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To My Cigar

by Charles Sprague

Charles Sprague, American poet, was born in Boston in 1791, and died in 1875. He is entombed at Central Burying Ground in Boston Common. Sprague was called the Banker Poet of Boston as he worked in the banking industry for most of his life, and wrote poetry and prose for intellectual reasons. His poems are mostly about human emotion.


Yes, social friend, I love thee well, 
 In learned doctors' spite; 
Thy clouds all other clouds dispel, 
 And lap me in delight.

By thee, they cry, with phizzes long, 
 My years are sooner passed; 
Well, take my answer, right or wrong, 
 They're sweeter while they last.

And oft, mild friend, to me thou art 
 A monitor, though still; 
Thou speak'st a lesson to my heart 
 Beyond the preacher's skill.

Thou 'rt like the man of worth, who gives 
 To goodness every day, 
The odor of whose virtue lives 
 When he has passed away.

When, in the lonely evening hour, 
 Attended but by thee, 
O'er history's varied page I pore, 
 Man's fate in thine I see.

Oft as thy snowy column grows, 
 Then breaks and falls away, 
I trace how mighty realms thus rose. 
 Thus tumbled to decay.

Awhile like thee the hero burns, 
 And smokes and fumes around, 
And then, like thee, to ashes turns, 
 And mingles with the ground.

Life's but a leaf adroitly rolled, 
 And time's the wasting breath. 
That late or early, we behold. 
 Gives all to dusty death.

From beggar's frieze to monarch's robe, 
 One common doom is passed; 
Sweet Nature's works, the swelling globe, 
 Must all burn out at last.

And what is he who smokes thee now? — 
 A little moving heap, 
That soon like thee to fate must bow, 
 With thee in dust must sleep.

But though thy ashes downward go, 
 Thy essence rolls on high; 
Thus, when my body must lie low, 
 My soul shall cleave the sky.


— The Poetical and Prose Writings of Charles Sprague, New Edition, A. Williams & Co, 1876


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