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...On the Subject of Smoking

We seriously doubt that reading these selected quotations about tobacco, pipes, and smoking will increase your eloquence, make you smarter, or result in you being invited to the White House during the Administration of your choice. Still, you may find them inspiring. And, one never knows...

You may view the quotations by general topic, if you desire.

Fondness for and Value of Tobacco
Proverbs Dealing with Tobacco
One's Selection of Tobacco
Islamic Proverb on the Origin of Tobacco

In Wreaths of Smoke

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Tobacco Quotes

Fondness for and Value of Tobacco

"Woman makes half the sorrows which she boasts the privilege to sooth. Woman consoles us, it is true, while we are young and handsome; when we are old and ugly, woman snubs and scolds us. On the whole, then, woman in this scale, the weed in that. Jupiter! Hang out thy balance, and weigh them both; and if thou give the preference to woman, all I can say is, the next time Juno ruffles thee, O Jupiter, try the weed. "
-Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
"(Tobacco) is the passion of honest men and he who lives without tobacco is not worthy of living."
-Moliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin)
"For thy sake, tobacco, I would do anything but die."
-Charles Lamb
"(Tobacco is) a companion in solitude; it is a storehouse for reflection and gives time for the fumes of wrath to disperse."
-Japanese author

"Nothing serves life and soundness of body so well, nor is so necessary as the smoke of the royal plant, tobacco."
-Dr. Cornelius Bontekoe, 1685

"Man, the creature who knows he must die, who has dreams larger than his destiny, who is forever working a confidence trick on himself, needs an ally. Mine has been tobacco. "
-John Boynton Priestley

"If you can't sent money, send tobacco."
-George Washington to the Continental Congress, 1776

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Tobacco in Proverbs

"Where there is idleness, weeds thrive; where there is diligence, tobacco flourishes."
- Bulgarian proverb

"When the blazing sun tortures the peasant, it is good to the tobacco."
-Bosnian Proverb

"As a golden necklace adorns a woman, so does the dizi (strings on which tobacco leaves are hung to dry) adorn her house."
-Bulgarian proverb

"Allah created woman to labor at stringing pastals (bundles of tobacco)."
-Turkish proverb

"When the pastals (bundles of tobacco) are ready, dancing begins."
-Turkish proverb

"Allah made tobacco grow to put a smile on the faces of men."
-Turkish proverb

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One's Selection of Tobacco

"Diplomacy is entirely a question of the weed. I can always settle a quarrel if I know beforehand whether the plenipotentiary smokes Cavendish, Latakia, or Shag."
-Lord Clarendon (English Foreign Secretary)

"There can be no doubt that smoking nowadays is largely a miserable automatic business. People use tobacco without ever taking an intelligent interest in it. They do not experiment, compare, fit the tobacco to the occasion. A man should always be pleasantly conscious of the fact that he is smoking."
-John Boynton Priestley
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The Origin of Tobacco

The Prophet was taking a stroll in the country when he saw a serpent, stiff with cold, lying on the ground. He compassionately took it up and warmed it in his bosom. When the serpent hand recovered, it said,..."By Allah I shall bite thee!"
"If thou hast sworn by Allah, I will not cause thee to break thy vow," said the Prophet, holding his hand to the serpent's mouth. The serpent bit him, but he sucked the wound with his lips and spat the venom on the ground. And on that very spot there sprung up a plant which combines within itself the venom of the serpent and the compassion of the Prophet. Men call this plant by the name of tobacco.
-Conte Arabe

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Tobacco, some say, is a a potent narcotic,
That rules half the world in a way quite despotic;
So to punish him well for his wicked and merry tricks,
We'll burn him forthwith, as they used to do heretics.
-from Tobacco in Song and Story, by John Bain

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Weed of the strange flower, weed of the earth,
Killer of dullness, parent of mirth,
Come in the sad hour, come in the gay,
Appear in the night, or in the day,
Still thou art welcome as June's blooming rose,
Joy of the palate, delight of the nose!

