« PoprzedniaDalej »
Methought I saw a Demon rise: he held a mighty bicker,
Whose burnished sides ran brimming o'er with floods of burning liquor :
Around him pressed a clamorous crowd, to taste this liquor greedy,
But chiefly came the poor and sad, the suffering and the needy ;
All those oppressed by grief or debt,---the dissolute, the lazy, -
Blear-eyed old men, and reckless youths, and palsied women, crazy ;
"Give, give !" they cried, "give, give us drink, to drown all thought of sorrow !
If we are happy for to-day, what care we for to-morrow ?”
The first drop warmed their shivering skins, and drove away their sadness;
The second lit their sunken eyes, and filled their souls with gladness;
The third drop made them shout and roar, and play each curious antic;
The fourth drop boiled their very blood, and the fifth drop drove them frantic.
“Drink !” said the Demon, “Drink your fill! drink of these waters mellow ;
They'll make your eye-balls sear and dull, and turn your white skins yellow ;
They'll fill your homes with care and grief, and clothe your backs with tatters;
They'll fill your hearts with evil thoughts; but never mind !-what matters ?
“Though virtue sink, and reason fail, and social ties dissever,
I'll be your friend in hour of need, and find
homes for ever ;
For I have built three mansions high, three strong and goodly houses,
To lodge, at last, each jolly soul who all his life carouses.
The first, it is a spacious house, to all but sots appalling,
Where, by the parish-bounty fed, vile, in the sunshine crawling,
The worn-out drunkard ends his days, and eats the dole of others, -
A plague and burden to himself, an eye-sore to his brothers.
The second is a lazar-house, rank, fetid, and unholy;
Where, smitten by diseases foul and hopeless melancholy,
The victims of potations deep pine on the couch of sadness,-
Some calling Death to end their pain, and some imploring Madness.
The third and last is black und high, the abode of guilt and anguish,
And full of dungeons deep and fast, where death-doomed felons languish.
So drain the cup, and drain again ! One of my goodly houses
Shall lodge, at last, each jolly soul who to the dregs carouses !''
But well he knew—that Demon old—how vain was all his preaching,
The ragged crew that round him flock'd were heedles of his teaching :
Even as they heard his fearful words, they cried, with shouts of laughter,-
“Out on the fool who mars To-day, with thoughts of an Here-after!
We care not for thy houses three ; we live but for the present ;
And merry will we make it yet, and quaff our bumpers pleasant.”
Loud laughed the fiend to hear them speak, and, lifting high his bicker,
“Body and Soul are mine !” said he; “I'll have them both—for liquor !"
This Demon in a dream I saw, his victims, and their madness!
But in the world how oft we find such sights of real sadness !
Love, health, and riches. self-esteem, yea, all the heart holds holy,
To hate, and penury, and shame, debased 'mong high and lowly!
Oh, has not Heaven for every ill an antidote supplied us?
And 'gainst the Demon of the Cup its help is not denied us !
Withstand the Demon manfully, with effort strong and steady,
And, to assist the earnest soul, good angels will be ready!
LXXVIII.-HATE OF THE BOWL.
Go, feel what I have felt,
Go, to my mother's side,
Go, bear what I have borne ; And her crushed spirit cheer,
Sink 'neath the blow a father dealt, Thine own deep anguish hide,
And the cold proud world's scorn , Wipe from her cheek the tear :
Thus struggle on from year to year
Thy sole relief the tear.
Mark her dimm'd eye, her furrow'd brow
The gray that streaks her dark hair now, Go, weep as I have wept,
Her toil-worn frame, her trembling limb, O’er a loved father's fall,
And trace the ruin back to him
See every cherished promise swept, Whose plighted faith in early youth
Youth's sweetness turned to gall ; Promised eternal love and truth :
Hope's faded flowers strewn all the way, But who, foresworn hath yielded up
That led me up to manhood's day. This promise to the deadly cup,
And led down from love and light, Go, kneel as I have knelt,
From all that made her pathway bright, Implore, beseech and pray,
And chain her there, 'mid want and strife, Strive the besotted heart to melt, That lowly thing the Drunkard's wife, The downward course to stay :
And stamp'd on childhood's brow so mild, Be cast, with bitter tears, aside,
That withering blight,a Drunkard's Child. Thy prayers burlesqued, thy tears defied.
Go, hear, and see, and feel, and know Go, stand where I have stood,
All that my soul hath felt and known : And see the strong man bow,
Then look upon the wine cup's glow, With gnashing teeth, lips bathed in blood,
See if its brightness can atone. And cold the livid brow ;
Think if its flavor you will try, Go, catch his wandering glance, and see if all proclaimed_"“ 'tis drink and die!” There mirror'd, his soul's misery.
