Let poets rhyme of what they will,
Youth, Beauty, Love, or Glory, still
My theme shall be Tobacco!
Hail, weed, eclipsing every flow'r,
Of thee I fain would make my bow'r,
When fortune frowns, or tempests low'r,
Mild comforter of woe!
They say in truth an angel's foot
First brought to life thy precious root,
The source of every plea
Descending from the skies he press'd
With hallowed touch Earth's yielding breast;
Forth sprang the plant, and then was bless'd,
As man's chief treasure!
Throughout the world who knows thee not?
Of palace and of lowly cot
The universal guest,--
The friend of Gentile, Turk, and Jew,
To all a stay, to none untrue,
The balm that can our ills subdue,
And soothe us into rest!
With thee the poor man can abide
Oppression, want, the scorn of pride,
The curse of penury.
Companion of his lonely state,
He is no longer desolate,
And still can brave an adverse fate
With honest worth and thee!
All honor to the patriot bold
Who brought, instead of promised gold,
Thy leaf to Britain's shore.
It cost him life; but thou shalt raise
A cloud of fragrance to his praise,
And bards shall hail in deathless lays
The valiant knight of yore.
Ay, Raleigh! thou wilt live till Time
Shall ring his last oblivious chime,
The fruitful theme of story;
And man in ages hence shall tell
How greatness, virtue, wisdom, fell,
When England sounded out thy knell,
And dimmed her ancient glory.
And thou, O plant! shalt keep his name
Unwithered in the scroll of fame,
And teach us to remember;
He gave with thee content and peace,
Bestow'd on life a longer lease,
And bidding every trouble cease,
Made summer of December.