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A FAREWELL TO TOBACCO
May the Babylonish curse
Sooty retainer to the vine, Bacchus' black servant, negro fine; Sorcerer, that mak'st us dote upon Thy begrimed complexion,
And, for thy pernicious sake,
Thou in such a cloud dost bind us, That our worst foes cannot find us, And ill fortune, that would thwart us, Shoots at rovers, shooting at us; While each man, through thy heightening
steam, Does like a smoking Etna seem, And all about us does express (Fancy and wit in richest dress) A Sicilian fruitfulness.
Thou through such a mist dost show us,
Bacchus we know, and we allow His tipsy rites. But what art thou, That but by reflex canst show What his deity can do,
As the false Egyptian spell
Brother of Bacchus, later born, The old world was sure forlorn Wanting thee, that aidest more The god's victories than before All his panthers, and the brawls Of his piping Bacchanals. These, as stale, we disallow, Or judge of thee meant: only thou His true Indian conquest art ; And, for ivy round his dart, The reformed god now weaves A finer thyrsus of thy leaves.
Scent to match thy rich perfume Chemic art did ne'er presume Through her quaint alembic strain, None so sov'reign to the brain. Nature, that did
Stinking'st of the stinking kind, Filth of the mouth and fog of the mind, Africa, that brags her foison, Breeds no such prodigious poison, Henbane, nightshade, both together, Hemlock, aconite
Nay, rather, Plant divine, of rarest virtue; Blisters on the tongue would hurt you. 'Twas but in a sort I blamed thee; None e'er prosper'd who defamed thee; Irony all, and feign'd abuse, Such as perplex'd lovers use, At a need, when, in despair To paint forth their fairest fair, Or in part but to express That exceeding comeliness Which their fancies doth so strike, They borrow language of dislike; And, instead of Dearest Miss, Jewel, Honey, Sweetheart, Bliss, And those forms of old admiring, Call her Cockatrice and Siren, Basilisk, and all that's evil, Witch, Hyena, Mermaid, Devil, Ethiop, Wench, and Blackamoor, Monkey, Ape, and twenty more; Friendly Trait'ress, loving Foe, Not that she is truly so, But no other way they know
Or, as men constrain'd to part
For I must (nor let it grieve thee, Friendliest of plants, that I must) leave thee, For thy sake, TOBACCO, I Would do anything but die, And but seek to extend my days Long enough to sing thy praise. But, as she, who once hath been A king's consort, is a queen Ever after, nor will bate Any tittle of her state, Though a widow, or divorced, So I, from thy converse forced, The old name and style retain, ini A right Katherine of Spain; And a seat, too, 'mongst the joys Of the blest Tobacco Boys;