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The Hair-Tonic Bottle
Benjamin Franklin King


How dear to my heart is the old village drugstore,
  When tired and thirsty it comes to my view.
The wide-spreading sign that asks you to "Try it,"
  Vim, Vaseline, Vermifuge, Hop Bitters, too.
The rusty old stove and the cuspidor by it,
  That little back room. Oh! you've been there yourself,
And ofttimes have gone for the doctor's prescription,
  But tackled the bottle that stood on the shelf.
    The friendly old bottle,
    The plain-labeled bottle,
The "Hair-Tonic" bottle that stood on the shelf.

How oft have I seized it with hands that were glowing,
  And guzzled awhile ere I set off for home;
I owned the whole earth all that night, but next morning
  My head felt as big as the Capitol's dome.
And then how I hurried away to receive it,
  The druggist would smile o'er his poisonous pelf,
And laugh as he poured out his unlicensed bitters,
  And filled up the bottle that stood on the shelf.
    The unlicensed bottle,
    The plain-labeled bottle,
That "Hair-Tonic" bottle that stood on the shelf.

This poem is in the public domain.



Benjamin Franklin King (1857 - 1894) was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, and first garnered fame as a sort of American Mozart. A child prodigy who delighted audiences with his prowess at the piano, Benjamin eventually applied his talent for humor and satire to writing poetry. His work was frequently published in leading newspapers and journals of his day, and after his death, which occurred while he was on a reading tour, the Chicago Press Club put together a collection of his poems and had it published. The book was a bestseller for many years.


Post New Comment:
Ho ho. Funny surprise.
Posted 03/14/2019 12:28 PM
Ho, Ho, I never heard of him and I too hailed from St Joseph Michigan, well I had my photography business there. It is a funny and jolly poem.
Posted 03/13/2019 09:31 AM
Snake oil!
Posted 03/13/2019 08:49 AM
Love it!!!
Posted 03/13/2019 08:40 AM

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