A Translation of Anstey's Ode to Jenner

A Translation of Anstey's Ode to Jenner  (1803) 
by Christopher Anstey, translated by John Ring






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"Nec longiori carmine te morer,
Mentemque curis utilioribus
Jennere, seducam,—valeto.—
Teque, tuosque, precor, labores

Deus benigno numine prosperet;
Et dum perennis gloria laureæ
Insignit heroas Britannos,
Civica te decoret Corona."




The profits of this publication will be given to the Royal Jennerian Society for the extermination of the Small-pox.

That Society has already opened fourteen Stations for gratuitous Inoculation; and also for the dissemination of Vaccine Virus, free of expense. Were it supported with greater liberality, it would render still more important services to the British Empire, and the world.

The Author is happy in this opportunity of testifying his respect for that Society; and offering his tribute of applause to the name of Jenner.



Oh! blest by Phœbus, at thy natal hour,
With happy presage of thy healing pow'r!
'Tis thine to study nature's hidden laws,
Trace all her wonders to their secret cause;
Prevent disease with thy Pæonian art,
Encounter Death, and blunt his fatal dart.

While thus I rove through Chelta's flow'ry plain,
And some faint embers of my youth remain,

Shall not the muse her tuneful accents raise,
And wake her slumb'ring lyre to sing thy praise?

Here, plung'd in grief, and pensive, and forlorn,
The long-lost objects of my love I mourn;
My dear associates, ravish'd from my breast
By the foul venom of that baneful pest;
While many a blemish cover'd ev'ry face,
Robb'd ev'ry charm, and rifl'd ev'ry grace.

When the dire fiend, which thus, in early bloom,
His victims hurl'd untimely to the tomb,
In all his horrors rises to my view,
How shall I tell what thanks to Heav'n are due?
And due to thee, whose godlike arm repress'd
The lawless rage of that malignant pest;

To thee, whose genius, and well-cultur'd mind,
Found out a healing balm for human kind?

Thy skilful hand inserts with wondrous art
The crystal drop the lowing kine impart,
To quell the fiend, his kindling wrath to tame,
And flow meand'ring through the vital frame.
Ere long a pustule, rising in the wound,
Repels the foe, that lurks in ambush round
With all his host; and from our fleeting breath
Averts the perils of impending death.

What thanks shall British gratitude decree,
What thanks, what honours, what rewards to thee?
What annual off'rings at thy hallow'd shrine,
O Jenner! equal to desert like thine?

For lo! Machaon is thy frequent guest,
Pleas'd with thy converse, with thy friendship blest:
The poor, the rich, consult without a fee
The sacred oracle of health in thee.

The mother sues thee, fill'd with just alarms,
To shield her boy, and to protect his charms;
The virgin sues, lest blemishes invade
Her lovely cheeks, and all her beauties fade.
The Gaul himself, though envious of our name,
Adores thy art, and celebrates thy fame;
The grateful nations one loud pæan raise,
And all the wond'ring world resounds thy praise.

But what, alas! avails the blooming boy,
His father's pride, his mother's only joy,—

The lovely virgin, or the well-earn'd fame,
And all the glories of the British name,—
If Heav'n has doom'd the downfal of the state,
And thy protection but retards our fate?
If France pursues her infamous career,
To spread the pest of her dominion here;
And if the blood of innocence must flow,
To grace the triumphs of a Gallic foe?

And now, assembling his unnumber'd host,
He threatens vengeance to the British coast;
Launches his navy, deck'd in all the pride
And pomp of war, and ploughs the foaming tide.
How vain the frantic enterprise! how vain
His hope to seize the Sceptre of the Main!

A sceptre guarded by the pow'rs above,
Guarded by honour, loyalty, and love!
By the kind Sov'reign willing realms obey,
By Cæsar's gentle and paternal sway!

Let him embark, and quit the Gallic sands
With all his barb'rous and ferocious bands;
With all his abject and submissive slaves,–
The sport of war, of whirlwinds, and of waves.
Ev'n now I hear the dreadful cannons roar,
And bursting bombs resound from shore to shore;
I see the combat,–ocean stain'd with blood,
And vanquish'd Gauls beneath the whelming flood.
I see their leaders shrink with sudden dread
Amid their crimes, and mingle with the dead;

Sent to salute their brethren,—sent to tell
Their great exploits, and give new laws to hell.

I see the Spaniards, once erect and vain,
Humbled in pride, and prostrate on the plain;
I see the corses of Batavians lie
A prey to ev'ry bird that wings the sky.
I see th’Italians, an unmanly brood,
With strength exhausted, floating on the flood:
No friendly dolphin wafts them o'er the main,
They sing, alas! their own funereal strain.

