The Dispensary (7th ed)/Canto 4

Dispensary - Canto 4 plate.jpg


Dispensary - Fleuron 3.jpg




NOT far from that frequented Theater,
Where wand'ring Punks each Night at Five repair;
Where Purple Emperors in Buskins tread,
And rule imaginary Worlds for Bread;
Where Bently, by Old Writers, wealthy grew,
And Briscoe lately was undone by New:
There triumphs a Physician of Renown,
To none, but such as rust in Health, unknown.
None e'er was plac'd more fitly to impart
His known Experience, and his healing Art.
When Bur———ss deafens all the list'ning Press
With Peals of most Seraphick Emptiness;
Or when Mysterious F———n mounts on high,
To preach his Parish to a Lethargy:
This Æsculapius waits hard by, to ease
The Martyrs of such Christian Cruelties.

Long has this darling Quarter of the Town,
For Lewdness, Wit, and Gallantry been known.
All Sorts meet here, of whatsoe'er Degree,
To blend and justle into Harmony.
The Criticks each advent'rous Author scan,
And praise or censure as They like the Man.
The Weeds of Writings for the Flowers They cull;
So nicely Tafteless, so correctly Dull!
The Politicians of Parnassus prate,
And Poets canvass the Affairs of State;
The Cits ne'er talk of Trade and Stock, but tell
How Virgil writ, how bravely Turnus fell.
The Country-Dames drive to Hippolito's,
First find a Spark, and after lose a Nose,
The Lawyer for Lac'd Coat the Robe does quit,
He grows a Mad-man, and then turns a Wit,
And in the Cloister pensive Strephon waits,
'Till Chloe's Hackney comes, and then retreats;
And if th'ungenerous Nymph a Shaft lets fly
More fatally than from a sparkling Eye,
Mirmillo, that fam'd Opifer, is nigh.

The trading Tribe oft thither throng to Dine,
And want of Elbow-room supply in Wine.
Cloy'd with Variety they surfeit there,
Whilst the wan Patients on thin Gruel fare.
'Twas here the Champions of the Party met,
Of their Heroick Enterprize to treat.
Each Heroe a tremendous Air put on,
And stern Mirmillo in these Words begun:

'Tis with Concern, my Friends, I meet you here;
No Grievance you can know, but I must share.
'Tis plain my Int'rest you've advanc'd so long,
Each Fee, tho' I was mute wou'd find a Tongue.
And in return, tho' I have strove to rend
Those Statutes which on Oath I should defend;
Such Arts are Trifles to a gen'rous Mind,
Great Services as great Returns shou'd find.
And you'll perceive, this Hand, when Glory calls,
Can brandish Arms as well as Urinals.

Oxford and all her passing Bells can tell,
By this Right Arm, what mighty Numbers fell.
Whilst others meanly ask'd whole Months to slay,
I oft dispatch'd the Patient in a Day:
With Pen in Hand I push'd to that degree,
I scarce had left a Wretch to give a Fee.
Some fell by Laudanum and some by Steel,
And Death in Ambush lay in ev'ry Pill.
For save or slay, this Privilege we claim
Tho' Credit suffers, the Reward's the same.

What tho' the Art of Healing we pretend,
He that designs it least, is most a Friend.
Into the Right we err, and must confess
To Oversights we often owe Success.
Thus Bessus got the Battel in the Play,
His glorious Cowardise restor'd the Day.
So the fam'd Grecian Piece ow'd its Desert
To Chance, and not the labour'd Stroaks oi Art.

Physicians, if they're wise, should never think
Of any Arms but such as Pen and Ink:
But th'Enemy, at their Expence, shall find,
When Honour calls, I'll scorn to stay behind.

He said; and seal'd th' Engagement with a Kiss,
Which was return'd by Younger Askaris;
Who thus advanc'd: Each Word Sir, you impart,
Has something killing in it, like your Art.
How much we to your boundless Friendship owe,
Our Files can speak, and your Prescriptions show.
Your Ink descends in such excessive Show'rs,
'Tis plain, you can regard no Health but ours.
Whilst poor Pretenders puzzle o'er a Case,
You but appear, and give the Coup de Grace.
O that near [1]Xanthus Banks you had but dwelt,
When Ilium first Achaian Fury felt,
The horned River then had curs'd in vain
Young Peleus' Arm, that choak'd his Stream with Slain.
No Trophies you had left for Greeks to raise,
Their Ten Years Toil, you'd finish'd in Ten Days.
Fate smiles on your Attempts, and when you list,
In vain the Cowards fly, or Brave resist.
Then let us Arm, we need not fear Success,
No Labours are too hard for Hercules.
Our military Ensigns we'll display;
Conquest pursues, where Courage leads the Way.

