|The Rhyme Maker
Wheeler Wilcox was a very popular poet of her day. The poet
laureate of the Temperance Movement, her first book of poetry (as Ella
Wheeler, before her marriage) was published by The National Temperance
Movement and Publication House out of New York. Four of these
poems are posted here.*
Very much a
traditionalist in many ways, Mrs. Wilcox (she would have
deplored the "Ms" designation) is said to have mellowed in her later
years - like a fine wine! Indeed, her prowess as a poet should not be
judged by her "temperance
poetry", which were written in her early 20's. Her most
poem today is "Solitude" (see link below).
poem", The Two Glasses,
is a much better piece of poesy than her earlier work with this
theme. It is a clever concept and has a comfortable rhythm
that is lacking in her earlier work. It is a good piece of
"political poetry" - regardless of your opinion as to the validity of
- S. H.
more Ella Wheeler Wilcox at
Girl's Autumn Reverie
Glass Of Wine*
Tumbler Of Claret*
Of The Liquor Dealer*
Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919), American poet
sat two glasses, filled to the brim,
a rich man’s table, rim to rim.
was ruddy and red as blood,
one was clear as the crystal flood.
the glass of wine to his paler brother,
us tell tales of the past to each other;
can tell of banquet, and revel, and mirth,
I was a king, for I ruled in might;
the proudest and grandest souls on earth
under my touch, as though struck with blight.
the heads of kings I have torn the crown;
the heights of fame I have hurled men down.
have blasted many an honored name;
have taken virtue and given shame;
have tempted the youth with a sip, a taste,
has made his future a barren waste.
greater than any king am I,
than any army beneath the sky.
have made the arm of the driver fail,
sent the train from the iron rail.
have made good ships go down at sea,
the shrieks of the lost were sweet to me.
strength, wealth, genius before me fall;
ho! pale brother,” said the wine,
you boast of deeds as great as mine?”
the water-glass: “I cannot boast
a king dethroned, or a murdered host,
I can tell of hearts that were sad
my crystal drops made bright and glad;
thirsts I have quenched, and brows I have laved;
hands I have cooled, and souls I have saved.
have leaped through the valley, dashed down the mountain,
in the sunshine, and dripped from the fountain.
have burst my cloud-fetters, and dropped from the sky,
everywhere gladdened the prospect and eye;
have eased the hot forehead of fever and pain;
have made the parched meadows grow fertile with grain.
can tell of the powerful wheel of the mill,
ground out the flower, and turned at my will.
can tell of manhood debased by you,
I have uplifted and crowned anew;
cheer, I help, I strengthen and aid;
gladden the heart of man and maid;
set the wine-chained captive free,
all are better for knowing me.”
are the tales they told each other,
glass of wine and its paler brother,
they sat together, filled to the brim,
a rich man’s table, rim to rim.
from Maurine And
Other Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1910)
FREE E-Books at Project Gutenberg
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
BOTTLED POETRY: Verses from the VineVINTAGE WINE POEMS NEW PRESSINGSvinted and bottled by Stephen H. Bass