Edifying Thoughts of a Tobacco Smoker
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) - 1725 , from: The Second Little Clavier Book For Anna Magdalena Bach.Whene'er I take my pipe and stuff it And smoke to pass the time away My thoughts, as I sit there and puff it, Dwell on a picture sad and grey: It teaches me that very like Am I myself unto my pipe. Like me this pipe, so fragrant burning, Is made of naught but earthen clay; To earth I too shall be returning, And cannot halt my slow decay. My well used pipe, now cracked and broken, Of mortal life is but a token. No stain, the pipe's hue yet doth darken; It remains white. Thus do I know That when to death's call I must harken My body, too, all pale will grow. To black beneath the sod 'twill turn, Likewise the pipe, if oft it burn. Or when the pipe is fairly glowing, Behold then instantaneously, The smoke off into thin air going, 'Til naught but ash is left to see. Man's fame likewise away will burn And unto dust his body turn. How oft it happens when one's smoking, The tamper's missing from it's shelf, And one goes with one's finger poking Into the bowl and burns oneself. If in the pipe such pain doth dwell How hot must be the pains of Hell! Thus o'er my pipe in contemplation Of such things - I can constantly Indulge in fruitful meditation, And so, puffing contentedly, On land, at sea, at home, abroad, I smoke my pipe and worship God.