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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

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?'

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010

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