Charles Stuart Calverley

(22 December 1831 – 17 February 1884 / Martley, Worchestershire)

Ode To Tobacco


Thou, who when fears attack
Bidst them avaunt, and Black
Care, at the horseman's back
Perching, unseatest;
Sweet when the morn is gray;
Sweet when they've cleared away
Lunch; and at close of day
Possibly sweetest!

I have a liking old
For thee, though manifold
Stories, I know, are told
Not to thy credit:
How one (or two at most)
Drops make a cat a ghost,—
Useless, except to roast—
Doctors have said it;

How they who use fusees
All grow by slow degrees
Brainless as chimpanzees,
Meagre as lizards,
Go mad, and beat their wives,
Plunge (after shocking lives)
Razors and carving-knives
Into their gizzards.

Confound such knavish tricks!
Yet know I five or six
Smokers who freely mix
Still with their neighbors,—
Jones, who, I'm glad to say,
Asked leave of Mrs. J.,
Daily absorbs a clay
After his labors.

Cats may have had their goose
Cooked by tobacco juice;
Still, why deny its use
Thoughtfully taken?
We're not as tabbies are;
Smith, take a fresh cigar!
Jones, the tobacco jar!
Here's to thee, Bacon!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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