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C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.

Drink, Drunkenness

Habitual intoxication is the epitome of every crime.

Douglas Jerrold.

Drunkenness is nothing else than a voluntary madness.


Drink, pretty creature, drink!


Some folks are drunk, yet do not know it.


Troops of furies march in the drunkard’s triumph.


The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.

Prov. 23: 21.

Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink.


A drunkard is unprofitable for any kind of good service.


Every inordinate cup is unbless’d, and the ingredient is a devil.


Thirst teaches all animals to drink, but drunkenness belongs only to man.


The axe of intemperance has lopped off his green boughs and left him a withered trunk.


There is scarcely a crime before me that is not directly or indirectly caused by strong drink.

Judge Coleridge.

  • ’Tis pity wine should be so deleterious,
  • For tea and coffee leave us much more serious.
  • Byron.

  • Inspiring bold John Barleycorn,
  • What dangers thou canst make us scorn.
  • Burns.

    The sight of a drunkard is a better sermon against that vice than the best that was ever preached upon that subject.


    A vine bears three grapes—the first of pleasure, the second of drunkenness, and the third of repentance.


  • The drunkard forfeits man and doth divest
  • All worldly right, save what he hath by beast.
  • Herbert.

    The bliss of the drunkard is a visible picture of the expectation of the dying atheist, who hopes no more than to lie down in the grave with the “beasts that perish.”

    Jane Porter.

    If a man is right, all the bombardment of the world for five, ten, twenty, forty years will only strengthen him in his position. So that all you have to do is to keep yourself right. Never mind the world. Let it say what it will. It can do you no damage. But as soon as it is whispered “he drinks,” and it can be proved, he begins to go down. What clerk can get a position with such a reputation? What store wants him? What Church of God wants him for a member? What dying man wants him for an executor? “He drinks!”


  • Now to rivulets from the mountains
  • Point the rods of fortune-tellers;
  • Youth perpetual dwells in fountains,
  • Not in flasks, and casks, and cellars.
  • Longfellow.

    There shall be, in England, seven half-penny loaves sold for a penny; the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer.


    Woe to him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him and makest him drunken.

    Hab. 2: 15.

    When he is best, he is little worse than a man; and when he is worst he is little better than a beast.


    The first draught a man drinks ought to be for thirst, the second for nourishment, the third for pleasure, the fourth for madness.

    Author Unknown.

    Man has evil as well as good qualities peculiar to himself. Drunkenness places him as much below the level of the brutes as reason elevates him above them.

    Sir G. Sinclair.

    People say, “Do not regard what he says now he is in liquor.” Perhaps it is the only time he ought to be regarded: Aperit prae cordia liber.


    Those men who destroy a healthful constitution of body by intemperance and an irregular life do as manifestly kill themselves as those who hang or poison or drown themselves.


    Almighty God! If it be thy will that man should suffer, whatever seemeth good in thy sight impose upon me. Let the bread of affliction be given to me to eat. Take from me the friends of my confidence. Let the cold hut of poverty be my dwelling-place and the wasting hand of disease inflict its painful torments. Let me sow in the whirlwind and reap in the storm. Let those have me in derision who are younger than I. Let the passing away of my welfare be like the fleeting of a cloud and the shouts of my enemies like the rushing of waters. When I anticipate good, let evil annoy me. When I look for light, let darkness come upon me. Do all this, but save me, merciful God! Save me from the fate of a drunkard.


  • I drank: I liked it not: ’twas rage, ’twas noise,
  • An airy scene of transitory joys.
  • In vain I trusted that the flowing bowl
  • Would banish sorrow and enlarge the soul.
  • Prior.

    Some of the domestic evils of drunkenness are houses without windows, gardens without fences, fields without tillage, barns without roofs, children without clothing, principles, morals or manners.


    Drunkenness is a flattering devil, a sweet poison, a pleasant sin, which whosoever hath hath not himself; which whosoever doth commit doth not commit sin, but he himself is wholly sin.

