Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)

The Temperance Army

Though you see no banded army,
Though you hear no cannons rattle,
We are in a mighty contest,
We are fighting a great battle.
We are few, but we are right:
And we wage the holy fight,
Night and day, and day and night.

If we do not fail or falter,
If we do not sleep or slumber,
We shall win in this great contest,
Though the foe is twice our number.
This the burden of our song,
'We are few, but we are strong,
And right must triumph over wrong.'

O my sisters! O my brothers!
There is death all round about us.
Must we, then, sit down discouraged?
Will you let the wine-cup rout us?
Hear the drunkard's awful wail!
See the mourners, bowed and pale!
Will you, coward, then say 'fail'?

Say not that your heart is with us
When you do not help or aid us.
All who love the cause sincerely
Can do something: God has made us
Tongues to talk with: you can say
Something, if you will, each day,
That will help us on our way,

Though you are not highly gifted,
Though you are not bard or poet,
Though you cannot preach or lecture,
You can love the cause, and show it
Boldly, in each thing you do.
Seeking all that's pure and true,
This will be a help from you.

You can say the liquor traffic
Is a curse to any nation;
You can say that prohibition
Is a blessing and salvation.
You can sow good seeds, and, though
You may never see them grow,
They will not be lost, I know.

In this mighty temperance contest,
Where no guns or cannons rattle,
Though you cannot lead the army
Or be chieftain of the battle,
With that mighty sword, the tongue,
You can fight against the wrong,
You can sing some temperance song.

Say not that you cannot aid us!
Drops of water make the river-
Make the mighty Mississippi,
That flows on hand on for ever.
Every word you say for Right
Gives us courage, gives us might,
And brings nearer, morn and night.

Font size:

Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:47 min read

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American author and poet. more…

All Ella Wheeler Wilcox poems | Ella Wheeler Wilcox Books

FAVORITE (1 fan)

Discuss this Ella Wheeler Wilcox poem with the community:



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "The Temperance Army" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Oct. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/10910/the-temperance-army>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    More poems by

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox


    Browse Poetry.com


    Are you a poetry master?

    "It's neither red nor sweet. It doesn't melt or turn over, break or harden, so it can't feel pain."
    • A. Anne Sexton
    • B. Billy Collins
    • C. Rita Dove
    • D. Marianne Moore

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets