Sketches of Southern Life
Do you see this cup—this tempting cup—
Its sparkle and its glow?
I tell you this cup has brought to me
A world of shame and woe.
Do you see that woman sad and wan?
One day with joy and pride,
With orange blossoms in her hair,
I claimed her as my bride.
And vowed that I would faithful prove
Till death our lives should part;
I’ve drenched her soul with floods of grief,
And almost crushed her heart.
Do you see that gray-haired mother bend
Beneath her weight of years?
I’ve filled that aged mother’s eyes
With many bitter tears.
Year after year for me she prays,
And tries her child to save;
I’ve almost brought her gray hairs down
In sorrow to the grave.
Do you see that boy whose wistful eyes
Are gazing on my face?
I’ve overshadowed his young life
With sorrow and disgrace.
He used to greet me with a smile,
His heart was light and glad;
I’ve seen him tremble at my voice,
I’ve made that heart so sad.
Do you see this pledge I’ve signed to-night?
My mother, wife, and boy
Shall read my purpose on that pledge
And smile through tears of joy.
To know this night, this very night,
I cast the wine-cup down,
And from the dust of a sinful life
Lift up my manhood’s crown.
The faded face of my young wife
With roses yet shall bloom,
And joy shall light my mother’s eyes
On the margin of the tomb.
I have vowed to-night my only boy,
With brow so fair and mile,
Shall not be taunted on the streets,
And called a drunkard’s child.
Never again shall that young face
Whiten with grief and dread,
Because I’ve madly staggered home
And sold for drink his bread.
This strong right arm unnerved by rum
Shall battle with my fate;
And peace and comfort crown the home
By drink made desolate.
Like a drowning man, tempest-tossed,
Clings to a rocky ledge,
With trembling hands I’ve learned to grasp
The gospel and the pledge.
A captive bounding from my chain,
I’ve rent each hateful band,
And by the help of grace divine
A victor hope to stand.