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Tobacco, charmer of my mind,

When, like the meteor's transient gleam,
Thy substance gone to air, I find,

I think, alas! my life's the same.

What else but lighted dust am I?

Thou show'st me what my fate will be ;
And when my sinking ashes die,

I learn that I must end like thee.


The author of this sonnet was Esprit de Raymond, Comte de Modène, putative father of Armande Béjart, wife of Moliere. He is also the author of some pleasant verses :

« La Peinture du Pays d'Adioussias, c'est-à-dire de l'état d'Avignon; an epistle to a young person about to take the veil; a set of monorhymes in if, addressed to “Inizul ;” and a sonnet on the crucifixion. While on the subject of Misson, allow me to recommend the perusal of Ozell's Preface or Dedication; it is the finest gem of snobbery in the language.

There is a Hymnus Tabaci, a poem in two books, written in Latin verse, in imitation of Lucretius by Raphael Thorius, a Dutch (French ?) bard, entitled 'De Paeto seu Tabaco. A resume of this poem is given in Horae Nicotianae, (vol. v. p. 47, etc., of Blackwood's Magazine.)

Thorius was a notorious bon vivant, and once took advantage of the learned Peirex, whose powers as a wine bibber by no means equalled his own, to pledge him in an enormous beaker of wine; nor would he accept any of Peirex's excuses for getting off. But when the other, having challenged Thorius in turn, filled the beaker with water, it cost our poet many a qualm to swallow the whole of such an unwonted draught. Bayle says:

Je pense qu'il ne doutoit guère de la maxime, que les buveurs d'eau ne sauvoient faire de bon vers. De sa vie, peut-être, il ne se trouva plus embarrassé que quand M. de Peirex l'obliga de boire boire un grand verre d'eau : le roi Jacques souhaita qu'on lui fit ce conte qui est fort visible.—Dict. Critiq., tom. iii. p. 2875.

See, too, Gapendus, in vit. Periesk ad ann 1606. Thorius was long a favorite about the Court of James I., and died in London of the plague in 1629.

Nothing, says the writer in Blackwood, can be finer than the commencement, in which he invokes (Pieridum loco) a certain celebrated smoking knight of Amsterdam, by name Paddæus, or Van Paddy.

Ipnocuus calices et amicam, Vatibus herbam
Vinque datam foli, et laeti miracula fumi
Aggredior. Tu, qui censu decoratus Equestri
Virtutem titulis, titulos virtutibus ornas,
Antiquum et Phoebi nato promitteis honorem,
Tu, Paddæe, fave.

This poem was translated into English verse by Henry Player, who appended the original in 1716, dedicating his version to Mrs. Mary Owen, who appears to have been a learned lady and a snuff-taker, and the latter to Solomon Lowe, her tutor.

Player has brought out his author with all the paraphernalia of testimonia auctorum, lists of his works, of editions of this on tobacco, (the editio princep of which appears to have appeared anterior to 1625), Judicia Virorum Doctorum, etc.

An earlier translation into English had appeared with the following title:

Hymnus Tabaci, a poem in Honour of Tobacco, Heroically composed by Raphäel Thorius, made English by Peter Hausted, Master of Arts, Cambridge, London, 1651, 8vo.

Dr. Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, a liberal patron of the weed (and indeed of all good things) has, also, moralized smoking, as the following declares :

Aldricius nobis nomen memorabile, paeti

Omnia qui novit commoda, sic cecinit,
Paetum mane viget, marescit nocte, cadit,

Ut redit in cineres incensum ; mortuus omnis

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Sic redit in cineres, fitque quod ante fuit.

Quis non è tubulis discat nunc reddere fumos,
Vivere cum doceant et benè posse mori.

And in a similar strain is this song :

Tobacco is an Indian woed,
Grows green at morn, cut down at eve;

It shows our decay, we are but clay.
Think on this when


smoak Tobacco.

The pipe that is so lily-white,
Wherein so many take delight,

Is broke with a touch : Man's life is such.
Think on this when you smoak Tobacco.

The pipe that is so foul within,
Shows how man's soul is stained with sin.

It does require to be purg'd with fire.
Think on this when you smoak Tobacco.

The ashes that are left behind
Do serve to put us all in mind

That unto dust return we must.
Think on this when you smoak Tobacco.

The smoke that does so high ascend,
Shows that man's life must have an end ;

The vapour's gone : Man's life is done.
Think on this when you smoak Tobacoo.

There are

The author and date of this song are uncertain. several versions of it. The following, the earliest yet discovered, is from a MS. of the early part of the seventeenth century, in the possession of J. Payne Collier. It has the initials “ G. W." (i. e., George Withers ?) at the end. Like Milton, Withers is said to have indulged in the luxury of smoking; and many of his evenings in Newgate (during his long imprisonment), when weary of numbering his steps, or telling the panes of glass, were solaced with “meditations over a pipe," not without a grateful

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acknowledgment of God's mercy in thus wrapping up "a blessing in a weed."

Why should we so much despise,
So good and wholesome an exercise,
As early and late to meditate:

Thus think, and drink tobacco.

The earthen pipe so lily-white,
Shows that thou art a mortal wight,
Even such, and gone with a touch:

Thus think, and drink tobacco.

And when the smoke ascends on high,
Think on the worldly vanity
Of worldly stuff 'tis gone with a puff:

Thus think, and drink tobacco.

And when the pipe is foul within,
Think how the soul's defiled with sin,
To purge with fire it doth require :

Thus think, and drink tobacco.

Lastly, the ashes left behind,
May daily show to move the mind
That to ashes and dust return we must:

Thus think, and drink tobacco.

Drinking tobacco was another term for smoking it:

The smoke of tobacco (the which Dodoneus called rightly Henbane of Peru) drunke and drawen by a pipe, filleth the membranes of the brain, and astonisheth and filleth many persons with such joy and pleasure, and sweet loss of senses, that they can by no means be without it.--The Perfuming of Tobacco and the great Abuse committed in it, 1611.

The following riddle, headed “ Tobacco," is taken from the Cambridge University MS.," D. D. v. 75, and, as the dates of other pieces in the volume prove, was written between 1580 and 1600 :

A foole or a phisicion, I know not whether

His penner hath and inck horn all in one;

Kept in an eeles skin, or in a case of leather,

And made of clay converted to a stone : His cotton is of dark deroied grene,

His matter all within his nose is pend, And in the strangest guise ye may be seene

He drawes his incke out of a candel's end. Herewith his missives round about he sendes,

Till breath and beard and all the house do stink : He wrings his neck and giueth to his freindes,

“Hold galantes here, and to Galenus drink.”


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