A Religious Use of Taking Tobacco

[Anonymous; 16th-century English]

The Indian weed witherèd quite,
Green at morn, cut down at night,
Shows thy decay;
All flesh is hay:
Thus think, then drink tobacco.
 
And when the smoke ascends on high,
Think thou behold’st the vanity
Of worldly stuff,
Gone with a puff:
Thus think, then drink tobacco.
 
But when the pipe grows foul within,
Think of thy soul defiled with sin.
And that the fire
Doth it require:
Thus think, then drink tobacco.
 
The ashes that are left behind,
May serve to put thee still in mind
That into dust
Return thou must:
Thus think, then drink tobacco.
 

[Taken from Robert Penn Warren and Albert Erskine, eds., Six Centuries of Great Poetry from Chaucer to Yeats.  NY: Dell, 1955, p. 72.]