The Dispensary (7th ed)/Canto 2

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SOON as the Ev'ning veil'd the Mountains Heads,
And Winds lay hush'd in subterranean Beds;
Whilst sick'ning Flow'rs drink up the Silver Dew,
And Beaus, for some Assembly, dress anew;
The City Saints to Pray'rs and Play-house haste;
The Rich to Dinner, and the Poor to Rest:
Officious Phantom then prepar'd with Care
To slide on tender Pinions through the Air.
Oft he attempts the Summit of a Rock,
And oft the Hollow of some blasted Oak;
At length approaching where bleak Envy lay,
The hissing of her Snakes proclaim'd the way.

Beneath the gloomy Covert of an Yew,
That taints the Grass with sickly Sweats of Dew;
No verdant Beauty entertains the Sight,
But baneful Hemlock, and cold Aconite;

In a dark Grott the baleful Haggard lay,
Breathing black Vengeance, and infecting Day.
But how deform'd, and worn with spightful Woes,
When Accius has Applause Dorsennus shows.
The cheerful Blood her meager Cheeks forsook,
And Balilisks sate Brooding in her Look.
A bald and bloated Toad-stool rais'd her Head;
The Plumes of boding Ravens were her Bed.
From her chapp'd Nostrils scalding Torrents fall,
And her sunk Eyes boil o'er in Floods of Gall.
Volcano's labour thus with inward Pains,
Whilst Seas of melted Oar lay waste the Plains.

Around the Fiend in hideous Order sate
Foul bawling Infamy, and bold Debate:
Gruff Discontent, thro' Ignorance mis-led,
And clam'rous Faction at her Party's Head:
Restless Sedition still dissembling Fear,
And sly Hypocrisie with Pious Leer.[1]

Glouting with sullen Spight the Fury shook
Her clotter'd Locks, and blasted with each Look,
Then tore with canker'd Teeth the pregnant Scrolls,
Where Fame the Acts of Demy-Gods enrolls,
And as the rent Records in pieces fell,
Each Scrap did some Immortal Action tell.

This show'd; how fix'd as Fate Torquatus stood,
That, the fam'd Passage of the Granick Flood;
The Julian Eagles, here, their Wings display,
And there, like setting Stars, the Decii lay;
This does Camillas as a God extol,
That points at Manlius in the Capitol;

How Cochles did the Tyber's Surges brave,
How Curtius plung'd into the gaping Grave;
Great Cyrus, here, the Medes and Persians join,
And, there, th' immortal Battle of the Boyn.

As the light Messenger the Fury spy'd,
A while his crudling Blood forgot to glide;
Confusion on his fainting Vitals hung,
And falt'ring Accents flutter'd on his Tongue,
At length, assuming Courage, he convey'd
His Errand, then he shrunk into a Shade.

The Hag lay long revolving what might be
The blest Event of such an Embassie.
Then blazons in dread Smiles her hideous Form,
So Light'ning gilds the unrelenting Storm.
Thus she———Mankind are bless'd, they riot still
Unbounded in Exorbitance of Ill
By Devastation the rough Warrior gains,
And Farmers fatten most when Famine reigns;
For sickly Seasons the Physicians wait,
And Politicians thrive in Broils of State.
The Lover's easie when the Fair One sighs,
And Gods subsist not but by Sacrifice.

Each other Being some Indulgence knows;
Few are my Joys, but infinite my Woes.
My present Pain Britannia's Genius wills,
And thus the Fates record my future Ills.

A Heroine shall Albion's Scepter bear,
With Arms shall vanquish Earth, and Heav'n with Pray'r.

She on the World her Clemency shall show'r
And only to preserve, exert her Pow'r.
Tyrants shall then their impious Aims forbear,
And Blenheim's Thunder, more than [2]Ætna's, fear.

Since by no Arts I therefore can defeat
The happy Enterprizes of the Great,
I'll calmly stoop to more inferior Things;
And try if my lov'd Snakes have Teeth or Stings.

She said: and strait shrill Colon's Person took,
In Morals loose, but most precise in Look.
Black-Fryars Annals lately pleas'd to call
Him Warden of Apothecaries-Hall.
And, when so dignify'd, did not forbear
That Operation which the Learn'd declare
Gives Cholicks ease, and makes the Ladies fair.
In trifling Show his Tinsel Talent lies,
And Form the want of Intellects supplies.
In Aspect grand and goodly He appears,
Rever'd as Patriarchs in primæval Years.
Hourly his Learn'd Impertinence affords
A barren Superfluity of Words.
The Patient's Ears remorseless he assails,
Murthers with Jargon where his Med'cine fails.

The Fury thus assuming Colon's Grace,
So flung her Arms, so shuffl'd in her Pace.
Onward she hastens to the fam'd Abodes,
Where Horoscope invokes th'infernal Gods;

And reach'd the Mansion where the Vulgar run,
For Ruin throng, and pay to be undone.

This Visionarie various Projects tries,
And knows that to be Rich is to be Wise.
By useful Observations he can tell
The sacred Charms, that in true Sterling dwell.
How Gold makes a Patrician of a Slave,
A Dwarf an Atlas, a Thersites brave.
It cancels all Defects, and in their Place
Finds Sense in Br——, Charms in Lady G——
It guides the Fancy and directs the Mind;
No Bankrupt ever found a Fair One kind.

