THANKSGIVING

[Written after the passage of the Temperance Law in Wisconsin, 1872.]

Thank God for men! I hear the shout
From East and West go up and out.
Thank God for men whose hearts are true;
For men who boldly dare and do;
For men who are not bought and sold,
Who value honor more than gold;
For men large-hearted, noble-minded;
For men whose visions are not blinded
With selfish aims--men who will fight
With tongue or sword for what is right;
For men whom threats can never cower;
For men who dare to use their power
To shield the right and punish wrong,
E'en though his hosts are bold and strong
For men who work with hearts and hands
For what the public good demands.
Bless God! the thankful people say,
Such men have not all passed away.

Bless God enough are left at least
To put a muzzle on the beast
That walks our land from breadth to length
And robs the strong man of his strength;
Takes bread from babes, steal wise men's brains,
And leaves them bound in helpless chains;
Makes sin and sorrow, shame and woe,
Wherever his cloven feet may go.
This is the mission of the beast
Whose bloated keepers sit and feast
On seasoned dainties, that were bought
With blood, and tears, and God knows what--
Keepers who laugh when women cry,
Who smile when children starve and die,
If so they gain one farthing more
To add to their ill-gotten store.

From South and North, from West and East,
The people clamored, "Chain the beast!
Fetter the monster Alcohol
Before he robs us of our all."

Thank God the earnest cry was heard,
And hearts of noble men were stirred.
And though a weak-kneed host went down
Before the keeper's threatening frown,
Enough were left, a bold, brave few,
Strong-brained, broad-souled men who were true--
Men who were men, and did not fear
The villain's threat or coward's sneer;
Enough to muzzle with the law
The foulest beast the world ever saw.
Thank God! thank God! the people say,
True men have not all passed away.

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


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