Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

The Three Golden Balls

Deadlier balls than North or South
Throw from cannon's blazing mouth,
Everywhere appal my sight-
Three in number-golden, bright.
'All that glitters is not gold.'
'Ah! I could a tale unfold'
Of misery, waste, and want, and sin;
We pass the balls and enter in.
The counter-board seems to my eyes
An altar reared for sacrifice.
My heart would fail, my tongue would falter,
To tell how on this horrid altar
Are offered all that life requires
To feed the ever-burning fires
Of drink, which would, for want of fuel,
At times burn out, did not the cruel
And greedy priest, who serves the altar,
The offerings clutch, and lie, and palter,
And cheat the victim of the dole
With which he means to drown his soul
In hell's hot fountains gushing near-
'Spirits and ales,' dark words of fear;
And so the groaning shelves are laden
With spoils of man, wife, child, and maiden.
The priest, who worships only self,
Gloats o'er the offerings and the pelf.
With heart that mourns, and eye that weeps,
I see him store the frowsy heaps
With hand of iron, and heart of stone,
Brow of brass, and feeling none.
Vampire-like, the blood he drains
From the drunkard's burning veins.
The whisky-shop absorbs his cash,
The pawn-shop swallows down the trash
Of household gear and wretched clothing.
Ah! my soul is sick to loathing
Of the sights, and sounds, and crimes,
Of these murder-tainted times,
When a bath of blood has charms,
And power to set a world in arms;
And the bather may be bolder
If a forty-ticket holder.
Here's a man of good connection-
Hang him, give him for dissection.
What makes your wrath so high to mount?
That old man keeps a bank account.
Some journals have inspired a furor
In many minds 'gainst judge and juror.
Would huntsmen cease to lash and growl,
'The many-headed monster's howl
Would die,' and common sense again
Resume the sceptre and the rein.
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