Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOBACCO, by JOSEPH BEAUMONT

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TOBACCO, by            
First Line: Incroaching weed; had not thine india room
Last Line: Be physik, & not diet in abuse.
Subject(s): Smoking; Temptation; Tobacco; Pipes; Cigars; Cigarettes

INCROACHING Weed; had not thine India room
Ample enough for thy bold leaves, but they
Over ye Widest Seas must reach, & come
To taint another world? Where they display
More Conquest gain'd by their own power alone,
Then e'r ye Noble Laurell waited on.

Welcome Thou wert at first, & thought to be
But tame & honest poyson, which good Art
Might mixe into a wholsomenes: but Wee
Mistook thy power, whose cheife & mightiest part
Doth on ye Soule not on ye Body prey
And can heal this, whilst that it doth destroy.

Thou growst in India but upon ye ground,
In England Thou in Humane Breasts art set.
How will our generous Feilds henceforth confound
Their Masters basenes! What our Earth would not
Vouchsafe to foster, Men receive into
Their hearts, & spend their time to make it grow.

Wert Thou ye Tree of Life, no greater care
Could wait upon Thee: As brave Soules of old
Chips of ye reverend Crosse about them wore,
So we thy Relicks carefully doe fold
And beare them ever with Us, as if Wee
Safe under thy Leaves shade could onely be.

And art Thou not a vapour full as vain
As Man himselfe? O costly smoke, could We
But estimate thy Nothing, we might gain
A Virtue for our Prodigalitie,
And spend in Incense Altars to perfume,
What in thy empty stink We now consume.

That Embleme which is stamp'd so plain in Thee
Might well have frighted Us: A Mouth from whence
Stream Fire & Smoak, must needs a Copie be
Of Erebus's black Jawes; yet some pretence
Or others still we have ye Pipe to fill:
Rather then part wth thee wee'l look like Hell.

All Virtues have their Charme & Vices too,
But no inchantment may compare with Thee:
Who ever else without Devoto's goe,
Yet still Thy potent Pipe will followd be.
Incroaching Weed, which growst upon us thus:
First We took Thee, now Thou Takest Us.

About in Pounds & Ounces dost Thou goe,
By which we doe compute thy price & worth.
Was ever Nothing sold by weight till now,
Or smoak put in ye Scale? But since thy birth
Our subtile Age a difference hath found
Between an Ounce of Nothing & a Pound.

But stay, I now recant. Poor herb, alas,
Tis Wee incroach & Tyrannize on Thee.
Thou from thine India ne'r desirdst to passe,
But captiv'd wert by our own Luxurie.
Who keeps Thee a condemned helplesse Prize,
And makes Thee dayly Her burnt Sacrifice.

I know thou cheer'st ye Spirits, help'st ye Braine,
Repell'st bad Aires, to Students art a Freind,
If us'd wth sober Reason: but our vaine
Humor prevails; Our Selves & Time We spend
We know not why; Such is our Affectation,
Our nose must smoak onely to be in fashion.

A worthy fashion sure; ye French, they say,
Those Universall Fashionmongers scorne
This smoakie humor: And why may not They
Heer too be our Example? Were We borne
To copie all but their Sobrietie?
Not France's Followers, but her Apes are Wee.

Unhappy Wee! What Sun of Reformation
Will chase these swarthy Clowds of smoak away,
And cleare our Aire from this black Usurpation,
Which robbs Us of our pure & genuine Day!
That so this Weed may in its proper use
Be Physik, & not Diet in abuse.

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