To this Design shrill Querpo did agree,
A zealous Member of the Faculty;

His Sire's pretended pious Steps he treads,
And where the Doctor fails the Saint succeeds.
A Conventicle flesh'd his greener Years,
And his full Age the righteous Rancour shares.
Thus Boys hatch Game-Eggs under Birds o'Prey,
To make the Fowl more furious for the Fray.

Slow Carus next discover'd his Intent,
With painful Pauses mutt'ring what he meant.
His Sparks of Life in spight of Druggs retreat,
So cold, that only Calentures can heat.
In his chill Veins the sluggish Puddle flows,
And loads with lazy Fogs his sable Brows.
Legions of Lunaticks about him press,
His Province is lost Reason to redress.
So when Perfumes their fragrant Scent give o'er,
Nought can their Odour, like a Jakes, restore.
When, for Advice the Vulgar throng, he's found
With lumber of vile Books besieg'd around.
The gazing Throng acknowledge their Surprize,
And deaf to Reason still consult their Eyes.
Well he perceives the World will often find,
To catch the Eye is to convince the Mind.
Thus a weak State, by wise Distrust enclines
To num'rous Stores, and Strength in Magazines.
So Fools are always most profuse of Words,
And Cowards never fail of longest Swords.
Abandon'd Authors here a Refuge meet,
And from the World, to Dust and Worms retreat.
Here Dregs and Sediment of Auctions reign,
Refuse of Fairs, and Gleanings of Duck-Lane.

And up these Walls much Gothick Lumber climbs,
With Swiss Philosophy, and Runick Rhimes.
Hither, retriev'd from Cooks and Grocers, come
M—— works entire, and endless Reams of Bl———m.
Where would the long-neglected C———s fly,
If bounteous Carus shou'd refuse to buy?
But each vile Scribler's happy on this score,
He'll find some Carus still to read him o're.

Nor must we the obsequious Umbra spare,
Who, soft by Nature, yet declar'd for War.
But when some Rival Pow'r invades a Right,
Flies set on Flies, and Turtles Turtles fight.
Else courteous Umbra to the last had been
Demurely meek, insipidly serene.
[2]With Him, the Present still some Virtues have,
The Vain are sprightly, and the Stupid, grave:
The Slothful, negligent; the Foppish, neat;
The Lewd are airy; and the Sly, discreet.
A Wren an Eagle, a Baboon a Beau;
C—— a Lycurgus, and a Phocion R——.

Heroick Ardour now th' Assembly warms,
Each Combatant breaths nothing but Alarms.
For Future Glory, while the Scheme is laid,
Fam'd Horoscope thus offers to dissuade;

Since of each Enterprize th'Event's unknown,
We'll quit the Sword, and hearken to the Gown.

Nigh lives Vagellius, one reputed long
For Strength of Lungs, and Pliancy of Tongue.
For Fees, to any Form he moulds a Cause,
The Worst has Merits, and the Best has Flaws,
Five Guinea's make a Criminal to Day,
And ten to Morrow wipe the Stain away.
Whatever he affims is undeny'd,
Milo's the Lecher, Clodius th'Homicide.
Cato pernicious, Cataline a Saint,
Or———d suspected, D———b innocent.
To Law then Friends, for 'tis by Fate decreed,
Vagellius, and our Mony, shall succeed.
Know; when I first invok'd Disease by Charms
To prove propitious to our future Arms;
Ill Omens did the Sacrifice attend,
Nor wou'd the Sybil from her Grott ascend.

As Horoscope urg'd farther to be heard.
He thus was interrupted by a Bard;

In vain your Magick Mysteries you use,
Such Sounds the Sybil's sacred Ears abuse.
These Lines the pale Divinity shall raise,
Such is the Pow'r of Sound, and Force of Lays.

Arms meet with Arms, Fauchions with Fauchions clash,
And sparks of Fire struck out from Armour flash.
Thick Clouds of Dust contending Warriors raise,
And hideous War o'er all the Region brays.
Some raging ran with huge Herculean Clubs,
Some massy Balls of Brass, some mighty Tubs
Of Cynders bore.——

Naked and half-burnt Hills with hideous Wreck
Affright the Skies, and fry the Ocean's Back.

