Saturday, April 05, 2008

"The Pipe of Tobacco" by John Usher


The Pipe of Tobacco by John Usher

Let the topor regale in his tankard of ale,
Or with alcohol moisten his thrapple—
Only give me, I pray, a good pipe of soft clay,
Nicely tapered and thin in the stapple—
And I shall puff, puff—let who will say enough!
No luxury else I'm in lack o',—
No malice I hoard 'gainst Queen, Prince, Duke, or Lord,
While I pull at my Pipe of Tobacco.

When I feel the hot strife of the battle of life,
And the prospect is aught but enticin'— .
Mayhap some real ill, like a protested bill,
Dims the sunshine that tinged the horizon,—
Only let me puff, puff—be they ever so rough,
All the sorrows of life I lose track o';
The mists disappear, and the vista is clear,
With a soothing mild Pipe of Tobacco.

And when joy after pain, like the sun after rain,
Stills the waters long turbid and troubled,
That life's current may flow with a ruddier glow,
And the sense of enjoyment be doubled,—
Oh! let me puff, puff—till I feel quantum suff.
Such luxury still I'm in lack o'!
Be joy ever so sweet, it would be incomplete
Without a good Pipe of Tobacco.

Should my recreant muse—sometimes apt to refuse
The guidance of bit and of bridle—
Still blankly demur, spite of whip and of spur,
Unimpassioned, inconstant, or idle,—
Only let me puff, puff—till the brain cries enough;—
Such excitement is all I'm in lack o';
And the poetic vein soon to fancy gives rein,
Inspired by a Pipe of Tobacco.

And when with one accord, round the jovial board,
In friendship our bosoms are glowing,
While with toast and with song we the evening prolong,
And with nectar the goblets are flowing—
Still let us puff, puff—be life smooth, be it rough,
Such enjoyment we're ever in lack o':
The more peace and good-will will abound as we fill
A jolly good Pipe of Tobacco!

(from The Home Book of Verse, American and English 1580-1918 by Burton Egbert Stevenson

Images: A reproduction of the pipe that features prominently in the plot of National Treasure. Details show a scene of Knights Templar.

1 comment:

M.M.M. From the North Eastern Corner said...

Chris,
Thank you for this perfect piece of verse to accompany my after dinner cigar on a calm night perusing masonic blogs on my blackberry!
MMM