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Poem by Charles Lamb


Moderation in Diet


The drunkard's sin, excess in wine,
 Which reason drowns, and health destroys,
As yet no failing is of thine,
 Dear Jim; strong drink's not given to boys.

You from the cool fresh stream allay
 Those thirsts which sultry suns excite;
When choked with dust, or hot with play,
 A cup of water yields delight.

And reverence still that temperate cup,
 And cherish long the blameless taste;
To learn the faults of men grown up,
 Dear Jim, be wise and do not haste.

They'll come too soon.ЧBut there's a vice,
 That shares the world's contempt no less;
To be in eating over-nice,
 Or to court surfeits by excess.

The first, as finical, avoid;
 The last is proper to a swine:
By temperance meat is best enjoyed;
 Think of this maxim when you dine.

Prefer with plain food to be fed,
 Rather than what are dainties styled;
A sweet tooth in an infant's head
 Is pardoned, not in a grown child.

If parent, aunt, or liberal friend,
 With splendid shilling line your purse,
Do not the same on sweetmeats spend,
 Nor appetite with pampering nurse.

Go buy a book; a dainty eaten
 Is vanished, and no sweets remain;
They who their minds with knowledge sweeten,
 The savour long as life retain.

Purchase some toy; a horse of wood,
 A pasteboard ship; their structure scan;
Their mimic uses understood
 The school-boy make a kind of man.

Go see some show; pictures or prints;
 Or beasts far brought from Indian land;
Those foreign sights oft furnish hints,
 That may the youthful mind expand.

And something of your store impart,
 To feed the poor and hungry soul;
What buys for you the needless tart,
 May purchase him a needful roll.



Charles Lamb


Charles Lamb's other poems:
  1. Nursing
  2. David
  3. Lines Addressed from London, to Sara and S.T.C. at Bristol, in the Summer of 1796
  4. Love, Death, and Reputation
  5. Beauty and the Beast


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