As he went rumbling on, the Fury strait
Crawl'd in, her Limbs cou'd scarce support her Weight.
A rufull Rag her meager Forehead bound,
And faintly her furr'd Lips these Accents found.

Mortal, how dar'st thou with such Lines address
My awful Seat, and trouble my Recess?
In Essex Marshy Hundreds is a Cell,
Where lazy Fogs, and drisling Vapours dwell:
Thither raw Damps on drooping Wings repair,
And shiv'ring Quartans shake the sickly Air.
There, when fatigu'd, some silent Hours I pass,
And substitute Physicians in my place.
Then dare not, for the future once rehearse
The Dissonance of such untuneful Verse.
But in your Lines let Energy be found,
And learn to rise in Sense, and sink in Sound.
Harsh Words, tho' pertinent, uncouth appear,
None please the Fancy who offend the Ear.
In Sense and Numbers if you wou'd excel,
Read W——, consider D———n well.
In one, what vig'rous Turns of Fancy shine,
In th'other, Syrens warble in each Line.
D———'s sprightly Muse but touch the Lyre,
The Smiles and Graces melt in soft Desire,
And little Loves confess their am'rous Fire.
The gentle Isis claims the Ivy Crown,
To bind th'immortal Brows of A———n.

As tuneful C———ve tries his rural Strains,
Pan quits the Woods, the list'ning Fawns the Plains;
And Philomel, in Notes like his, complains.
And Britain, since Pausanias was writ,
Knows Spartan Virtue, and Athenian Wit.
When St—— paints the Godlike Acts of Kings,
Or, what Apollo dictates, P—— sings:
The Banks of Rhine a pleas'd Attention show,
And Silver Sequana forgets to flow.

Such just Examples carefully read o'er,
Slide without falling, without draining, soar.
Oft tho' your Stroaks surprize, you shou'd not chuse
A Theme so mighty for a Virgin Muse.
Long did [3]Apelles his Fam'd Piece decline,
His Alexander was his last Design.
'Tis M———ue's rich Vein alone must prove,
None but a Phidias shou'd attempt a Jove.

The Fury paus'd, 'till with a frightful Sound
A rising Whirlwind burst th'unhallow'd Ground.
Then she———The Deity we Fortune call,
Tho' distant, rules and influences all.
Strait for her Favour to her Court-repair,
Important Embassies ask Wings of Air.

Each wond'ring stood, but Horoscope's great Soul
That Dangers ne'er alarm, nor Doubts controul;
Rais'd on the Pinions of the bounding Wind,
Out-flew the Rack, and left the Hours behind.

The Ev'ning now with Blushes warms the Air,
The Steer resigns the Yoke, the Hind his Care.
The Clouds above with golden Edgings glow,
And falling Dews refresh the Earth below.
The Bat with sooty Wings flits thro' the Grove,
The Reeds scarce rustle, nor the Aspine move,
And all the feather'd Folks forbear their Lays of love.
Thro' the transparent Region of the Skies,
Swift as a Wish the Missionary flies.
With Wonder he surveys the upper Air,
And the gay gilded Meteors sporting there.
How lambent Jellies kind'ling in the Night,
Shoot thro' the Æther in a Trail of Light,
How rising Steams in th'azure Fluid blend,
Or fleet in Clouds, or in soft Show'rs descend;
Or if the stubborn Rage of Cold prevail,
In Flakes they fly, or fall in moulded Hail.
How Hony Dews embalm the fragrant Morn,
And the fair Oak with luscious Sweats adorn.
How Heat and Moisture mingle in a Mass,
Or belch in Thunder, or in Light'ning blaze.
Why nimble Coruscations strike the Eye,
And bold Tornado's bluster in the Sky.
Why a prolifick Aura upwards tends,
Ferments, and in a living Show'r descends.
How Vapours hanging on the tow'ring Hills
in Breezes sigh, or weep in Warbling Rills
Whence Infant Winds their tender pinions try,
And River Gods their thirsty Urns supply.

The wond'ring Sage pursues his airy Flight,
And braves the chill unwholsome Damps of Night;
He views the Tracts where Luminaries rove,
To settle Seasons here and Fates above.
The bleak Arcturus still forbid the Seas,
The stormy Kidds, the weeping Hyades:
The shining [4]Lyre with Strains attracting more
Heav'n's glitt'ring Mansions now than [5]Hell's before.
Glad Cassiopeia circling in the Sky,
And each bright Churchil of the Galaxy.

