The Haschish

by John Greenleaf Whittier

Of all that Orient lands can vaunt
   Of marvels with our own competing,
The strangest is the Haschish plant,
   And what will follow on its eating.

What pictures to the taster rise,
   Of Dervish or of Almeh dances!
Of Eblis, or of Paradise,
   Set all aglow with Houri glances!

The poppy visions of Cathay,
   The heavy beer-trance of the Suabian;
The wizard lights and demon play
   Of nights Walpurgis and Arabian!

The Mollah and the Christian dog
   Change place in mad metempsychosis;
The Muezzin climbs the synagogue,
   The Rabbi shakes his beard at Moses!

The Arab by his desert well
   Sits choosing from some Caliph’s daughters,
And hears his single camel’s bell
   Sound welcome to his regal quarters.

The Koran’s reader makes complaint
   Of Shitan dancing on and off it;
The robber offers alms, the saint
   Drinks Tokay and blasphemes the Prophet.

Such scenes that Eastern plant awakes;
   But we have one ordained to beat it,
The Haschish of the West, which makes
   Or fools or knaves of all who eat it.

The preacher eats, and straight appears
   His Bible in a new translation;
Its angels negro overseers,
   And Heaven itself a snug plantation!

The man of peace, about whose dreams
   The sweet millennial angels cluster,
Takes the mad weed, and plots and schemes,
   A raving Cuban filibuster!

The noisiest Democrat, with ease,
   It turns to Slavery’s parish beadle;
The shrewdest statesman eats and sees
   Due southward point the polar needle.

The Judge partakes, and sits erelong
   Upon his bench a railing blackguard;
Decides off-hand that right is wrong,
   And reads the ten commandments backward.

O potent plant! so rare a taste
   Has never Turk or Gentoo gotten;
The hempen Haschish of the East
   Is powerless to our Western Cotton!