The Haschish





OF all that Orient lands can vaunt

Of marvels with our own competing,

The strangest is the Haschish plant,

And what will follow on its eating.



What pictures to the taster rise,

Of Dervish or of Almeh dances!

Of Eblis, or of Paradise,

Set all aglow with Houri glances!



The poppy visions of Cathay,

The heavy beer-trance of the Suabian;

The wizard lights and demon play

Of nights Walpurgis and Arabian!



The Mollah and the Christian dog

Change place in mad metempsychosis;

The Muezzin climbs the synagogue,

The Rabbi shakes his beard at Moses!



The Arab by his desert well

Sits choosing from some Caliph's daughters,

And hears his single camel's bell

Sound welcome to his regal quarters.



The Koran's reader makes complaint

Of Shitan dancing on and off it;

The robber offers alms, the saint

Drinks Tokay and blasphemes the Prophet.



Such scenes that Eastern plant awakes;

But we have one ordained to beat it,

The Haschish of the West, which makes

Or fools or knaves of all who eat it.



The preacher eats, and straight appears

His Bible in a new translation;

Its angels negro overseers,

And Heaven itself a snug plantation!



The man of peace, about whose dreams

The sweet millennial angels cluster,

Tastes the mad weed, and plots and schemes,

A raving Cuban filibuster!



The noisiest Democrat, with ease,

It turns to Slavery's parish beadle;

The shrewdest statesman eats and sees

Due southward point the polar needle.



The Judge partakes, and sits erelong

Upon his bench a railing blackguard;

Decides off-hand that right is wrong,

And reads the ten commandments backward.



O potent plant! so rare a taste

Has never Turk or Gentoo gotten;

The hempen Haschish of the East

Is powerless to our Western Cotton!

1854.





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