Address to Strong Drink

Thou chosen agent of Owd Nick’s !

Thou source of base unmanly tricks !

I’ve just ta’en up my pen

To tell thee plainly, to thy faace,

That thou’s browt ruin and disgraace,

Upon the sons of men.

 

The widow’s curse upon thee lies,

The drunkard’s orphan loudly cries

For vengeance on thy head :

An’, if thy slain ones voices found,

Ten thousand curses wad resound

Up fra the slumbering dead.

 

Wi’ sneakin’, sly enslavin’ art,

Deceitfully thou play’st thy part ;

Men think that thou’t their friend.

Thou dragg’st ’em down by slow degrees,

Until they find that love for thee’s

Black ruin i’ the end.

 

Come here an’ see this poor owd chap,

An’ hear the hammer’s weary rap

That wins his daily bread :

A good estate he once could claim,

But wealth, that smilin’, fickle dame,

Tuk wing an’ off she fled.

 

Now in owd age, wi’ warkin’ baans,

Day efter day he’s brekkin’ staans

To earn a pittance smau ;

An’ oft i’ doleful tones he’ll say

“ I’d independent been to-day,

But drink hes gone wi’ au. ”

 

An’ see yon archway cowd an’ damp !

Full mony a thief an’ mony a tramp

Seek neatly ludgin’ thaar –

How mony of yon motley pack

Hes thou seduced fra virtue’s track

To ruin an’ despair ?

 

An’ see that woman ragg’d an’ thin !

Whose baans, near piercin’ through her skin,

Tell of a wretched life –

Those features worn wi’ want an’ pain,

That meean attire, – they tell us plain

She is a drunkard’s wife.

 

An’ see that barn ! whose shoeless feet

Slap on the paavement of the street,

When wintry rains beeat wild –

That meean attire, that visage pale,

Tell to the world his piteous tale –

He is a drunkard’s child.

 

Then come and let our footsteps wend

Up whar yon narrow stairs ascend

Into a wretched shed.

Thaar on a bed of rags an’ straw,

Wi’ sunken eyes an’ pulses slow,

A deein’ man is laid.

 

What browt him down fra health an’ strength,

’Till on that floor, stretch’d out at length,

His shatter’d frame we see ?

Come here an’ answer for thysel !

Don’t his wild looks distinctly tell

He’s been misled by thee ?

 

An’ see yon wretch that waits his doom

Within the dungeon’s awful gloom ;

By t’ law condemn’d to dee –

He tuk a fellow-cratur’s life ;

But, when he used the murd’rous knife,

His brain was fired by thee.

 

Of pauperism, crime, an’ shaam,

An’ blacker deeds than tongue can naam,

Thou art the common cause.

Yet t’ doctor does thee recommend,

An’ t’ parson is thy bosom friend,

An’ thou art back’d by t’ laws.

 

An’ oft at balls an’ parties grand,

Whar au the noblest i’ the land

I’ splendid costumes thrang ;

I’ loyal tooasts thou’rt handed round,

An’ oft thy praises do resound,

I’ mony a jovial sang.

 

Naa doubt, wi’ sich like friends as theeas,

Thou’s lang sen sat thee down at eease,

Nor fear’st another foe :

But now thou’d best bestir thy shanks,

An’ haste to muster up thy ranks, –

Thou’ll happen git a blow.

 

The foe that’s ta’en the field at length,

An’ meeans wi’ thee to try his strength,

Is General Teetotal.

He sweears he’ll mash baath gates an’ doors,

An’ ransack au thy hoords an’ stoors,

An’ empty ivv’ry bottle.

 

Saa wi’ thy allies now unite,

Bring prejudice an’ appetite,

To leead thy musterin’ legions.

Sound argument an’ common sense,

Will drive sich worthless champions hence,

Down to t’ infernal regions.

 

Owd habit then, that stupid knave,

An’ recklessness, owd habit’s slave,

Fetch up to thy assistance.

Though t’ contest may be fierce an’ tough,

Stern truth at length ‘ll drive ’em off,

In spite of au resistance.

 

Lang hes ta ruled wi’ tyrant sway,

An’ been a stummlin’ block i’ t’ way,   

A curse, a strang temptation :

But now we rise, thee to expel,

An’, if ta willin’t gang thyself

We’ll kick thee out o’ t’ nation.

 

A happy change we then sall see,

For, when we’ve gitten shut o’ thee,

Men will’nt be sich fools.

Each spot whar thee did distil

We’ll convert into a mill,

An’ gaols we’ll hev for schools.

 

Then brewers au wi’ rage will shout,

An’ t’ publicans, I mak na doubt,

Look surly, black, an’ grim ;

But drunkard’s wives ‘ll au rejoice,

An’ drunkard’s barns, wi’ cheerful voice,

Will sing thy funeral hymn.