Go, hear what I have heard,
Tell me I hate the bowl
The sobs of sad despair,
Hate is a feeble wora-
As memory's feeling fount hath stirr'd, I loathe, abhor—my very soul
And its revealing there,
With strong disgust is stirr'd
Have told him what he might have been Whene'er I see, or hear, or tell
Had he the drunkard's fate foreseen. Of that dark beverage of hell.
LXXIX.-THE GAMBLER'S WIFE.
ARK is the night! how dark ! no light ! no fire !
Cold on the hearth the last faint sparks expire !
Shivering she watches by the cradle side
For him who pledged her love-last year a bride!
“ Hark! 'tis his footstep! No—'tis past; 'tis gone;
Tick !-tick! How wearily the time crawls on,
Why should he leave me thus ? He once was kind,
And I believed 'twould last-how n ad ! how blind !
Rest thee, my babe-rest on ! 'Tis hunger's cry!
Sleep, for there is no food, the fount is dry.
Famine and cold their wearying work have done;
My heart must break! And thou !”' - The clock strikes one.
“Hush ! 'tis the dice-box. Yes, he's there, he's there!
For this, for this, he leaves me to despair !
Leaves love, leaves truth, his wife, his child—for what ?
The wanton's smile—the villain—and the sot !
Yet I'll not curse him ; no—'tis all in vain.
'Tis long to wait, but sure he'll come again;
And I could starve and bless him, but for you,
My child-his child- oh, fiend !”—The clock strikes two.
“Hark! how the sign-board creakes, the blast howls by!
Moan-moan! A dirge swells through the cloudy sky !
Ha! 'tis his knock- he comes—he comes once more--
'Tis but the lattice flaps. Thy hope is o’er.
Can he desert me thus? He knows I stay
Night after night in loneliness to pray
For his return—and yet he sees no tear.
No, no! it cannot be. He will be here.
Nestle more closely, dear one, to my heart;
Thou’rt cold—thou’rt freezing ; but we will not part.
Husband, I die! Father, it is not he!
Oh, Heaven, protect my child !”—The clock strikes three.
They're gone! they're gone! The glimmering spark hath fled,
The wife and child are number'd with the dead !
On the cold hearth, out-stretched in solemn rest,
The child lies frozen on its mother's breast !
The gambler came at last—but all was o'er-
Dead silence reigned around-he groaned-he spoke no more !
I love my country's vine-clad hills, I love her forests, dark and lone,
Her thousand bright and gushing rills, For there the wild-bird's merry tone, Her sunshine and her storms;
I hear from morn to night ; Her rough and rugged rocks that rear, And lovelier flowers are there I ween, Their hoary heads high in the air,
Than e'er in eastern lands were seen, In wild, fantastic forms.
In varied colors bright.
I love her rivers deep and wide, Her forests and her valleys fair,
Those mighty streams that seaward glide, Her flowers that scent the morning air,
To seek the ocean's breast;
All have their charms for me ;Her smiling fields, her flowery dales But more I love my country's name, Her shady dells, her pleasant vales, Those words that echo deathless fame, Abodes of peaceful rest.
The Land of Liberty !
There's freedom at thy gates, and rest
For earth's down-trodden and opprest,
A shelter for the hunted head,
For the starved laborer toil and bread,
Power, at thy bounds,
Stops and calls back his baffled hounds.
O, fair young mother! On thy brow
Shall sit a nobler grace than now,
Deep in the brightness of thy skies
The thronging years in glory rise,
And, as they fleet
Drop strength and riches at thy feet.
Thine eye, with every coming hour
Shall brighten, and thy form shall tower
And when thy sisters, elder born,
Would brand thy name with words I scorn,
Before thine eye,
Upon thy lips the taunt shall die.
TAND! the ground's your own, my braves !
Will ye give it up to slaves?
Will ye look for greener graves ?
Hope ye mercy still ?
What's the mercy despots feel?
Hear it in that battle peal !
Read it on' yon bristling steel !
Ask it ye who will !
Fear ye foes who kill for hire ?
Will ye to yonr homes retire?
Look behind you! they're afire,
And, before you see
Who have done it! From the vale
On they come! and will ye quail ?
Leaden rain and leaden hail
Let their welcome be !
In the God of battles trust !
Die we may—and die we must ;
But O, where can dust to dust
Be consigned so well ?
As where heaven its dews shall shed
On the martyred patriot’s bed,
And the rocks shall raise their head
Of his deeds to tell.