Weed of the green field, weed of the wild,
Fostered in freedom, America's child,
Come in Virginia, come in Havana;
Friend of the universe, sweeter than manna,
Still thou art welcome, rich, fragrant, and ripe,
Pride of the tube-case, delight of the pipe!
-Henry James Mellen

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Sublime tobacco! which, from east to west,
Cheers the tar's labor or the Turkman's rest,
Which on the Moslem's ottoman divides
His hours, and rivals opium and his brides;
Magnificent in Stamboul, but less grand,
Though not less loved, in Wapping on the Strand;
Divine in hookahs, glorious in a pipe,
When tipped with amber, mellow, rich, and ripe;
Like other charmers, wooing the caress
More dazzlingly when daring in full dress...
Yet thy true lovers more admire, by far,
Thy naked beauties--give me a cigar!
-Lord George Gordon Byron

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Quotes About Pipes

Benefits of Pipe Smoking to the Smoker and Others

"I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgement in all human affairs."
-Albert Einstein, 1950
"Nowhere in the world will such a brotherly feeling of confidence be experienced as amongst those who sit together smoking their pipes."
- The Results and Merits of Tobacco, 1844, Doctor Barnstein

"The fact is, squire, the moment a man takes to a pipe, he becomes a philosopher. It's the poor man's friend; it calms the mind, soothes the temper, and makes a man patient under difficulties. It has made more good men, good husbands, kind masters, indulgent fathers, than any other blessed thing on this universal earth."
-"Sam Slick, the clockmaker"

"A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan."
-Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

"Pipe smoking is the most protracted of all forms of tobacco consumption. it may explain why pipe smokers are generally regarded as patient men--and philosophers."
-Jerome E. Brooks, from The Mighty Leaf, Tobacco Through the Centuries

"There is no composing draught like the draught through the tube of a pipe."
-Captain Frederick Marryat

"A pipe is to the troubled soul what caresses of a mother are for her suffering child."
-Indian Proverb

"Pipe: a primary masculine symbol with authoritarian overtones but also indicative of reliability and contentment."
-The Dictionary of Visual Language, 1980

I hated tobacco. I could have almost lent my support to any institution that had for its object the putting of tobacco smokers to death...I now feel that smoking in moderation is a comfortable and laudable practice, and is productive of good. There is no more harm in a pipe than in a cup of tea. You may poison yourself by drinking too much green tea, and kill yourself by eating too many beefsteaks. For my part, I consider that tobacco, in moderation, is a sweetener and equalizer of the temper.
-Thomas Henry Huxley

"The pipe draws wisdom from the lips of the philosopher, and shuts up the mouth of the foolish; it generates a style of conversation, contemplative, thoughtful, benevolent, and unaffected..."
-William Makepeace Thackeray, from The Social Pipe

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Devotion Inspired by the Pipe

"I toiled after it, sir, as some men toil after virtue."
-Charles Lamb, when asked how he became such a prodigious pipe smoker

"I smoke a brown pipe like the breast of a little negress."
-Francis Jammes

"May my last breath be drawn through a pipe, and exhaled in a jest."
-Charles Lamb

"When all is said and done, love is trite compared with the spirituality of a tobacco pipe.
-Jules deGancourt

"When you pray with this pipe, you pray for everything in the universe, and everything in the universe prays with you."
-Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglalas

"A Dutchman without a pipe is a national impossibility. If a Dutchman were deprived of his pipe and tobacco, he would not even enter Paradise with a glad heart."

"Certain things are good for nothing until they have been kept for a long while; and some are good for nothing until they have been long kept and used. Of the first, wine is the the illustrious and immortal example. Of those which must be kept and used I will name three-- meerschaum pipes, violins, and poems. The meerschaum is but a poor affair until it has burned a thousand offerings to the cloud-compelling deities...The fire is lighted in its central shrine, and gradually the juices which the broad leaves of the Great Vegetable has sucked up from an acre and curdled into a dram are diffused through its thirsting pores."
-Oliver W. Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table

"May be the truth is, that one pipe is wholesome, two pipes toothsome, three pipes noisome, four pipes fulsome, five pipes quarrelsome; and that's the some on't."
-Charles Lamb, in a letter to Coleridge (1803)

"I have some friends, some honest friends, and honest friends are few;
My pipe of briar, my open fire, A book that's not too new."
-Robert Service

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Etiquette and Practice of Pipe Smoking

"... contented saturnine human figures, a dozen or so of them, sitting around a large long table...Perfect equality is to be the rule; no rising or notice taken when anybody enters or leaves. Let the entering man take his place and pipe, without obligatory remarks; if he cannot smoke...let him at least affect to do so, and not ruffle the established stream of things."
-Thomas Carlyle, describing the smoking room of George I of Hanover

"Tobacco smoke is the one element in which, by our European manners, men can sit silent together without embarrassment, and where no man is bound to speak one word more than he has actually and veritably got to say. Nay, rather every man is admonished and enjoined by the laws of honor, and even of personal ease, to stop short of that point; and at all events to hold his peace and take to his pipe again the instant he has spoken his meaning, if he chance to have any."
-Thomas Carlyle

"It is not enough to fill a pipe and put it to the mouth and set fire to it, for even the country bumpkin knows as much. It is only correct to hold it with the left hand, have the right hand provided with the stopper, impress the onlookers with majestic mien, sit in the proper attitude on the chair, and finally, to take enough time for each pipe and not treat with hasty irreverence this heavenly food."
-Peter Burmann on pipe etiquette, c. 1710

"As the priest is characterized by his cassock, so the smoker by his pipe. The way in which he holds it, raises it to his lips, and knocks out the ashes, reveals his personality, habits, passions, and even his thoughts."
-E. Th. A. Hoffmann
"...pipe smoking is properly an intellectual exercise."
-Christopher Morley, 1916

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Virtue in Pipe Smoking

"Smoke. Smoke. Smoke. Only a pipe distinguishes man from beast."
-Honere Daumier

"A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake--you are undoubtedly a man."
-A. A. Milne

"The pipe marks the point at which the orangutan ends and man begins."
-Ben Jonson

"You have proved it is a very moral habit."
-Benjamin Disraeli to Colonel Webster after the latter complained that pipe smoking had prevented more illicit liaisons than fears of duels or divorce

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Smoking is a Fine Art (Excerpts), by A. A. Milne

...At eighteen I went to Cambridge, and bought two pipes in a case. In those days Greek was compulsory, but not more so than two pipes in a case. One of the pipes had an amber stem and the other a vulcanite stem, and both of them had silver belts. That also was compulsory. Having bought them, one was free to smoke cigarettes. However, at the end of my first year I got to work seriously on a shilling briar, and have smoked that, or something like it, ever since.
...There has grown up a new school of pipe smokers...its pupils would no longer think of smoking a pipe without the white spot as of smoking brown paper. So far are they from smoking brown paper that each one of them has his tobacco specially blended.
...However, it is the pipe rather than the tobacco which marks him as belonging to this particular school. He pins his faith, not so much to its labor saving devices as to the white spot outside, the white spot of an otherwise aimless life. This tells the world that it is one of the pipes. Never was an announcement more superfluous.
...Whereas men of an older school, like myself, smoke for the pleasure of smoking, men of this school smoke for the pleasure of pipe-owning--of selecting which of their many white-spotted pipes they will fill with their specially blended tobacco, of filling the one so chosen, of lighting it, of taking it from the mouth to gaze lovingly at the white spot and thus letting it go out, of lighting it again and letting it go out again, of polishing it up with their own special polisher and putting it to bed, and then the pleasure of beginning all over again with another white-spotted one. They are not so much pipe smokers as pipe keepers; and to have spoken as I did just now of their owning pipes was wrong, for it is they who are in bondage to the white spot.
...You may be excused for feeling after the first pipe that the joys of smoking have been rated too high, and for trying to extract your pleasure from the polish on the pipe's surface, the pride of possessing a special mixture of your own, and such-like matters, rather than from the actual inspiration and expiration of smoke. In the same way a man not fond of reading may find delight in a library of well-bound books. They are pleasant to handle, pleasant to talk about, pleasant to show to friends.But it is the man without the library of well-bound books who generally does most of the reading.
So I feel that it is we of the older school that do most of the smoking. We smoke unconsciously while we are doing other things; they try, but not very successfully, to do other things while they are consciously smoking. No doubt they despise us, and tell themselves that we are not real smokers, but I fancy they feel a little uneasy sometimes. For my young friends are always trying to persuade me to join their school, to become one of the white-spotted ones.
-from Not That It Matters, 1920

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Give a man a pipe he can smoke,
Give a man a book he can read;
And his home bright with a calm delight,
Though the room be poor indeed.
-James Thompson

I smoke a pipe abroad, because
To all cigars I much prefer it,
And as I scorn you social laws,
My choice has nothing to deter it.
-Robert Lewis Stevenson

The pipe with solemn interposing puff,
Makes half a sentence at a time enough;
The dozing sages drop the drowsy strain,
Then, pause and puff and speak, and pause again.
-William Cowper, Conversation

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With pipe and book at close of day,
Oh, what is sweeter, mortal say?
It matters not what book on knee,
Old Izaak or the Odyssey,
It matters not meerschaum or clay.

And though ones's eyes will dream astray,
And lips forget to sue or sway,
It is "enough to merely be"
With Pipe and Book.