No more, my muse, anticipate the woes,
Nor paint the suff'rings of our falling foes:
Not from revenge this mournful war they wage,
But mad ambition, and the Consul's rage.

Jenner, farewel!—nor shall the bard detain
From nobler studies by too long a strain,
Nor from its object alienate a mind
Intent on labours useful to mankind.

May Heav'n, to whom my suppliant voice I raise,
Prosper thy labours, and prolong thy days!
While deathless heroes, who maintain our fame,
And add new glories to the British name,
Around their brows unfading laurels twine,
The Civic Crown, O Jenner! shall be thine.



The following Tables contain a concise account of Vaccine Inoculation; but it may be useful to prefix a few remarks.

The pustule must be carefully defended from tight sleeves; and from every other kind of pressure and friction.

Matter must be taken with great caution; otherwise ulceration of the arm, and cutaneous eruptions, will often ensue.

Fluid matter is preferable to dry; but those inoculators who have not a constant succession of patients, and cannot readily procure a fresh supply of matter, should preserve it on vaccinators for future occasions. In this manner, when kept in a cool place, it may be preserved several months.

When it is intended to be sent a distant place, or to be kept long, the vaccinators should be charged several times.

Matter must not be dried before the fire.

When suffered to dry on a lancet, it should not be kept above two or three days.

When dry matter is used, it should not be moistened previous to insertion; but the longer it has been kept, the longer the point of the instrument ought to remain under the cuticle, that it may have time to dissolve.

When fluid matter is used, the lancet should be washed in cold water, and wiped dry, after every puncture.

One pustule is a security from the future infection of the small-pox; but when the patient resides at a distance, or is in danger of catching the small-pox, it is proper to inoculate in both arms.

Those who have been exposed to the infection of the small-pox, ought to be inoculated with the cow-pock; which seldom fails to supersede, or mitigate, the small-pox.

A spurious pustule is more elevated and opake than the genuine; and more rapid in its progress. It is not surrounded with a distinct, circumscribed areola; nor converted into a dark shining scab.

Spurious pustules often occur, in those who are vaccinated after having the small-pox: they may also be produced in those who have not had the small-pox, by blunt or rusty lancets, by matter taken from a spurious pustule, or from a genuine pustule at too late a period; or by that which has been kept too long, or dried before the fire.

When there is any doubt of success, the patient should be inoculated again.

The superiority of Vaccine Inoculation being now fully ascertained, those who still continue to inoculate for the small-pox, and to disseminate that dreadful contagion, ought to be looked on as the pests of society; and to be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law.


Printed by S. Gosnell., Little Queen Street, Holborn.

I. The natural Small-pox is a loathsome, infectious, painful, and fatal disease. It is confined to no climate; but rages in every quarter of the world, and destroys a tenth part of mankind.

II. Those who survive the ravages of that dreadful distemper, often survive only to be the victims of other maladies; or to drag out a miserable existence worse than death.

III. This cruel and lamentable disorder leaves behind it pits, scars, and other blemishes; and bodily deformities which embitter life.

I. The inoculated Small-pox also is loathsome, infectious, painful, and sometimes fatal; and, when partially adopted, spreads the contagion, and increases the mortality of the disease.

II. It sometimes occasions the same maladies as the natural Small-pox.

III. It frequently leaves behind it the same blemishes and deformities as the natural Small-pox; which are the more deplorable as they were brought on by a voluntary aet.

I. The inoculated Cow-pock scarcely deserves the name of a disease. It is not infectious, and in the opinion of the most experienced practitioners, has never proved fatal.

II. It occasions no other disease. On the contrary, it has often been known to improve health; and to remedy those diseases under which the patient before laboured.

III. It leaves behind no blemish, but a blessing;—one of the greatest: ever bestowed on man,—a perfect security against the future infection of the Small-pox.

From this faithful statement of the advantages attending Vaccine Inoculation, it must appear evident
to every unprejudiced person, that it is the duty as well as the interest of every parent, of every
individual, and of every nation, to adopt the practice; and to hasten

The Vaccine Fluid may be taken at any period, from the first appearance of the vesicle, till the areola begins to form, by small punetures; allowing it time to flow; or promoting the discharge by gentle pressure with the lancet.

It is to be inserted, by a superficial puncture, into the middle of the arm, between the shoulder and the elbow; or, when the arm is likely to be much used, into the inside of the leg.

It may be preserved, and conveyed, on the point of a Vaccinator; that is, a bit of ivory, shaped like the tooth of a comb, and pointed like a lancet. This may be wrapped in paper; or a number of them may be inclosed in a quill, to be stopped with while wax. When they are used, a puncture is to be made with a lancet, then the point of the Vaccinator is to be held in the puncture some time; and afterwards repeatedly wiped on the part.

