Home  »  The World’s Wit and Humor  »  Ode to Tobacco

The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–1884)

Ode to Tobacco

From “Fly Leaves”

THOU, who, when fears attack,

Bidst them avaunt, and black

Care, at the horseman’s back

Perching, unseatest;

Sweet when the morn is gray,

Sweet when they’ve cleared away

Lunch; and at close of day

Possibly sweetest:

I have a liking old

For thee, though manifold

Stories, I know, are told

Not to thy credit:

How one (or two at most)

Drops make a cat a ghost—

Useless except to roast—

Doctors have said it.

How they who use fusees

All grow by slow degrees

Brainless as chimpanzees,

Meagre as lizards;

Go mad, and beat their wives;

Plunge (after shocking lives),

Razors and carving-knives

Into their gizzards.

Confound such knavish tricks!

Yet know I five or six

Smokers who freely mix

Still with their neighbours.

Jones (who, I’m glad to say,

Asked leave of Mrs. J.)

Daily absorbs a clay

After his labours.

Cats may have had their goose

Cooked by tobacco-juice;

Still why deny its use

Thoughtfully taken?

We’re not as tabbies are.

Smith, take a fresh cigar!

Jones, the tobacco-jar!

Here’s to thee, Bacon!