Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Appendix I. Early and Uncollected Verses
The Drunkard to his Bottle
 
          I was thinking of the temperance lyrics the great poet of Scotland might have written had he put his name to a pledge of abstinence, a thing unhappily unknown in his day. The result of my cogitation was this poor imitation of his dialect.

HOOT!—daur ye shaw ye’re face again,
Ye auld black thief o’ purse an’ brain?
For foul disgrace, for dool an’ pain
    An’ shame I ban ye:
Wae ’s me, that e’er my lips have ta’en        5
    Your kiss uncanny!
 
Nae mair, auld knave, without a shillin’
To keep a starvin’ wight frae stealin’
Ye ’ll sen’ me hameward, blin’ and reelin’,
    Frae nightly swagger,        10
By wall an’ post my pathway feelin’,
    Wi’ mony a stagger.
 
Nae mair o’ fights that bruise an’ mangle,
Nae mair o’ nets my feet to tangle,
Nae mair o’ senseless brawl an’ wrangle,        15
    Wi’ frien’ an’ wife too,
Nae mair o’ deavin’ din an’ jangle
    My feckless life through.
 
Ye thievin’, cheatin’, auld Cheap Jack,
Peddlin’ your poison brose, I crack        20
Your banes against my ingle-back
    Wi’ meikle pleasure.
Deil mend ye i’ his workshop black,
    E’en at his leisure!
 
I ’ll brak ye’re neck, ye foul auld sinner,        25
I ’ll spill ye’re bluid, ye vile beginner
O’ a’ the ills an’ aches that winna
    Quat saul an’ body!
Gie me hale breeks an’ weel-spread dinner—
    Deil tak’ ye’re toddy!        30
 
Nae mair wi’ witches’ broo gane gyte,
Gie me ance mair the auld delight
O’ sittin’ wi’ my bairns in sight,
    The gude wife near,
The weel-spent day, the peacefu’ night,        35
    The mornin’ cheer!
 
Cock a’ ye’re heids, my bairns fu’ gleg,
My winsome Robin, Jean, an’ Meg,
For food and claes ye shall na beg
    A doited daddie.        40
Dance, auld wife, on your girl-day leg,
    Ye ’ve foun’ your laddie!

  1829.
 
 
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