|The Rhyme Maker
Clarke Moore wrote this long poem from the perspective of a "wine
drinker", praising wine and denouncing those who would seek to deny the
same. In his other wine poem at vintagewinepoems.com (see link
takes the opposite perspective.
Moore is most
famous as the
author of another rather long poem, that has nothing to do with either
Visit From St. Nicholas is better known by its first
line: "Twas the night Before Christmas . . "
- S. H. Bass
Clarke Moore at
The Water Drinker
Verses from the Vine
VINTAGE WINE POEMS NEW PRESSINGS
vinted and bottled by Stephen H. Bass
Clarke Moore (1779-1863), American poet
drink my glass of generous wine;
And what concern is it of
Thou self-erected censor pale,
Forever watching to
Each honest, open-hearted fellow
Who takes his liquor
ripe and mellow,
And feels delight, in moderate measure,
chosen friends to share his pleasure?
the aid of pledge or vow,
I hold me temperate quite as thou;
that which virtue's course I deem
Keeps clear fro ev'ry rash
If ev'ry good must be refus'd
That may by mortals be
E'en abstinence may be excess,
And prove a curse, when
meant to bless.
by the notions of the throng
I must be taught what's right and
In pity's name, my sober friend,
Say where would be my
Each gives me his peculiar view
Of what he holds
as false or true.
Whate'er I drink, whate'er I eat,
objector's censure meet.
Whate'er I wont, whate'er I will,
with fierce opposition still.
Coffee and tea affect the
Who swallows wine, the devil serves;
he that dares a stronger drink
Must soon to deep perdition
Another sneeringly maintains
That water animalculae
And, that to be from harm secure,
We ne'er should
drink it fresh and pure,
But boil it till from life 'tis
Then swallow it in punch or tea.
One thinks it rational
To take as guide your appetite.
Another at all food's
Save flinty crusts in water soak'd.
And would I from
My moral or religious law,
And, to suit all, a
All contradictions there must meet.
to the man whose feeble mind
No rooted principle can find;
by the fashion of the day,
From sober sense is led away;
to follow Nature's laws,
Lest he oppose the temperance
Quits common use and common sense,
Lest some weak
brother take offense;
Yet pines in secret that he's bound
pass the cup untasted round
Amid his friends who, conscience
Indulge in harmless social glee;
And oft will seek, nor
seek in vain,
Some subterfuge to break his chain;
disorders that require
What's prompted only by desire;
some doctor to prescribe;
And turn his vow to jest and gibe.
'tis, I fear, too true, alas!
That oft the' intoxicating glass,
secret swallow'd, and by stealth,
Degrades the mind and mars the
Nor is it hid from any eye,
That they who alcohol
Virginia's weed will chew or smoke,
treach'rous aid invoke,
And raise for abstinence a clatter
clouds of smoke, and spit and spatter.
urge the' example we should show
To those of an estate more
His life the best example gives
Who after Nature's
Which rightly view'd, are laws of God,
point to paths with safety trod.
well might you restrain the breeze
That sweeps the main and bends
Or bid the sun no mists excite,
That cloud the sky
and dim his light,
As strive to make mankind agree
their lives from turmoil free.
No lot so low, no mind so meek
will not for excitement seek.
Nature in bounds unnatural pent
find some new and dangerous vent.
Awhile, the blood you may
But, held too tight, 'twill burst the vein.
there be found no other sport,
To feuds and strife will men
And, mid war's spirit-stirring notes,
with cutting throats.
E'en they who blame the social cup
means to stir the spirits up;
And various stimulants they
Wherewith to intoxicate the mind.
Hence all the temperance
Of marshal'd files, with trumps and drums;
bright, processions long,
Bands of music, speeches,
Temperance meetings, temperance halls,
concerts, temperance balls;
All that keen politicians know
blind you with a specious show,
By which your temp'rance cause
Hope for a sturdy band of voters.
These follies soon
may pass away,
And prove but fashions of a day,
But there's one
pageant meets my eyes,
At which indignant feelings rise:
I see paraded round,
In badges deck'd, with ribbons bound,
banners floating o'er their head,
Like victims to the slaughter
Ye self-made legislators, how
Presume ye to exact a vow
ask a pledge, for aye to bind
Childhood's unthinking, embryo
How can ye dare to fill a child,
Whose spirits should be
free and wild,
And only love to run and romp,
With vanity and
pride and pomp?
How can ye answer for the woe
Which many a man,
by you, shall know,
Who dares the promise to renounce
him, when a child, pronounce,
Yet still within his bosom keeps
gnawing worm that never sleeps?
then, your glasses fill, my boys.
Few and inconstant are the
That come to cheer this world below;
But nowhere do they
Than where kind friends convivial meet,
harmless glee and converse sweet.
truth in wine, 'tis truly said.
Ye then who feel a secret
Your thoughts and feelings to declare,
The influence of
In strong relief and colors true
It brings both
good and ill to view.
Takes salts, and seidlitz, and blue
Purge out your bile, that source of ills;
And, till you
have a purer soul,
Touch not the truth-betraying bowl.
you who feel all right within;
No secret malice, lurking sin;
passion dangerous to awake;
Refuse not sometimes to partake
moderate glass, which doth impart
New warmth and feeling to the
more generous thoughts to rise,
And adds more strength to
Gives witty thoughts an edge more keen,
bids retiring worth be seen;
Gives to the soul of modest youth
bolder voice in cause of truth;
By Prudence measur'd, serves
The dreary cold of wintry age;
Impels the blood, with
To lighten up th' indignant blush
That throws its
flashes o'er the ice
Of selfish, calculating vice;
And, in the
mind that's pure and wise,
Bids glowing thoughts and visions
That, beaming with unsullied light,
Shun neither Reason's
nor Religion's sight.
such thy virtues, generous wine!
Thy pleasures will I ne'er
While health remains, nor e'er refuse,
In praise of
thee, t' invoke the Muse.