Drink is the railroad to hell. See also 'Railway to Hell'
The Line begins in a brewery and runs through all the Public Houses, Dram Shops and Jerry Shops, in a zigzag direction until it land in the Kingdom of Hell.
If you are determined and wishful to go
With blind debauchees to the regions of woe
Then go to the Tap without any delay [note 1]
And drink both your reason and money away
But never mind care for if you despair
It is the first Train that will carry you there.
You have nothing to do but to guzzle and swill
As long as the landlord is willing to fill
For this is the line and the railroad to hell
Where drunkards and devils forever must dwell
So drink all you can it is the chief plan
That ever was invented by devil for man.
This railroad it runs through parlours and snugs [note 2]
And there you can sit around glasses and jugs
And have what you please such as gin, ale or rum
To pleas an old friend or an old drunken chum.
And this is the way to drink all the day
And then stagger home when you've swallowed your pay
Such taverns as these are the railroads to hell
Their barrels are engines which make men rebel
Their jugs and glasses which furnish the trains
Will empty you pockets and muddle your brains
And thus drunkards ride to hell in their pride
With nothing but steam from the barrels inside.
We've railroads to heaven and railroads to hell
Where good men can ride and where devils can dwell
Taverns for drunkards and churches for saints?
And quacks of all sorts for to heal your complaints
So now we can ride to hell in our pride
On railroads of sin with blue devils beside [note 3]
Old Swiltub the Doctor and Guard of the Rains
He filches you pockets and fuddles your brains
But when he's got all form the poor silly man,
He then sends him home to do as he can,
With all his old chums, his badgers and bums, [note 4]
Who sue him for money he owes in great sums.
But let us not ride in the railroad to sin
Nor drink either brandy, ale, whisky, or Gin
And then we shall into heaven with joy
Where no drunken quacks can our victuals destroy
With poisonous drugs sold to use in jugs
In either their bars, their parlours, or Snugs.
The number of vaults that we have in this town
Has robbed the poor lass of her bonnet and gown
Her topnots and feathers have gone to the pop
And many have lost both their credit and shop
Both young men and maids of very good trades
Have drunk all they earned and gone to the shades.
We've plenty of signs of Horses and Bulls
Of Lions and Dragons to serve drunken trulls
We've sign of Angels and Warriors and Kings
Yes plenty of signs both of good and bad things
But what's their design, why gin rum and wine
Sold her to intoxicate puppies and swine
There's White and Black Bulls, two Suns in a street
One Swan and two Lions that never taste meat.
And here you see women with bottles and jugs
Roll into these taverns and dram-drinking snugs
As brazen as brass to get an odd glass
In some of those shops where a fool cannot pass.
No wonder that Po-ticket women and Wags
Are drest up in nothing but patches and rags
Their dresses and shawls for strong liquor they'll swap.
Yes tagrag and bobtail must go to the Pop
And when this is done, away they will run
To either a Lion a Bull or a Sun.
Such poor silly women who pledge their old rags
Are known by their petticoats hanging in jags
You'll see them at night with their heads wrapped in shawls
Not far from the dram shop or sign of three balls
With their bonnets and hats old dresses and brats
Made up into bundles, as you may have seen Pat's
Notes on the Song and Its Historical Context: