Charles Stuart Calverley

Ode to Tobacco

THOU who, when fears attack,
Bid’st 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!

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