Leave the Devil a Drop


TO drink, or not to drink; that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler that the body suffer
The parching burning, of outrageous thirst,
Or take a mug and put it to your mouth,
And, so by drinking end it? To drink — to thirst —
No more; and by a drink to say we end
The throat_ache, and the various tortures
Burning thirst is heir to, ’tis a consumation
Devoutly to be wished. To drink, to quaff,
To drink; perchance get drunk; aye, there’s the rub!
For in that draught, what spirit there may be,
When we have first drank off the foaming top,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect,
which makes us bear our thrift for so long time;
For who would bear the jeers and scoffs of men,
The tavern keeper’s bill, the bystander’s contumely,
The pangs of aching bones, and time’s delay,
The insolence of people, and the spurns
That those who are very drunk must always take,
When he himself might all those ills forego,
By drinking water?


NO plate had John and Joan to hoard,
Plain folk in humble plight,
One only tankard crown’d their board,
And that was filled each night;

Along whole inner bottom — stretch’d
In pride of chubby grace —
Some rude engraver’s hand had etch’d
A baby Angel’s face.

John swallow’d first a moderate sup;
But Joan was not like John;
For when her lips once touch’d the cup,
She swill’d till all was gone.

John often urg’d her to drink fair;
But she ne’er chang’d a jot;
She lov’d to see the Angel there,
And therefore — drain’d the pot.

When John found all remonstrance vain,
Another card he play’d;
And where the Angel stood so plain
He got a Dev’l pourtray’d.

John saw the horns, Joan saw the tail,
Yet Joan was stoutly quaff’d;
And ever, when she siez’d her ale,
She clear’d it at a draught —

John star’d with wonder petrefy’d,
His hair stood on his pate;
And “why dost guzzle now,” he cry’d,
“At this enormous rate?” —

“John,” she said, “am I to blame?
I can’t in conscience stop;
For then ‘twould be a burning shame,
To leave the Dev’l — a drop.”

The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Sep 25, 1805

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: