The Demon Drink

Oh, thou demon Drink, thou fell destroyer;
Thou curse of society, and its greatest annoyer.
What hast thou done to society, let me think?
I answer thou hast caused the most of ills, thou demon Drink.

Thou causeth the mother to neglect her child,
Also the father to act as he were wild,
So that he neglects his loving wife and family dear,
By spending his earnings foolishly on whisky, rum and beer.

And after spending his earnings foolishly he beats his wife-
The man that promised to protect her during life-
And so the man would if there was no drink in society,
For seldom a man beats his wife in a state of sobriety.

And if he does, perhaps he finds his wife fou’,
Then that causes, no doubt, a great hullaballo;
When he finds his wife drunk he begins to frown,
And in a fury of passion he knocks her down.

And in that knock down she fractures her head,
And perhaps the poor wife she is killed dead,
Whereas, if there was no strong drink to be got,
To be killed wouldn’t have been the poor wife’s lot.

Then the unfortunate husband is arrested and cast into jail,
And sadly his fate he does bewail;
And he curses the hour that ever was born,
And paces his cell up and down very forlorn.

And when the day of his trial draws near,
No doubt for the murdering of his wife he drops a tear,
And he exclaims, “Oh, thou demon Drink, through thee I must die,”
And on the scaffold he warns the people from drink to fly,

Because whenever a father or a mother takes to drink,
Step by step on in crime they do sink,
Until their children loses all affection for them,
And in justice we cannot their children condemn.

The man that gets drunk is little else than a fool,
And is in the habit, no doubt, of advocating for Home Rule;
But the best Home Rule for him, as far as I can understand,
Is the abolition of strong drink from the land.

And the men that get drunk in general wants Home Rule;
But such men, I rather think, should keep their heads cool,
And try and learn more sense, I most earnestly do pray,
And help to get strong drink abolished without delay.

If drink was abolished how many peaceful homes would there be,
Just, for instance in the beautiful town of Dundee;
then this world would be heaven, whereas it’s a hell,
An the people would have more peace in it to dwell

Alas! strong drink makes men and women fanatics,
And helps to fill our prisons and lunatics;
And if there was no strong drink such cases wouldn’t be,
Which would be a very glad sight for all Christians to see.

O admit, a man may be a very good man,
But in my opinion he cannot be a true Christian
As long as he partakes of strong drink,
The more that he may differently think.

But no matter what he thinks, I say nay,
For by taking it he helps to lead his brother astray,
Whereas, if he didn’t drink, he would help to reform society,
And we would soon do away with all inebriety.

Then, for the sake of society and the Church of God,
Let each one try to abolish it at home and abroad;
Then poverty and crime would decrease and be at a stand,
And Christ’s Kingdom would soon be established throughout the land.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, pause and think,
And try to abolish the foul fiend, Drink.
Let such doctrine be taught in church and school,
That the abolition of strong drink is the only Home Rule.

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Comments (7) »

  1. In the year 2013, on the 23rd day of December at 1:20 am

    Considering he had to regularly bail his wife and daughter out of the nick for drunken conduct and the family was finally evicted from their tenement
    as members of the local church complained about the regular din from his house he spoke from experience.

  2. In the year 2014, on the 12th day of December at 10:43 pm

    […] “The Demon Drink” by William McGonagall, who is often cited as the worst poet in the history of English literature […]

  3. Sean Connolly
    In the year 2018, on the 24th day of October at 2:37 am

    Ach! I appreciate the earlier comments, and Mr. McGonagall has my sympathies, but I barely made it through this stumble of a poem without a drink…even on a Tuesday nicht!

  4. Tim Hancock
    In the year 2019, on the 11th day of January at 10:46 pm

    Just imagine what a man of his poetic talents could have made of brexit. He’d have probably made more sense than I’ve heard thus far.

  5. Chris Hunt
    In the year 2019, on the 13th day of January at 11:52 am

    Well, he did like a good disaster, so I imagine he’d have been like a moth to a flame with Brexit.

    He could also get a gig as Chris Grayling’s personal poet laureate. He’d keep him in work indefinitely.

  6. In the year 2020, on the 16th day of May at 2:07 pm

    […] The demon drink – William McGonagall […]

  7. Pierre de Vraidire
    In the year 2022, on the 10th day of June at 8:15 pm

    The man also liked celebrating joyous occasions, so I imagine he could’ve written a fine piece to celebrate brexit.

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