THE PATRIOTIC SMOKER'S LAMENT.





Tell me, shade of Walter Raleigh,

Briton of the truest type,

When that too devoted valet

Quenched your first-recorded pipe,

Were you pondering the opinion,

As you watched the airy coil,

That the virtue of Virginia

Might be bred in British soil?



You transplanted the potato,

'Twas a more enduring gift

Than the wisdom of a Plato

To our poverty and thrift.

That respected root has flourished

Nobly for a nation's need,

But our brightest dreams are nourished

Ever on a foreign weed.



From the deepest meditation

Of the philosophic scribe,

From the poet's inspiration,

For the cynic's polished gibe,

We invoke narcotic nurses

In their jargon from afar,

I indite these modest verses

On a polyglot cigar.



Leaf that lulls a Turkish Aga

May a scholar's soul renew,

Fancy spring from Larranaga,

History from honey-dew.

When the teacher and the tyro

Spirit-manna fondly seek,

'Tis the cigarette from Cairo,

Or a compound from the Greek.



But no British-born aroma

Is fit incense to the Queen,

Nature gives her best diploma

To the alien nicotine.

We are doomed to her ill-favor,

For the plant that's native grown

Has a patriotic flavor

Too exclusively our own.



O my country, could your smoker

Boast your "shag," or even "twist,"

Every man were mediocre

Save the blest tobacconist!

He will point immortal morals,

Make all common praises mute,

Who shall win our grateful laurels

With a national cheroot.



_The St. James Gazette_.





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