A GLASS OF WINE

"What's in a glass of wine?"
   There, set the glass where I can look within.
Now listen to me, friend, while I begin
   And tell you what I see--
What I behold with my far-reaching eyes,
   And what I know to be
Below the laughing bubbles that arise
   Within this glass of wine.
There is a little spirit, night and day,
That cries one word, for ever and alway:
   That single word is "More!"
And whoso drinks a glass of wine, drinks him:
You fill the goblet full unto the brim,
   And strive to silence him.

Glass after glass you drain to quench his thirst,
Each glass contains a spirit like the first;
   And all their voices cry
Until they shriek and clamor, howl and rave,
   And shout "More!" noisily,
Till welcome death prepares the drunkard's grave,
   And stills the imps that rave.

   That see I in the wine:
And tears so many that I cannot guess;
And all these drops are labelled with "Distress."
   I know you cannot see.
And at the bottom are the dregs of shame:
   Oh! it is plain to me.
And there are woes too terrible to name:
   Now drink your glass of wine.

Drops of Water: Poems by Ella Wheeler
New York : The National Temperance Society and Publication House, 1872.


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