Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

A True Story: To Young Abstainers

Listen, dear ones, to my story,
True as sad, and sad as true;
'Tis a tale to make you sorry-
Show you what vile drink can do.
'Twas the Sabbath. From my casement
Glanced mine eye along the road;
Scene I saw of dark debasement-
Blush, Oh earth! forgive, Oh God!
Came a pair of drunkards hoary,
Wife and mother named they one:
Husband he-ah! shameful story-
Father to that sorrowing son;
Who, when long from home they tarried,
Sought and found them, helpless set
'Gainst the wall, by turns half carried;
Who that saw will e'er forget?
While he props the helpless mother,
Down the father prostrate falls;
Stoop'd to him, his name the other
Loud in babbling frenzy calls.
Folks from out the doors came peeping;
Curious children gathered round;
Shame and grief subdued him: weeping,
Down he sat upon the ground.
Oh those tears! I pray that never
May I see the like again;
Female lips began to quiver,
Children sad and still remain.
One steps forth from the beholders-
Good Samaritan is he-
'Friend,' he said, and touched his shoulder,
'Help and pity take from me.'
'Thanks!' he said, and raised his mother,
All insensate, on his arm;
Bore his unknown friend the other,
Shelter'd both from shame and harm.
Children, are your hearts not burning
With a grateful, fervent flame,
Ye who ne'er with tears of mourning
Watched and wept a parent's shame?
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