Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Temperance Warfare

'Sound To The Onset, The Onset, The Onset!'
Arouse ye! arouse ye! the foe is at large,
Again and again we must come to the charge.
Oh! hotly pursue, and fearless attack-
The blood of his victims is red on his track.
Our wives are dishonoured, our children are slain
By thousands-we labour, but often in vain,
For the plundering foe still devours the proceeds,
Till nothing is left us but sorrows and needs.
We must take his strongholds, put his garrisons down,
And pull down his ensigns in village and town;
But this is the victory, most glorious of all,
Exile him for ever from homestead and hall.
Ye matrons and maidens of Britain, to you
I would speak, as a sister, most faithful and true
To all your best interests. I beg you to hear,
By all you hold sacred, by all you hold dear.
'Tis found-Oh, alas! it should ever be so!-
That many amongst us are leagued with the foe,
Give harbour, and homage, and serve him as slaves,
Till bleeding and stumbling they crawl to their graves.
And oft with the dear names of mother and wife,
Entrusted by Heaven with the mind and the life
Of your children, a household, to care for and serve,
You pamper the foe while they shiver and starve.
Dear sisters, I would, but I cannot, conceal
The guilt and the folly you often reveal-
Intemperance, and many a fatal neglect,
That ever the progress of mankind must check.
For who but a mother her dear little girl
Will lovingly teach her the ruin and peril
Of wanton exposure, the dark deeds of shame,
That blot the fair scutcheon of Scotia's fame?
The many small fripperies-worthless for use-
Your girls delight in, are but an abuse
Of time, and a sorry perversion of taste,
While the needful and useful are running to waste.
Precious the ruby, and pure is the pearl-
More precious and pure is an innocent girl;
And earth holds no gem of such value and beauty
As a Christian mother devoted to duty.
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