What though our modern skies be gray,
As bards aver, I will not pray
For "soothing death" to succor me,
But ask this much, O Fate, of thee,
A little longer yet to stay
With Pipe and Book.
-Richard LeGallienne

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Much victuals serves for gluttony
To fatten men like swine;
But he's a frugal man indeed
That with a leaf can dine.
And needs no napkin for his hands,
His fingers' ends to wipe,
But keeps his kitchen in a box,
And roast meat in a pipe.
-Samuel Rowlands (1611)

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Little tube of mighty power,
Charmer of an idle hour,
Object of my warm desire,
Lip of wax, and eye of fire;
And thy snowy taper waist,
With my finger gently braced;
And thy pretty swelling crest,
With my little stopper pressed,
And the sweetest bliss of blisses,
Breathing from they balmy kisses.
Happy thrice and thrice again,
Happiest he of happy men.

Who when again the night returns,
When again the taper burns;
When again the cricket's gay
(Little cricket, full of play),
Can afford his tube to feed
With the fragrant Indian weed;
Pleasure for a nose divine,
Incense of the god of wine.
Happy thrice, and thrice again
Happiest he of happy men.
-Isaac Hawkins Browne (1736)

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Why should life in sorrow be spent,
When pleasure points to the road,
Wherein each traveler with content,
May throw off the ponderous load?

And instead, in ample measure,
Gather fruits too long left ripe;
What's this world without its pleasure?
What is pleasure but a pipe?

See the sailor's jovial state,
Mark the soldier's noble soul;
What doth heroes renovate?
What refines the splendid bowl?

Is it not tobacco dear,
That from the brow fell grief can wipe?
Yes! Like them with jolly cheer,
I find pleasure in a pipe.

Some are fond of care and grief,
Some take pleasure in sad strife,
Some pursue a false belief;
Few there are that enjoy life.

Some delight in envy ever,
Others avaricious gripe;
Would you know our greatest pleasure?
'Tis a glowing social pipe.
-From Logan's "Pedlar's Pack of Ballads"

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When my pipe burns bright and clear,
The gods I need not envy here;
And as the smoke fades in the wind,
Our fleeting life it brings to mind.

Noble weed that comforts life,
And art with calmest pleasures rife;
Heaven grant thee sun and rain,
And to thy planter health and gain.

Through thee, friend of my solitude,
With hope and patience I'm imbued;
Deep sinks thy power within my heart,
And cares and sorrows all depart.

Then let non-smokers rail forever,
Shall their hard words true friends dissever?
Pleasure's too rare to cast away,
My pipe, for what the railers say!

When love grows cool, thy fire still warms me,
When friends are fled, thy presence charms me;
If thou art full, though purse be bare,
I smoke and cast away all care!
-German Folk Song

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When the night air is shading 'round you,
And the lake is lying still;
When you hear the evening tuning,
Of the lonely whippoorwill;
When the woods are big and silent,
And the world seems all at rest;
And the cheerful fire is blazing,
Then your good old pipe is best.

When you are tired out from tramping,
Through the winding forest ways;
And you've had your trout and coffee,
And you dream of future days;
When you sit close to the fire,
Then the time is surely ripe;
With the owl's bark resounding,
To fill up the good old pipe.

When the dreary rain is falling,
And the world is wet and gray;
When the loon's long, dismal holler,
Rolls out clear and dies away;
When the woods are all adripping,
From the alder to the oak;
Then just lay back in your chair,
And hit good old pipe, and smoke.
-Earle P. Stafford

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Scorn not the meerschaum. Housewives, you have croaked
in ignorance of its charms.
Through this small reed,
Did Milton, now and then,
consume the weed;
The poet Tennyson hath oft invoked
The Muse with his glowing pipe, and Thackeray joked
And wrote and sang in nicotinian mood;
Hawthorne with this hath cheered his solitude;
A thousand times this pipe hath Lowell smoked;
Full oft hath Aldrich, Taylor, Stoddard, Cranch,
And many more whose verses float about,
Puffed the Virginian or Havana leaf;
And when the poet's or the artist's branch
Drops no sustaining fruit, how sweet to pout
Consolatory whiffs--alas, too brief!
-Harper's magazine

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There's nothing like a smoke,
To that I'll firmly stick;
Give me a pipe for comfort,
Whether, lads, I'm well or sick.
Take anything away you like,
But that'll be a joke;
But leave me still by blessed pipe,
Oh, there's nothing like a smoke.

One's fancy, it knows change,
In friendship and in love;
But to 'bacca is constant,
For it's love and friends above.
Take my lass or take my glass,
Their loss will be a joke;
While you leave me still my blessed pipe,
Oh, there's nothing like a smoke.

Whatever is the weather,
In calm or breeze or storm;
Wherever you may sail or walk,
Let your clime be cold or warm;
Whether you be crossed or happy,
You can treat all as a joke,
While in your lips you hold a pipe.
Oh, there's nothing like a smoke.

They say some whey-faced landsmen
At 'bacca make a fuss,
It may hurt such as they are,
but it's meat and drink to us.
Weak stomachs may kick at it,
But that's to us a joke,
We leave all that to landsmen;
Oh, there's nothing like a smoke.
-W.C. Bennett

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When care has got me on the hook,
And life begins to drag,
I like to seek a quiet nook,
And fill my pipe with shag.

The turmoil of the world forgot,
My fancies playing tag,
I dream of some enchanted spot,
In rings of fragrant shag.

Then peace falls like a cooling dew,
And time forgets to nag,
While life takes on a shining hue,
In golden clouds of shag.
-Joseph Fume
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Tobacco smoke! Blue-gray in wreaths,--
Blue laurel-wreaths which float in air,
As if, invisible, serene,
A dreaming angel hovered there,
A spirit of clam kindliness,--
A touch of eyes that smile through tears,--
A mantle of forgetfulness,
Thrown in the passions of the years.

I cross my knees, I puff my pipe,
The gentle Summer warmth creeps in;
The Summer warmth 'mid Winter's snows,--
For indolence shall banish sin,--
And watch the tasseled smoke-drops fall,
And note the fringed smoke-plumes rise,
And see the dreams, in legions, turn
To smoky nothings in the skies.

Tobacco smoke, like silken web,
Suspended in the restful airs,
To me and mine in soothing rhymes
A dainty, artless burden bears;
Let cares rage on-- let hopes renew--
The Yesterday, Tomorrow be--
But we are wise the smoke and I;
We cease regrets and troubles flee.
-A. B. Tucker

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When love grows cool, thy fire still warms me;
When friends are fled, thy presence charms me.
If thou art full, though purse be bare,
I smoke and cast away all care!
-German Smoking Song

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(translated from Charles Pierre Baudelaire)

A poet's pipe am I,
And my Abyssinian tint
Is an unmistakable hint
That he lays me not often by.
When his soul is with grief o'er worn,
I smoke like the cottage where
They are cooking the evening fare
For the laborer's return

I enfold and cradle his soul
In the vapors moving and blue
That mount from my fiery mouth;
And there is power in my bowl
To charm his spirit and soothe,
And heal his weariness, too.
-Richard Herne Shepherd
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My oldest pipe, my dearest girl,
Alas! Which shall it be?
For she has said that I must choose,
Betwixt herself and thee.

Farewell, old pipe; for many years
You've been my closest friend,
And ever ready at my side
They solace sweet to lend.

No more form out thy weedy bowl,
When fades the twilight's glow,
Will visions fair and sweet arise
Or fragrant fancies flow.

No more by flick'ring candlelight
Thy spirit I'll invoke,
To build my castles in the air
With wreaths of wav'ring smoke.

And so farewell, a long farewell--
Until the wedding's o'er,
And then I'll go on smoking thee,
Just as I did before.
-Edmond Day

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Quotes About Smoking

"The nicest thing about smoking is watching the bluish haze as it drifts away. Try it in the dark, and you'll notice the difference."
-Jussuf, noted friend of Casanova to same

"Smoking is a necessity for a person engaged in study--it stimulates the intellect and revives the spirit should lassitude set in."
-Dr. Beintema, 1650

"Don't get upset, drink plenty of coffee, and smoke."
-Javier Pereira (allegedly 167 years old) on the secrets to longevity

"...if I had not smoked I should have been dead ten years ago."
-Francois Guizot (French historian), upon being asked how he lived so long despite his smoking.

"Blessed be the man who invented smoking, the soother and comforter of a troubled spirit, allayer of angry passions, a comfort under loss of breakfast, and to the roamer of desolate places, the solitary wayfarer through life, serving for wife, children, and friends."
-unknown Englishman, nineteenth century

"...So it shall be for all time. If discord has broken out between two beings, let them smoke together. United by this bond, they will live in peace and friendship thereafter."
-attributed to the Great Manitu, the Great Spirit

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Mortals say their hearts are light,
When the clouds around disperse;
Clouds to gather thick as night,
Is the smoker's universe.
-From the German of Eauernfeld
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In wreaths of smoke, blown waywardwise,
Faces of olden days uprise,
And in his dreamer's reverie
They haunt the smoker's brain, and he
Breathes for the past regretful sighs.

Mem'ries of maids with azure eyes,
In dewy dells 'neath June's soft skies,
Faces that more he'll only see
In wreaths of smoke.

Eheu, eheu! How fast tine flies--
How youth-time passion droops and dies,
And all the countless visions flee!
How worn would all those faces be,
Were they not swaithed in soft disguise
In wreaths of smoke!
-Frank Newton Holman

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