Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Burnin' Drink

I tell a tale o' burnin' love,
A love they seldom tine
Wha ance ha'e nursed it in their hearts:
It's no a love divine;
It's no a tale o' human love,
Whaur ane may lo'e anither;
It's no a mither's for a bairn,
A sister's for her brither:
Nae love of science or of art,
Or nature's bonny face;
It's no a love o' warl's gear,
Nor a love o' power an' place;
It's no a love o' ocht that's gude,
Or ocht that's fine or fair;
It's no a love o' priest or kirk-
It's unco seldom there.
This burnin' love dries up the sap
Of mony a plant and flower
Of human growth; the levin fires
Ha'e nae sic deadly power.
It drains the life-bluid frae the heart
O' mony a wretched wife,
An' robs the waefu' parent's mind
O' ilka joy in life.
It strips the bairnie o' its duds
And robs it o' its bread,
And taks, though it shoud dee wi' cauld,
The blanket aff the bed;
'It sets the mouth against the heavens'
Wi' cursin' and blasphemin',
Sic mixture o' the fiend and brute
There's little hope o' tamin'.
Nae thocht for body or for saul,
Nae care for name or fame-
This burnin' love consumes them a',
And glories in its shame.
O! frae this base and burnin' love
Let man and woman shrink:
This deadly and degrading thing-
The burnin' love o' drink.
The burnin' love o' burnin' drink
Sune burnin' ruin brings,
An' burnin' plagues on every han'
Aroun' the lan' it flings.
O! ye wha thole this burnin' love,
I rede ye o' the fate
That bides ye: tear it frae your heart
Wi' bitter, burnin' hate.
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