    St. Augustine.

    Call things by their right names.***Glass of brandy and water! That is the current, but not the appropriate, name; ask for a glass of liquid fire and distilled damnation.

    Robert Hall.

    O that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!


    As long as you make drinking respectable, drinking customs will prevail, and the plowshare of death, drawn by terrible disasters, will go on turning up this whole continent, from end to end, with the long, deep, awful furrow of drunkards’ graves.


    I will ask him for my place again: he shall tell me I am a drunkard. Had I as many mouths as Hydra, such an answer would stop them all. To be now a sensible man; by and by a fool, and presently a beast. O strange! Every inordinate cup is unblessed, and the ingredient is a devil.


    A monster such as never ranged African thicket or Hindustan jungle hath traced this land, and with bloody maw hath strewn the continent with the mangled carcasses of whole generations; and there are tens of thousands of fathers and mothers who could hold up the garment of their slain boy, truthfully exclaiming, “It is my son’s coat; that evil beast, Intemperance, hath devoured him.”


    Oli.—What’s a drunken man like, fool?
    Clo.—Like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman; one draught above heat makes him a fool, the second made him, and a third drowns him.


  • The thirsty Earth soaks up the Rain,
  • And drinks, and gapes for Drink again;
  • The Plants suck in the Earth and are
  • With constant Drinking fresh and fair.
  • Cowley.

  • Thou sparkling bowl! thou sparkling bowl!
  • Through lips of bards thy brim may press,
  • And eyes of beauty o’er thee roll,
  • And song and dance they power confess—
  • I will not touch thee; for there clings
  • A scorpion to thy side that stings.
  • John Pierpont.

    Oh! if you could only hear Intemperance with drunkards’ bones drumming on the top of the wine cask the Dead March of immortal souls, you would go home and kneel down and pray God that rather than your children should ever become the victims of this evil habit, you might carry them out to Greenwood and put them down in the last slumber, waiting for the flowers of spring to come over the grave—sweet prophecies of the resurrection. God hath a balm for such a wound, but what flower of comfort ever grew on the blasted heath of a drunkard’s sepulcher?


    All excess is ill, but drunkenness is of the worst sort. It spoils health, dismounts the mind, and unmans men. It reveals secrets, is quarrelsome, lascivious, impudent, dangerous and bad.

    William Penn.

    Drunkenness is the vice of a good constitution or of a bad memory—of a constitution so treacherously good that it never bends till it breaks; or of a memory that recollects the pleasures of getting intoxicated, but forgets the pains of getting sober.


    If a man’s innate self-respect will not save him from habitual, disgusting intoxication, all the female influences in the universe would not avail. Man’s will, like woman’s, is stronger than the affections, and once subjugated by vice, all eternal influences will be futile.

    Miss Evans.

    The rum fiend would like to go and hang up a skeleton in your beautiful house so that, when you opened the front door to go in, you would see it in the hall; and, when you sat at your table you would see it hanging from the wall; and, when you opened your bedroom you would find it stretched upon your pillow; and, waking at night, you would feel its cold hand passing over your face and pinching at your heart. There is no home so beautiful but it may be devastated by the awful curse.


    It were better for a man to be subject to any vice than to drunkenness; for all other vanities and sins are recovered, but a drunkard will never shake off the delight of beastliness.

    Sir Walter Raleigh.

  • Your friends avoid you, brutishly transform’d
  • They hardly know you, or if one remains
  • To wish you well, he wishes you in heaven.
  • Armstrong.

    Beware of drunkenness, lest all good men beware of thee; where drunkenness reigns, there reason is an exile, virtue a stranger, God an enemy; blasphemy is wit, oaths are rhetoric, and secrets are proclamations.


    Intemperance is a dangerous companion. It throws many people off their guard, betrays them to a great many indecencies, to ruinous passions, to disadvantages in fortune; makes them discover secrets, drive foolish bargains, engage in play, and often to stagger from the tavern to the stews.