So truly Horoscope its Virtue knows,
To this lov'd Idol 'tis, alone, he bows;
And fancies such bright Heraldry can prove,
The vile Plebeian but the third from Jove.

Long has he been of that amphibious Fry,
Bold to Prescribe, and busie to Apply.
His Shop the gazing Vulgar's Eyes employs
With Foreign Trinkets, and Domestick Toys.

Here, Mummies lay most reverendly stale,
And there, the Tortois hung her Coat o'Mail;
Not far from some hugh Shark's devouring Head
The flying Fish their finny Pinions spread.
Aloft in Rows large Poppy Heads were strung,
And near, a scaly Alligator hung,
In this place, Drugs in musty Heaps decay'd,
In that, dry'd Bladders, and drawn Teeth were laid.

An inner Room receives the num'rous Shoals,
Of such as pay to be reputed Fools.
Globes stand by Globes, Volumes on Volumes lye,
And Planetary Schemes amuse the Eye.
The Sage, in Velvet Chair, here lolls at Ease,
To promise future Health for present Fees.
Then, as from Tripod solemn Shams reveals,
And what the Stars know nothing of, foretels.

One asks how soon Panthea may be won,
And longs to feel the Marriage Fetters on.
Others, convinc'd by melancholy Proof,
Enquire when courteous Fates will strike 'em off.

Some, by what means they may redress the Wrong,
When Fathers the Possession keep too long.
And some would know the Issue of their Cause,
And whether Gold can folder up its Flaws.
Poor pregnant Lais his Advice would have,
To lose by Art what fruitful Nature gave:
And Portia old in Expectation grown,
Laments her barren Curse and begs a Son.
Whilst Iris, his Cosmetick Wash would try,
To make her Bloom revive, and Lovers die.
Some ask for Charms, and others Philters chuse,
To gain Corinna, and their Quartans lose.
Young Hylas, botch'd with Stains too foul to name,
In Cradle here renews his Youthful Frame:
Cloy'd with Desire, and surfeited with Charms,
A Hot-House he prefers to Julia's Arms.
And old Lucullus wou'd th' Arcanum prove,
Of kindling in cold Veins the Sparks of Love.

Bleak Envy these dull Frauds with Pleasure sees,
And wonders at the senseless Mysteries.
In Colon's Voice she thus calls out aloud
On Horoscope environ'd by the Crowd.

Forbear, forbear, thy vain Amusements cease,
Thy Wood-Cocks from their Gins a while release;
And to that dire Misfortune listen well,
Which thou shoud'st fear to know, or I to tell.
'Tis true thou ever wast esteem'd by me
The great Alcides of our Company.
When we with Noble Scorn resolv'd to ease
Our selves from all Parochial Offices;
And to our Wealthier Patients left the Care,
And draggl'd Dignity of Scavenger:
Such Zeal in that Affair thou didst express,
Nought cou'd be equal, but the great Success.
Now call to mind thy Gen'rous Prowess past,
Be what thou shou'dst, by thinking what thou wast.
The Faculty of Warwick-Lane Design,
If not to Storm, at least to Undermine:
Their Gates each day Ten thousand Night-caps crowd,
And Mortars utter their Attempts aloud.
If they should once unmask our Mystery,
Each Nurse, ere long, wou'd be as learn'd as We;
Our Art expos'd to ev'ry Vulgar Eye,
And none, in Complaisance to us, would dye.
What if We claim their Right t'Assassinate,
Must they needs turn Apothecaries strait?
Prevent it, Gods! all Stratagems we try
To crowd with new Inhabitants your Sky.

'Tis we who wait the Destinies Command
To purge the troubled Air, and weed the Land.
And dare the College insolently aim
To equal our Fraternity in Fame?
Then let Crabs Eyes with Pearl for Virtue try,
Or Highgate Hill with lofty Pindus vie.
So Glow-worms may compare with Titan's Beams,
And Hare-Court Pump with Aganippe's Streams.

Our Manufactures now they meanly fell,
And their true Value treacherously tell:
Nay, They discover too, (their spight is such,)
That Health, than Crowns more valu'd, costs not much
Whilst we must steer our Conduct by these Rules,
To cheat as Tradesmen or to starve as Fools

At this fam'd Horoscope turn'd pale, and straight
In Silence tumbled from his Chair of State.
The Crowd in great Confusion fought the Door,
And left the Magus fainting on the Floor.
Whilst in his Breast the Fury breath'd a Storm,
Then sought her Cell, and reassum'd her Form.
Thus from the Sore altho' the Insect flies,
It leaves a Brood of Maggots in Disguise.

Officious Squirt in haste forsook the Shop,
To succour the expiring Horoscope.
Oft he essay'd the Magus to restore,
By Salt of Succinum's prevailing Pow'r;
Yet still supine the solid Lumber lay
An Image of scarce animated Clay;

'Till Fates, indulgent when Disasters call,
By Squirt's nice Hand apply'd a Urinal;
The Wight no sooner did the Steam receive,
But rous'd, and blefs'd the stale Restorative.
The Springs of Life their former Vigour feel.
Such Zeal he had for that vile Utensil.

So when the Great Pelides, Thetis found,
He knew the Sea-weed Scent, and th'Azure Goddess own'd.

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  1. See Dryd. Fab.
  2. In Ætna were forg'd the Thunder-bolts which Jove employ'd against the Ambition of the Giants.