IS IT WELL?

Saw you the youth, with the face like the morning,
   Refilling the glass, that foamed white as the sea?
Heard you the words that fell down like a warning,
   "Lift not the glass: it holds sorrow for thee"?
      He heeds not nor listens:
      The red liquor glistens,
And he sees not the fangs of the serpent beneath.
      And the fiends are elated,
      And the voice waileth "Fated,"
As he drains out the glass: the dumb agent of death.

High had he set his mark. Fame, wealth, and glory,
   All should be his ere the noon-tide of life.
A name that should live in the annals of story,
   His was a heart that could battle with strife.
      "Here's to youthful endeavor!"
      He cries. "Ah! for ever
Shall the ruddy glass cheer me on life's rugged way.
      There is strength for all trouble
      In each airy bubble.
Who dares prate of danger and sorrow, I pray?"

Where is the youth with the face like the morning?
   Where are the hopes that glowed bright as the noon!
He who had heard and obeyed not the warning,
   Oh! has he reaped the dire harvest so soon?
      He quaffed, all unheeding
      The small voice's pleading,
And he lieth to-night in a dark prison cell.
      This is his glory,
      The name carved in story.
This has the red glass done. Say, is it well?

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


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