    Jeremy Collier.

    The longer it possesseth a man the more he will delight in it, and the elder he groweth the more he shall be subject to it; for it dulleth the spirits, and destroyeth the body as ivy doth the old tree, or as the worm that engendereth in the kernal of the nut.

    Sir Walter Raleigh.

    The habit of using ardent spirits by men in office has occasioned more injury to the public, and more trouble to me, than all other causes. Were I to commence my administration again, the first question I would ask respecting a candidate for office would be, Does he use ardent spirits?


  • Man with raging drink inflam’d,
  • Is far more savage and untamed;
  • Supplies his loss of wit and sense
  • With barb’rousness and insolence;
  • Believes himself, the less he’s able
  • The more heroic and formidable.
  • Butler.

    The costliest thing on earth is the drunkard’s song. It costs ruin of body. It costs ruin of mind. It costs ruin of soul. Go right down among the residential streets of any city and you can find once beautiful and luxurious homesteads that were expended in this destructive music. The lights have gone out in the drawing-room the pianos have ceased the pulsation of their keys, the wardrobe has lost its last article of appropriate attire. The Belshazzarean feast has left nothing but the broken pieces of the crushed chalices. There it stands, the ghastliest thing on earth, the remnant of a drunkard’s home. The costliest thing on earth is sin. The most expensive of all music is the Song of the Drunkards. It is the highest tariff of nations—not a protective tariff, but a tariff of doom, a tariff of woe, a tariff of death.


    Drunkenness is not only the cause of crime, but it is crime: and if any encourage drunkenness for the sake of the profit derived from the sale of drink, they are guilty of a form of moral assassination as criminal as any that has ever been practiced by the braves of any country or of any age.


    Drunkenness! Does it not jingle the burglar’s key? Does it not whet the assassin’s knife? Does it not cock the highwayman’s pistol? Does it not wave the incendiary’s torch? Does it not send the physician reeling into the sickroom; and the minister with his tongue thick into the pulpit? Did not an exquisite poet, from the very top of his fame, fall a gibbering sot, into the gutter, on his way to be married to one of the fairest daughters of New England, and at the very hour the bride was decking herself for the altar; and did he not die of delirium tremens, almost unattended, in a hospital? Tamerlane asked for one hundred and sixty thousand skulls with which to build a pyramid to his own honor. He got the skulls, and built the pyramid. But if the bones of all those who have fallen as a prey to dissipation could be piled up, it would make a vaster pyramid.


    The young man who thinks he can drink “just a little” because others do, and not be in danger of a drunkard’s grave, should look around him to the fearful examples to be found on the streets of every large city and many small ones. Even if you succeed in keeping within the limits of “moderate drinking” your example to those who are unfortunately not so strong-willed should ever be borne in mind. Help the weaker brother. Think not of self alone. Remember the Golden Rule.

    George D. R. Hubbard.

    Let no company or respect ever draw you to excess in drink, for be you well assured, that if ever that possess you, you are instantly drunk to all the respects your friends will otherwise pay you, and shall by unequal staggering paces go to your grave with confusion of face, as well in them that love you as in yourself; and, therefore abhor all company that might entice you that way.

    Lord Strafford.

  • It weaks the brain, it spoils the memory,
  • Hasting on age, and wilful poverty;
  • It drowns thy better parts, making thy name
  • To foes a laughter, to thy friends a shame.
  • ’Tis virtue’s poison and the bane of trust,
  • The match of wrath, the fuel unto lust.
  • Quite leave this vice, and turn not to ’t again,
  • Upon presumption of a stronger brain;
  • For he who holds more wine than others can,
  • I rather count a hogshead than a man.
  • Randolph.

    Of all vices take heed of drunkenness; other vices are but fruits of disordered affections—this disorders, nay, banishes reason; other vices but impair the soul—this demolishes her two chief faculties, the understanding and the will; other vices make their own way—this makes way for all vices; he that is a drunkard is qualified for all vice.