One in a Thousand.
Vanity Fair (UK), June 23, 1904
In every thousand cigarettes
Is one designed by magic,
And he who smokes that one forgets
If life is tame or tragic;
There’s such a subtle spell within it
It makes him happy in a minute.
First, as the smoke rings waver up,
He drinks their mystic power,
And finds new rapture in the cup—
The voice of earth sinks lower—
And next, he spurns Time’s gloomy portal
And soars—a rainbow clad Immortal.
Earth beckons him with laurel crown,
He cannot stoop to grasp it.
His body’s light as thistledown,
His soul—no sky can clasp it.
A crown oft melts into a fetter,
He’s found a key to something better.
But, as the key turns in the lock
The voice of earth grows stronger,
He feels a disconcerting shock,
Smoke ringlets rise no longer;
Downward his grieving spirit flashes—
The cigarette’s reduced to ashes.