If you saw a lion
   Not within a cage,
Would you tease and fret him
   Till he roared in rage?
Would you tempt his anger
   And his savage power,
Knowing he could crush you,
   Kill you, and devour?

Yet I know some people
   Who, morn and noon and night,
Tease and fret with bitters
   The lion--appetite.
It matters not what ails them,
   For each disease and all
They seem to think there's healing
   In demon alcohol.

So they fret the lion,
   And anger him, until,
In his awful power,
   He springs up to kill.

Let me warn you, children,
   From this foolish way.
Do not tease the lion,
   Nor tempt him any day.

Don't believe the doctors
   If they say you need
Any wines or ciders;
   For there are, indeed,
Better cures, and safer,
   Than these drinks, that slay
More than a hundred people
   Without fail each day.

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

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