all envy what is youth’s birthright; When young they would have scorned what they now say. Do not sleep sober or alone this night. Good men who missed their chance and see the light Too late, now seek to stop you making hay. Rave, rave as boldly as the stars burn bright. Wild men who sowed their oats are now contrite, Seek to forbid what they can’t hack today. Do not sleep sober or alone this night. Grave men, near death, soon to give up the fight, Tormented, rue the ones that got away. Rave, rave as boldly as the stars burn bright. Now is the time to spread your wings. Take flight; Drink; gather fleshly rosebuds while ye may! Do not sleep sober or alone this night, Rave, rave as boldly as the stars burn bright.
(1914-1953) is the most famous poet to have come out of Wales. He had the reputation of a bohemian drunkard. Legend has it that his last words were "I've had eighteen straight whiskies; I think that's the record" (although it appears that in fact he died six days later, having both spoken and drunk quite a lot more).
Among his most famous poems is Do not go gentle into that good night, probably the greatest villanelle ever written - certainly the best known. The above savage indictment of present day yoof's binge-drinking culture is of course based on this. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog is a collection of autobiographical short stories, from which I remember him boasting to another boy that "Sometimes I bleed in dollops". (This has to be said in a Welsh accent.) He also wrote the much-loved "play for voices" Under Milk Wood, set in the village of Llaregyb (spell it backwards, bearing in mind that in Welsh "y" is pronounced like English "u"), with its cast of delightful characters, among whom my favourite is "Me, Nogood Boyo, up to no good in the washhouse".
is highly unlikely ever to be confused with either Edward Thomas or .
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This page last updated 16/02/2007