Aurora on Etesian Breezes born,
With blushing Lips breaths out the sprightly Morn;
Each Flow'r in Dew their short-liv'd Empire weeps,
And Cynthia with her lov'd Endymion sleeps.
As thro' the Gloom the Magus cuts his Way,
Imperfect Objects tell the doubtful Day.
Dim he discerns Majestick Atlas rise,
And bend beneath the Burthen of the Skies.
His tow'ring Brows aloft no Tempests know,
Whilst Light'ning flies, and Thunder rolls below.

Distant from hence beyond a Waste of Plains,
Proud Teneriff his Giant Brother reigns;
With breathing Fire his pitchy Nostrils glow,
As from his Sides he shakes the fleecy Snow.
Around this hoary Prince, from wat'ry Beds,
His Subject islands raise their verdant Heads;
The Waves so gently wash each rising Hill
The Land seems floating, and the Ocean still.

Eternal Spring with smiling Verdure here
Warms the mild Air, and crowns the youthful Year.
From Crystal Rocks transparent Riv'lets flow,
The Tub'rose ever breathes, and Violets blow.
The Vine undress'd her swelling Clusters bears,
The lab'ring Hind, the mellow Olive cheers;
Blossoms and Fruit at once the [6]Citron shows,
And as she pays, discovers still she owes.
The Orange to the Sun her Pride displays,
And gilds her fragrant Apples with his Rays.
No Blasts e'er discompose the peaceful Sky,
The Springs but murmur, and the Winds but sigh,
The tuneful Swans on gliding Rivers float,
And Warbling Dirges, die on ev'ry Note.
Where Flora treads her Zephyr Garlands flings,
And scatters Odours from his Purple Wings;
Whilst Birds from Woodbine Bow'rs and Jesmine Groves
Chaunt their glad Nuptials, and unenvy'd Loves.
Mild Seasons, rising Hills, and silent Dales,
Cool Grotto's, Silver Brooks, and flow'ry Vales,
Groves fill'd with balmy Shrubs in pomp appear,
And scent with Gales of Sweets the circling Year.

These happy Ides, where endless Pleasures wait,
Are stil'd by tuneful Bards——The Fortunate.
On high where no hoarse Winds nor Clouds resort,
The hoodwink'd Goddess keeps her partial Court.
Upon a Wheel of [7]Amethyst she sits,
Gives and resumes, and smiles and frowns by fits.

In this still Labyrinth, around her lye
Spells Philters, Globes, and Schemes of Palmistry:
A Sigil in this Hand the Gypsie bears,
In th'other a prophetick Sive and Sheers.

The Dame by Divination knew that soon
The Magus wou'd appear——and then begun
Hail, sacred Seer! thy Embassie I know,
Wars must ensue, the Fates will have it so.
Dread Feats shall follow, and Disasters great,
[8]Pills charge on Pills, and Bolus Bolus meet:
Both Sides shall conquer, and yet Both shall fall;
The Mortar now, and then the Urinal.

To thee alone my Influence I owe;
Where Nature has deny'd, my Favours flow.
'Tis I that give (so mighty is my Pow'r)
Faith to the Jew, Complexion to the Moor.
I am the Wretch's Wish, the Rook's Pretence,
The Sluggard's Ease, the Coxcomb's Providence.
Sir Scrape-Quill, once a supple smiling Slave,
Looks lofty now, and insolently Grave;
Builds, Settles, Purchases, and has each Hour
Caps from the Rich, and Curses from the Poor.
Spadillio, that at Table serv'd o'late,
Drinks rich Tockay himself, and eats in Plate;
Has Levees, Villas, Mistresses in store,
And owns the Racers which he rubb'd before.

Souls heav'nly born my faithless Boons defy;
The Brave is to himself a Deity.

Tho' bless'd Astrea's gone, some Soil remains
Where Fortune is the Slave, and Merit reigns.

The Tyber boasts his Julian Progeny,
Thames his Nassau, the Nyle his Ptolomy,
Iberia, yet for future Sway design'd,
Shall, for a H——, a greater M—— find.
Thus [9]Ariadne in proud Triumph rode,
She lost a [10]Heroe, and she found a [11]God.

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  1. See Hom. Il.
  2. See the Imitation Hor. Sat. the 3d.
  3. See Hor. B. 2. Ep. I. Plin. Plut. Cir. Ep. Val. Max.
  4. Orpheus's Harp made a Constellation.
  5. See Manil.
  6. Wall.
  7. This Stone reckon'd fortunate; see the Hist. of Nat. Magick.
  8. See the Allusion, Lucan.
  9. See Steph.
  10. Theseus.
  11. Baccuus.