A GIFTED MAN, WHO DIED A VICTIM TO STRONG DRINK
Ho! ho! Father Death! I have won you another!
Another grand soul I have ruined and taken;
I, who am licensed by good Christian people,
Eat and eat at their souls till by angels forsaken:
I spoil them, I soil them, and past all reclaiming
They fall, sick with sins that are too black for naming.
Ho! ho! Father Death! count me as your best man:
I bring you more souls than famine or battle.
Let pestilence rage! it will last but a season,
And the soft voice of peace stills the cannon's loud rattle;
But I, pausing never, with ceaseless endeavor,
Night and day, day and night, I am toiling for ever.
Ho! ho! Father Death! I have brought you my thousands:
Good people help me, license, uphold me,
Gaze on some victim I stole from their household--
Gaze, and upbraid the foul demon that sold me.
Ah! but they helped him--argued and voted
Till license was granted, and I was promoted.
Ho! ho! Father Death! is he not a grand victim?
I bring you souls that are well worth the winning--
Noble and brave, with the rare gifts of heaven;
But I eat them away and pollute them with sinning.
Now, but for me there would be few above him,
Honored and prized by the dear ones who love him.
Drops of Water: Poems by Ella Wheeler
New York : The National Temperance Society and Publication House, 1872.
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