William Hogarth etched “Gin Lane”, in 1751, portraying the deprivations of the inebriated poor. Though this would become an enduring propaganda piece for the temperance movement, it first appeared as one of a pair of etchings. “Gin Lane” demonstrated the destruction wrought upon society by mother's ruin. Its companion, “Beer Street”, illustrated a nation made healthy (morbid obesity was considered a sign of health) by beer.
The original caption for “Gin Lane” warned:
Gin, cursed Fiend, with Fury fraught,
Makes human Race a Prey.
It enters by a deadly Draught~
And steals our Life away.
Virtue and Truth, driv'n to Despair
Its Rage compells to fly,
But cherishes with hellish Care
Theft, Murder, Perjury.
Damned Cup! that on the Vitals preys
That liquid Fire contains,
Which Madness to the heart conveys,
And rolls it thro' the Veins.
While the caption for “Beer Street” praised:
Beer, happy Produce of our IsleNot a lot to add to that ... just about says it all
Can sinewy Strength impart,
And wearied with Fatigue and Toil
Can cheer each manly Heart.
Labour and Art upheld by Thee
We quaff Thy balmy Juice with Glee
And Water leave to France.
Genius of Health, thy grateful Taste
Rivals the Cup of Jove,
And warms each English generous Breast
With Liberty and Love!