India Tea

   This ballad, written by Meshech Weare, was published in the 22 July 1774 issue of Fowles Gazette.

   Although the tune to which these verses were set is no longer known, Frank Moore, in his book, Songs And Ballads Of The American Revolution, published in 1856, stated that this was "adapted to a sacred air", meaning it was sung as a hymn.

Rouse every generous thoughtful mind, The rising danger flee, If you would lasting freedom find, Now then abandon tea.
Scorn to be bound with golden chains, Though they allure the sight; Bid them defiance, if they claim Our freedom and birth-right.
Shall we our freedom give away, And all our comfort place In drinking of outlandish tea, Only to please our taste?
Forbid it Heaven, let us be wise, And seek our country's good; Nor ever let a thought arise, That tea should be our food.
Since we so great a plenty have, Of all that's for our health; Shall we that blasted herb receive, Impoverishing our wealth?
When we survey the breathless corpse, With putrid matter filled; For crawling worms, a sweet resort, By us reputed ill.
Noxious effluvia sending out, From its pernicious store, Not only from the foaming mouth, But every lifeless pore.
To view the same enrolled in tea, Besmeared with such perfumes, And then the herb sent o'er the sea, To us it tainted comes ~
Some of it tinctured with a filth, Of carcasses embalmed; Taste of this herb, then, if thou wilt Sure me it cannot charm.
Adieu! away, oh tea! begone! Salute our taste no more; Though thou art coveted by some Who're destined to be poor.