Song on Tobacco

Some sing about love in their season of roses,
But love has in sorrow no blossoms to wear;
So I'll sing tobacco, that cheers and composes,
And lulls us asleep in our trouble and care.
So here's to tobacco, the Indian weed,
The peaceful companion through trouble and strife;
May it prove every smoker's best friend in his need,
And be to his heart a restorer through life.

There's the husbandman hourly tormented with care,
By his daily companion, a troublesome wife;
But a pipe of tobacco will soothe his despair,
And bring him sunshine in the shadows of life.
Then here's to tobacco, the Indian weed,
May it bless honest smokers with peace to the end,
For such a companion is friendship indeed,
Since it proves in the midst of all trouble a friend.

The statesman, the lawyer, the parson will find,
When business oppresses and sorrow grows ripe,
To steer clear of follies and strengthen the mind,
There's nothing like leisure and smoking a pipe.
So here's to that cheering tobacco once more;
May each honest smoker prove blest with the weed,
May it mend broken hopes and lost pleasures restore,
And always prove dear as a friend in his need.

The Later Poems of John Clare 1837-1864
ed. Eric Robinson and David Powell
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1984)

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