Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

The Demon Drink!

'I do well to be angry, even unto death.'-
Jonah iv. 9.

'I do well to be angry, even unto death,'
To denounce, to decry with unfaltering breath,
To lift up my voice, cry aloud, and not spare,
A fiend-yea, a legion are with us, beware!
Beware the foul demon, avoid his vile haunts,
For soul-crushing horrors, woes, miseries, and wants
Still follow his steps and attend in his train,
And his path is bestrewn with the bones of his slain!
His wings are outspread, like a dark thunder cloud
O'er thee, my lov'd Scotland; the pall and the shroud,
And the grave of thy glory thine own hands prepare,
While harbouring and serving the demon, beware!
Where are thy Sabbaths? Say how are they spent?
Dost use them as channels whence passion finds vent,
In drinking, blaspheming, in orgies obscene,
In the fields, in the woods, in the filthy shebeen.
Where are thy children? At play on the street;
Romping and shouting the varlets I meet;
Ah, my soul it is sad, and my heart it is pained,
For children neglected and Sabbaths profaned!
Where are thy mothers? where are thy wives?
Do they make it the aim and the end of their lives
To be sober and virtuous, not gadding abroad,
But training their children for life and for God!
I do well to be angry; 'tis horror to think
Of mothers possessed by the demon of drink,
Who lay on his altar their all upon earth,
The treasures of childhood, the home, and the hearth.
'Tis sad, on the eve of the Sabbath to hear
The shout of the drunkard-his maudlin cheer,
As out from the shebeen he staggers along,
With oaths and obscenity larding his song!
But sadder to see, and sadder to hear,
A mother-that name should be sacred and dear-
A drunkard, a libel on true womankind;
How chuckles the demon such votaries to find!
'I do well to be angry, even unto death;'
A mother, a drunkard, her poisonous breath
Sweeps over her hearth like the deadly simoom,
Leaving want, woe, and shame, desolation and gloom.
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