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Owed To Volstead
by [?]

I– First Round

Prune extract and bright alcohol, so wooden
One kills its flavor in rank fusel oil!
C2-H3-HO–a rather good ‘un
To mix with fruity syrups in our toil
To give our social meetings after dark
Their necessary spark!
And you, most heavenly twins,
Born of one mother–
Although our woe begins
When, through our mortal sins,
We can’t tell which from ‘tother–
And Methyl!
Like Ike
And Mike
Strangely you look alike.
Like sisters I have met
You’re very hard to tell apart–and yet
The one consoles more gently than a wife;
The other turns and cripples you for life.

Such spirits as these, and many more I summon
From many a poisoned tin,
Or many a bottle falsely labelled “Gin.”
Or many a vial pathetic,
Yclept “Synthetic.”
Like Dante on his joy-ride Seeing Hell,
Fain would I take you down
Through sulphurous fires and caverns bilious brown
Into the Land of Mystery and Smell
Where Satan steweth
And home-breweth
While thirsty hooch-hounds yell
Their blackest curse,
Or worse:
“Vol-darn our souls with each Vol-blasted dram
That burns our throats and isn’t worth a dam!
We drink, yet how we dread it–
Vol-stead it!”
They’ve said it.

II– Short Intermission to Change Meter

In Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-three
A. Lincoln set the darkies free;
In Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen
A. Volstead muzzled the canteen
And freed the millions, great and small,
From bondage to King Alcohol.

Was it not thoughtful, good and kind
For such a man of such a mind
To show an interest so grand
In his misguided native land?
And don’t these statements illustrate
Our Nation’s progress up to date?
We’re freedom-loving and we’re brave
And simply cannot stand a slave.
And when a crisis needs a man
From Mass, or Tex. or Conn, or Kan.
That man steps forward, firm of chin–
So Andrew Volstead came from Minn.

He came from Minn, to show the world
That gin is wrong
And rye is strong
And Scotch to limbo should be hurled.
Thus with his spotless flag unfurled
He went against the Demon Rum
Who snarled, “I vum!”
Got sort of numb,
Rolled up his eyes, lay down and curled
While all the saints of heaven above
(Including Mr. Bryan’s Dove)
Cried “Rah-rah-rah!
And siss-boom-ah!
Three cheers for Health and Christian Love!
But, Andrew dear–
Say, now, look here!
You’re not including wine and beer!”

Then Andrew Volstead squared his chin
And answered briefly, “Sin is sin.”
No compromise
With the King of Lies!
Both liquor thick and liquor thin
We’ll cease to tax
And use the axe
Invented by the Man from Minn.
For right is right and wrong is wrong–
A spell has cursed the world too long.

The curse of drink–
Stop, friends, and think
How, reft of spirits weak or strong,
My Nation will be purified
Of all corruptions vile.
The lamb and lion, side by side,
Will smile and smile and smile.
The workman when his day is o’er
Will hurry to his cottage door
To kiss his loving wife;
He’ll lay his wages in her hand
And peace will settle on the land
Without a trace of strife.
The criminals will cease to swarm,
Forgers and burglars will reform
And minor crimes will so abate
That lower courts–now open late–
Will close and let the magistrate
Go to the zoo
Or read Who’s Who.
In short I do anticipate
A thinner, cooler human race,
Its system cleansed of every trace
Of inner fire
And hot desire
And passions spurring to disgrace.
“‘Tis simple,” said the Man from Minn.,
“To cure the world of mortal sin–
Just legislate against it.”
Then up spake Congress with a roar,
“We never thought of that before.
Let’s go!”
And they commenced it.