VIRGINIA'S KINGLY PLANT.





_BY AN "OLD SALT."_





Oh, muse! grant me the power

(I have the will) to sing

How oft in lonely hour,

When storms would round me lower,

Tobacco's proved a king!



Philanthropists, no doubt

With good intentions ripe,

Their dogmas may put out,

And arrogantly shout

The evils of the pipe.



Kind moralists, with tracts,

Opinions fine may show;

Produce a thousand facts,--

How ill tobacco acts

Man's system to o'erthrow.



Learn'd doctors have employed

Much patience, time, and skill,

To prove tobacco cloyed

With acrid alkaloid,

With power the nerves to kill.



E'en popes have curst the plant;

Kings bade its use to cease;

But all the pontiff's rant

And royal James's cant

Ne'er made its use decrease.



Teetotalers may stamp

And roar at pipes and beer;

But place them in a swamp,

When nights are dark and damp,--

Their tunes would change, I fear.



No advocate am I

Of excess in one or t'other,

And ne'er essayed to try

In wine to drown a sigh,

Or a single care to smother.



Yet, in moderation pure,

A glass is well enough;

But a troubled heart to cure,

Kind feelings to insure,

Give me a cheerful puff.



How oft a learn'd divine

His sermons will prepare,

Not by imbibing wine,

But 'neath th' influence fine

Of a pipe of "baccy" rare!



How many a pleasing scene,

How many a happy joke,

How many a satire keen,

Or problem sharp, has been

Evolved or born of smoke!



How oft amidst the jar,

Of storms on ruin bent,

On shipboard, near or far,

To the drenched and shiv'ring tar,

Tobacco's solace lent!



Oh, tell me not 'tis bad,

Or that it shortens life!

Its charms can soothe the sad,

And make the wretched glad,

In trouble and in strife.



'Tis used in every clime,

By all men, high and low;

It is praised in prose and rhyme,

And can but end with time;

So let the kind herb grow!



'Tis a friend to the distress'd;

'Tis a comforter in need;

It is social, soothing, blest;

It has fragrance, force, and zest;

Then hail the kingly weed!



ANON.





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