The Temperance Movement

Charles Harpur

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A POWER is stirring—a broad light has shone
Amid the nation’s—in the wilderness
Of the world’s social horror and distress,
Heralding temperance as the Baptist John
Announced the Christ. Amazed upon her throne,
Built up of skulls that were in life not less
Than temples of great souls—behold Excess
Blinks in its rays, and feels her empire gone!
And Ignorance and Crime—each brutal vice
That brands the brow with shame and steels the heart,
Are starting from their lairs in human sties,
Like felons scared, and gathering to depart:
Even as the fiend-gods of the pagan earth
Trooped hell-ward at the Babe of Bethlehem’s birth.

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