A Temperance Song


Background Notes

A Song from the Temperance Song Book of the Massachusetts Temperance Union, 1842 TUNE, “Auld Lang Syne.”

This song comes from the Temperance Song Book of the Massachusetts Temperance Union, and it is set to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne."  At this time, most reform movements and societies had their own songbooks in which they took familiar tunes such as "Auld Lang Syne" and "Yankee Doodle", and gave them new words to reflect the movements' vision. Song was very important in this time period.  People sang everywhere: church, social meetings, and at their homes.  It was a way to bring people together for common entertainment and in a common purpose.

Transcription of Primary Source

Shall e’er cold water be forgot
When we sit down to dine?
Oh no, my friends, for is it not
Pour’d out by hands divine?
Pour’d out by hands divine, my friends,
Pour’d out by hands diving;
From springs and wells it gushes forth,
Pour’d out by hands divine.

To beauty’s cheek, tho’ strange it seems,
’Tis not more strange than true,
Cold Water, tho’ itself so pale,
Imparts the rosiest hue,
Imparts the rosiest hue, my friends,
Imparts the rosiest hue,
Yes, beauty, in a water− pail,
Doth find her rosiest hue.

Cold water too, (tho’ wonderful
’Tis not less true, again)—
The weakest of all earthly drinks,
Doth make the strongest men.—
Doth make the strongest men, my friends,
Doth make the strongest men;
Then let us take that weakest drink
And grow the strongest men.

I’ve seen the bells of tulips turn,
To drink the drops that fell.
From summer clouds;—then why should not
The two lips of a belle?
The two lips of a belle, my friends,
The two lips of a belle:
What sweetens more than water pure
The two lips of a belle?

The sturdy oak full many a cup
Doth hold up to the sky,
To catch the rain; then drinks it up
And thus the oak gets high,
’Tis thus the oak gets high, my friends,
’Tis thus the oak gets high;
By having water in its cups,
Then why not you and I?

Then let cold water armies give
Their banners to the air;
So shall the boys like oaks be strong,
The girls like tulips fair;
The girls like tulips, my friends,
The girls like tulips fair.
The boys shall grow like sturdy oaks,
The girls like tulips fair.

Curator Notes

Type: Book

Exact Title: A Temperance Song
Periodical: Temperance Song Book of the Massachusetts Temperance Union
Page(s): 14-15

Year: 1842
Probable Date:


Author/Creator: J. Pierpont

Publisher: Kidder Wright
Place of Publication: Boston




Catalog Number: Old Sturbridge Village