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Other Scottish Poetry
A Drunkard's Dream
John Andrew Howell


Tom Gray lay down on the bar room floor
having drunk so much he could drink no more.
So he fell asleep with a troubled brain
to dream as he rode the Hell Bound Train.

The engine with blood was red and damp
and brilliantly lit with a brimstone lamp.
An Imp for coal was shoveling bones
while the furnace rang with endless groans.
The boiler was filled with Lager and beer
and the devil himself was the engineer.

The passengers made a motley crew.
church member, atheist, gentile and jew.
Rich men in broadcloth, beggars in rags
handsome young ladies and withered old hags.
Yellow men, black men, red, brown and white
and chained together, a horrible sight.
While rained dashed on at an awful pace
and a hot wind wind scorced their hands and face.

Wilder and wilder the country grew
as faster and faster the engine flew.
Louder and louder the thunder crashed
brighter and brighter the lightening flashed.
Hotter and hotter the air became
till the clothes were burnt from each quiverering frame.
And in the distance there raised a yell:
"HA-HA" croaked the devil, we're heading for hell!!

Then, oh!! howthe passengers shrieked with pain
and begged the devil to stop the train.
But he capered about and sang with gleee,
and laughed and joke at their agony.

"My faithful friends, you have done my work
and the devil can never a pay day shirk"
You have bullied the weak, you have robbed the poor,
and the starving brother, you turned from the door.

You have laid up gold where the canker rusts
and gave free vent to your fleshly lusts.
You have justice scourned and corruption sown
so the devil himself must claim his own.

You have drunk and rioted, murdered and lied
and mocked at God in your hell-born pride.
You have paid full fares so I will carry you through
for it is only right you get your just due.

The laborer always expects his hire,
so I will land you safe in my lake of fire.
Where your flesh shall roast in the flames that roar
and my imps torment you for evermore."

When Tom awoke with an awful cry
his clothes were soaked and his hair on high.
He prayed as he never prayed until that hour,
to be saved from the drink and the devil's power.
And his vows and prayers were not made in vain,
for he disembarked from that "That Hell-Bound Train."


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