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Tobacco is an Indian weed,
Grows green at morn, is cut down at eve;
It shows our decay;
We fade as hay.
Think on this,-when you smoke tobacco.

The pipe that is so lily-white,
Wherein so many take delight,
Gone with a touch;
Man's life is such,
Think on this,- when you smoke tobacco.

The pipe that is so foul within,
Shews how the soul is stained with sin;
It doth require
The purging fire.
Think on this,-when you smoke tobacco.

The ashes that are left behind,
Do serve to put us all in mind,
That unto dust,
Return we must.
Think on this,-when you smoke tobacco.

The smoke that doth so high ascend,
Shows that our life must have an end;
The vapours' gone,
Man's life is done.
Think on this,-when you smoke tobacco.

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Source: Songs of the West S. Baring-Gould.

Baring Gould notes:
This old and famous song was written, it is thought, by George Withers, as Mr Collier found a copy of it in MS. of the date of James I, with his initials to it. It is found in "Merry Drollery Complete," 1670, and on a Broadside dated 1672. We give the tune to which it is sung around Dartmoor and in Cornwall; this is entirely distinct from that sung elsewhere, as in printed by Chapell, ii p.564, which is the air given by D'Urfey in his "Pills to Purge Melancholy,"
A Somerset version was sung at the Folk-Song Competition at Frome, 1904. Snatches of the song are given in "Handy Andy," so that we may assume that it is also well known among the Irish peasantry; another instance of the way in which English songs have travelled into Ireland.
We took down our tune from John Potter, Merripit, Postbridge, and from Anne Roberts, Scobbetor, and H. Westaway, Belstone; also one obtained from an old man at Newton Abbot, sent to me.
In the original ballad, reprinted in Bell's "Songs and Ballads of the English Peasantry," there are many more stanzas than we can give here.

Roud: 1457 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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