IS IT BEST?

O mother who sips sweetened liquors!
   Look down at the child on your breast;
Think, think of the rough path before him,
   And ask yourself then, "Is it best?
Shall I foster a love for this poison,
   Instil the thirst into his veins?
In the fountain he seeks at my bosom
   Sow the rank seeds of death, grief, and pains?

"Shall I give him the thirst of the drunkard,
   Bequeath him the weapons of crime?
Can we look for a glass of pure water
   Dipped up from a fountain of slime?
Can we look for brave men, strong and noble,
   Where the parents drink poison for food?
When the body and soul are corrupted,
   Can we look for the works to be good?"

Oh! think of the future before him!
   There are perils you cannot remove.
Yet this, the great highway of sorrow--
   Oh! guard him from this with your love.
There are rough paths enough in the future
   For the feet of the child on your breast;
And lower the glass you are lifting,
   And ask yourself, then, "Is it best?"

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


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