图书图片
PDF
ePub

THE REVELER'S DREAM.

CHARLES MACKAY.

AROUNthethe heard the guests were met, the lights above And in their cups replenished oft, the ruddy wine was

streaming Their cheeks were flushed, their eyes were bright, their hearts

with pleasure bounded, The song was sung, the toast was given, and loud the revel

sounded. I drained my bumper with the rest, and cried, “ Away with

sorrow! Let me be happy for to-day and care not for to-morrow!" But as I spoke my sight grew dim and slumber deep came

o'er me,

And, mid the whirl of mingling tongues, this vision passed

before ine: Methought I saw a demon rise; he held a mighty beaker Whose burnished sides ran daily o’er with floods of burning

liquor; Around him pressed a clam'rous crowd, to taste this liquor

greedy, But chiefly came the poor and sad, the suff ring and the needy; All those oppressed by grief and debt, the dissolute and lazy, Blear-eyed old men, and reckless youths, and palsied women

crazy. “Give, give!” they cry. “Give, give us drink to drown

all thoughts of sorrow, If we are happy for to-day, we care not for to-morrow!” The first drop warms their shivering skins, and drives away

their sadness; The second lights their sunken eyes, and fills their souls with

gladness;

The third drop makes them shout and roar, and play each ·

furious antic; The fourth drop boils their very blood, and the fifth drop

drives them frantic. Drink! says

the demon, “ drink your fill! Drink of these waters mellow. They'll make your bright eyes blear and dull, and turn your

white skins yellow; They'll fill your home with care and grief, and clothe your

back with tatters; They'll fill your heart with evil thoughts—but never mind

what matters? Though virtue sink, and reasoning fail, and social ties dis

sever, I'll be your friend in hour of need, and find you homes

forever; For I have built three mansions high, three strong and goodly

housesA workhonse for the jolly soul who all his life carouses; A hospital to lodge the sot, oppressed by pain and anguish; A prison full of dungeons deep, where hopeless felons lan

guish. So drain the cup and drain again, and drown all thought of

sorrow, Be happy if you can to-day, and never mind to-morrow!' But well he knows, this demon old, how vain is all his

preaching; The ragged crew that round him flock are heedless of his

teaching; E'en as they hear his fearful words they cry, with shouts of

laughter : “Out on the fool! Who mars to-day with thoughts of a

hereafter? We care not for thy houses three, we live but for the present, And merry will we make it yet, and quaff our bumpers

pleasant!'

Loud laughs the fiend to hear them speak, and lifts his

brimn.ing beaker: - Body and soul are mine!” quoth he;

quoth he; “I'll have them both for liquor!

THE FOUNTAIN OF CRIME.

JUDGE ALBERT H. HORTON.

I

KNOW that some men look

upon

the temperance cause as bigotry, narrow asceticism, or vulgar sentimentality, fit only for little minds, weak women and weaker men. On the contrary, it is second to no reform of this age, and for this reason: Every race has its peculiar temptation and every cline its specific sin. The tropics and tropical races are tempted to one form of sensuality; the colder or temperate regions and our blood find their peculiar temptation in the stimulus of drink and food.

Our law rests not on bayonets, as in Europe, but on the will, the intelligence and the hearts of a free people. To adopt the words of Lincoln: “This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Hence, the grand importance of imbedding in every social and political society not only the need of universal intelligence and of general education, but also the necessity of teaching, cultivating and adopting habits of sobriety.

At the battle of the Pyramids, Napoleon, to impress his men with the greatness of the contest in which they were engaged and to cheer his soldiers on, bade his troops remember that forty centuries of the past looked down from their heights upon their deeds in arms. I know not how many centuries which now lie hidden in the invisible depths of the future may look back to the happy results of this contest for temperance reform with praise and gratitude.

In a country like ours public opinion is supreme and the law keeps pace with that public opinion and represents the

cence.

sentiment of the people. The liquor traffic is now everywhere conceded to be the great vice of the age. It destroys health and ruins the family; it widows the wife and orphans the child; it makes imbeciles of the most intellectual; it dishonors and disgraces the virtuous; it builds the jails, the prisons, the poorhouses, and the scaffolds, and it furnishes to each its unhappy victims.

A prominent scientist has said: Alcohol is the blood of the gambler, the inspiration of the burglar, the stimulus of the highwayman, and the support of the midnight incendiary. It suggests the lie and countenances the liar; condones the thief and esteems the blasphemer. It violates obligation, reverences fraud, turns love to hate, scorns virtue and inno

It incites the father to butcher his helpless offspring and the child to sharpen the fratricidal axe. Alcohol burns up men, consumes women, destroys life, curses God, and despises Heaven. It suborns witnesses, nurses perfidy, defiles the jury-box, and stains the judicial ermine. It bribes voters, corrupts elections, pollutes our institutions, endangers our government, degrades the citizens, debases the legislator, dishonors the statesman, and disarms the patriot. It brings shame, not honor; terror, not safety; despair, not hope; misery, not happiness; and with the malevolence of a fiend calmly surveys its frightful desolation and, reveling in havoc, it poisons felicity, destroys peace and ruins morals. It wipes out national honor, curses the world and laughs at the ruin it has wrought. It does all that and more—it murders the soul ! It is the sum of all villainies, the father of all crimes, the mother of all abominations, the devil's best friend and God's

worst enemy.

If these awful consequences arise from the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage, tell me, what law is too severe to protect the State or the home from its blasting influence? If it fills our jails and our almshouses and our asylumns with its victims, as all concede, tell me what law is too severe to restrain and chain the monster that is so merciless to mankind? If it feeds our penitentiaries and our scaffolds,

as all concede, what law is too severe to control or prohibit its sale?

When I think of the heartaches, the woes, the curses, the blows, the tears, the sorrows, the strifes, the crimes, the debts, the pains, the blasted hopes, the intense degradation and supreme misery which comes from one single barrel of whiskey, I join with a distinguished lawyer of my State in wishing that all of it in existence could be placed in one vast pile and consumed by fire, and that not another drop could ever be manufactured upon God's green footstool.

THE DEADLY CUP.

THE

[Concert recitation for six boys.] HE deadly cup, while others drink, We'll

never, never taste it;
It lures us on to ruin's brink,

And thousands have confessed it.
Come, boys and girls, the pledge we'll sign,

Be temp’rance sons and daughters;
We'll banish brandy, rum, and wine,

And drink the crystal waters.
We'll never take God's name in vain,

And never will profane it;
The virtuous heart shall ne'er complain

Our oaths alarm and pain it.
No word profane our lips shall move,

No words obscene defile them;
And swearers we'll entreat in love,

And pray for, not revile them.
We'll never use the filthy weed

We taste at first with loathing,
Which pales the cheek all blooming red,

And scents the breath and clothing.

« 上一页继续 »