On the third day, the day of inoculation being reckoned the first, a red spot commonly appears; and on the fourth or fifth a vesicle of a light pink, sometimes with a bluish tint; gradually changing colour. The margin is elevated, the centre depressed, the contents limpid. It increases till the tenth day.

About the ninth, the inflammation surrounding the base spreads rapidly, and forms a circumscribed areola; which, in a day or two, begins to fade. When this is fully formed, the vesicle declines. It turns brown in the centre; and is gradually converted into a hard smooth shining scab, of a dark mahogany colour, approaching to black; which falls off about the end of the third week, leaving a scar.

Sometimes the patient is drowsy as early as the second or third day. Febrile symptoms often appear, especially on the eighth; but they are generally slight and transient. In many cases there is no constitutional indisposition, in a few there is no areola; yet the patient is perfectly secure from the future infection of the small-pox, provided the progress of the vesicle has been regular and complete.

No preparation is necessary before the Cow-pock, no cathartic after; nor, in general, any medicine during the whole process. But if indisposition of any kind occurs, it may be treated in the same manner as if the patient were not under vaccination.

Should inflammation become extensive, it may be cheeked by the frequent application of a compress dipped in cold water; or in a solution of Cerussa Acetata.

Should ulceration take place, a cool poultice may be advisable; to be continued til the sore is almost healed; when any mild adhesive plaster may be substituted. In slight cases, the plaster alone may be sufficient; but it seldom happens, that any application is necessary.




At the Annual General Court, held at the Central House, No. 14, Salisbury Square,

On Wednesday the 7th Day of March 1804,

His Grace the Duke of BEDFORD, President, in the Chair,



The Report of the Board of Directors and Medical Council of the Royal
Jennerian Society for the Extermination of the Small-Pox.

A twelvemonth has now elapsed since the first institution of this Society, and the consequent appointment of your Board of Directors and Medical Council; and, upon a retrospective view of what has been accomplished during that period, we may presume to congratulate the Society and the Public upon the progress which has been actually made.

A Central House and Thirteen Stations, conveniently dispersed over this large metropolis, have been put into action. The number inoculated under the auspices of this Society during that twelvemonth, for a considerable period of which no extent of inoculation was practicable, amounts to 5987; and from the Central House alone 6134 charges of matter, to 2214 different persons, have been supplied and distributed to almost every part of the empire and of the world.

In effecting these objects, in purchasing the lease of and fitting up a commodious house, in surmounting various obstacles, and in almost every form, we have unavoidably incurred a considerable expense; but we trust a foundation has now been laid, which affords a reasonable hope of gradually accomplishing the great object for which we associated, the progressive Extermination of the Small-pox; and we may confidently state that the future average of annual expenditure will not from every source exceed One Thousand Pounds.

Thus far our statement may be deemed flattering; but we are reluctantly called upon to contemplate the reverse of the picture, and to confess our disappointment that the liberality of the Public has not kept pace with the exertions and exigences of the Society. The whole amount of Subscriptions and Donations received is only £3579 16s. and the heavy articles of expense before enumerated, amounting to £1966, have left a balance in favour of the Society of an investment of £1000 Stock in the Three per Cent. Consols, and of £940 Cash in the hands of the Trustees; against which several claims remain outstanding, which will, however, be diminished by some subscriptions not yet collected.

Under this view of the situation of our finances, it would be useless to conceal or palliate the danger to which this Institution is exposed. After having effected much, it would be peculiarly painful that, from the deficiency of funds, the time and exertions of your Board of Directors and Medical Council should have been sacrificed in vain; and we most seriously and earnestly recommend to the General Court to adopt some prompt and vigorous measures to awaken the slumbering philanthropy of the Public, and to endeavour to kindle that glow of patriotic benevolence, which would excite every man, alive to the honour and prosperity of his country, and interested in the health and security of his relatives and friends, to contribute his mite towards the support of a cause, which affects no single class or order in the state, but, either directly or indirectly, in his own person, or that of his family, involves the comfort and safety of every individual of every condition in the British Empire.

By Order of the Board of Directors,


Upon the reading of the said Report, it was, upon the motion of William Wilberforce, Esq. seconded by John Julius Angerstein, Esq.

Resolved, That, in consideration of the great and unavoidable expense to which this Society is subject, and the present state of its finances, it is highly expedient to extend the plan of an Annual Subscription for its support.

Resolved, That Books for that purpose be now opened; and that each of the Life Governors be solicited for a moderate Annual Subscription, together with the exertion of their influence among others in support of the Society.


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Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.