John Hartley

(1839-1917 / England)

Shiver The Goblet - Poem by John Hartley

Shiver the goblet and scatter the wine!
Tempt me no more with the sight!
I care not though brightly as ruby it shine,
Like a serpent I know it will bite.
Give me the clustering fruit of the vine,--
Heap up my dish if you will,--
But banish the poison that lurks in the wine,
That dulls reason and fetters the will.

Oft has it lured me to deeds I detest,--
Filled me with passions debased;
Robbed me of all that was dearest and best,
And left scars that can ne'er be effaced.
Oh! that the generous rich would but think,
As they scatter their wealth far and wide,
Of the evil that lives in the ocean of drink,
Of the thousands that sink in its tide.

They give of their substance to help the poor wretch,
The victim of custom and laws;
But never attempt the strong arm to outstretch,
To try to abolish the cause.
The preacher as well may his eloquence spare,
Nor his tales of 'glad tidings' need tell,
If by precepts he urge them for heaven to prepare,
Whilst his practice leads downward to hell.

Erect new asylums and hospitals raise,--
Build prisons for creatures of sin;--
Can these be a means to improve the world's ways?
Or one soul from destruction e'er win?
No!--License the cause and encourage the sale
Of the evil one's strongest ally,
And in vain then lament that the curse should prevail,--
And in vain o'er the fallen ones sigh.

Strike the black blot from the laws of the land!
And take the temptation away;
Then give to the struggling and weak one's a hand,
To pilot them on the safe way.
Can brewers, distillers, or traffickers pray
For the blessing of God, on the seed
Which they sow for the harvest of men gone astray?
Of ruin, the fruit of their greed?

No bonds can be forged the drink-demon to bind,
That will hinder its power for ill;
For a way to work mischief it surely will find,
Let us watch and contrive as we will.
Then drive out the monster! The plague-breathing pest;
And so long as our bodies have breath,
Let us fight the good fight, never stopping for rest,
Till at last we rejoice o'er its death.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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