Ella Wheeler Wilcox (5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)
The Same Old Strain
Each day that I live I am persuaded anew,
A maxim I long have believed in, is true.
Each day I grow firmer in this, my belief,
Strong drink causes half the world's trouble and grief.
Do I take up a paper, I read of a fight,
Tom's fist in his eye deprived Jamie of sight;
Both fellows were drinking before it began,
And drink made a brute of a peaceable man.
Next, Jones kills his wife, such an awful affair!
She was throttled, and pounded, and drawn by the hair;
Cause-'Jones had been drinking-not in his sane mind.'
who tip up the bottle, I find.)
Then, a man is assaulted and dirked in the dark
By two 'jolly boys' who are out on a 'lark;'
They have ever been peaceable boys-but, you see,
They drank, and 'were hardly themselves' on this spree.
Just over the street lives the man who is known
To be honest and kind, when he lets drink alone;
But whenever he quaffs from the full, flowing bowl,
He is more like a beast than a man with a soul.
Next door lives the husband who frets at his wife;
With his temper and spleen, she's no peace of her life.
Well I know-do you? he muddles his head
Every night with hot toddy, ere going to bed.
'We temperance croakers harp on the same strain?'
Well-the cause is one story again and again;
Fights-tragedy-troubles-all stirred up by drink,
Good reason we have to keep
, I think.
We harp to these words; strong drink drives the knife
To the heart of a friend, and deprives him of life;
It turns sober boys into rowdies and knaves-
It steals from the household to fill up the graves.
Who loves it the most first falls by its art;
It first wins its victim-then strikes to the heart.
But one thing is certain-it never was known
To do a man harm if he let it alone.
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