The Dispensary (7th ed)/Canto 6

Dispensary - Canto 6 plate.jpg


Dispensary - Fleuron 1.jpg




WHlLE the shrill Clangour of the Battel rings,
Auspicious Health appear'd on Zephir's Wings;
She seem'd a Cherub most divinely bright,
More soft than Air, more gay than Morning Light.
A Charm she takes from each excelling Fair,
And barrows C———le's Shape, and G———ton's Air.
Her Eyes like R———agh's their Beams dispense,
With Ch———ill's Bloom, and B———kley's Innocence;
On Iris thus the differing [1] Beams bestow
The Die, that paints the Wonders of her Bow,
From the fair Nymph a vocal Musick falls.
As to Machaon thus the Goddess calls.

Enough th'Atchievement of your Arms you've shown,
You seek a Triumph you shou'd blush to own.

Haste to th'Elysian Fields, those bless'd Abodes,
Where Harvy sits among the Demi Gods.
Consult that sacred Sage, soon He'll disclose
The Method that must mollify these Woes,
Let Celsus for that Enterprize prepare,
His Conduct to the Shades shall be my Care,

Aghast the Heroes stood dissolv'd in Fear,
A Form so Heav'nly bright They cou'd not bear;
Celsus alone unmov'd, the Sight beheld.
The rest in pale Confusion left the Field.

So when the Pigmies, marshall'd on the Plains,
Wage puny War against th'invading Cranes;
The Poppets to their Bodkin Spears repair,
And scatter'd Feathers flutter in the Air;
But when the bold imperial Bird of Jove
Stoops on his sounding Pinions from above,
Among the Brakes the Fairy Nation crowds,
And the Strimonian Squadron seeks the Clouds.

And now the Delegate prepares to go
And view the Wonders of the Realms below;
Then takes Amomum for the Golden Bough.
Thrice did the Goddess with her Sacred Wand
The Pavement strike; and strait at her Command
The willing Surface opens, and descries
A deep Descent that leads to nether Skies.
[2]Hygeia to the silent Region tends;
And with his Heav'nly Guide the Charge descends,

Thus Numa when to hallow'd Caves retir'd,
Was by [3]Ægeria guarded and inspir'd.

Within the Chambers of the Globe they spy
The Beds where sleeping Vegetables lye,
'Till the glad Summons of a Genial Ray
Unbinds the Glebe, and calls them out to Day.
Hence Pancies trick themselves in various Hew,
And hence Junquils derive their fragrant Dew;
Hence the Carnation and the bashful Rose
Their Virgin Blushes to the Morn disclose.
Hence the chaste Lilly rises to the Light,
Unveils her snowy Breasts, and charms the Sight.
Hence Arbours are with twining Greens array'd,
T'oblige complaining Lovers with their Shade.
And hence on Daphne's Laurel'd Forehead grow
Immortal Wreaths for Phœbus and Nassau.

The Insects here their lingring Trance survive:
Benumb'd they seem, and doubtful if alive.
From Winter's Fury hither they repair,
And stay for milder Skies and softer Air.
Down to these Cells obscener Reptils creep,
Where hateful Nutes and painted Lizzards sleep.
Where shiv'ring Snakes the Summer Solstice wait;
Unfurl their painted Folds, and slide in State.
Here their new Form the numb'd [4]Erucæ hide,
Their num'rous Feet in slender Bandage ty'd;
Soon as the kindling Year begins to rise,
This upstart Race their native Clod despise,
And proud of painted Wings attempt the Skies,

Now, those profounder Regions They explore,
Where Metals ripen in vast Cakes of Oar.
Here sullen to the Sight, at large is spread
The dull unwieldy Mass of lumpish Lead.
There, giimm'ring in their dawning Beds, are seen
The more aspiring Seeds of sprightly Tin.
The [5]Copper sparkles next in ruddy Streaks;
And in the Gloom betrays its glowing Cheeks.
The Silver then with bright and burnish'd Grace,
Youth and a blooming Lustre in its Face,
To th'Arms of those more yielding Metals flies,
And in the Folds of their Embraces lyes.
So close they cling, so stubbornly retire;
Their Love's more violent than the Chymist's Fire.

Near These the Delegate with Wonder spies
Where Floods of living Silver serpentize:
Where richest Metals their bright Looks put on,
And Golden Streams thro' Amber Channels run.
Where Light's gay God descends to ripen Gems,
And lend a Lustre brighter than his Beams.

Here he observes the Subterranean Cells,
Where wanton Nature sports in idle Shells.
Some Helicoeids, some Conical appear;
These, Miters emulate; Those, Turbans are.
Here Marcasites in various Figure wait,
To ripen to a true Metallick State:
'Till Drops that from impending Rocks descend
Their Substance petrifie, and Progress end.
Nigh, livid Seas of kindled Sulphur flow;
And, whilst enrag'd, their Fiery Surges glow:

Convulsions in the lab'ring Mountains rife,
And hurl their melted Vitals to the Skies.

He views, with Horror next the noisie Cave,
Where with hoarse Dinn imprison'd Tempests rave:
Where clam'rous Hurricanes attempt their Flight,
Or, whirling in tumultuous Eddies, fight.
The warring Winds unmov'd Hygeia heard.
Brav'd their loud Jars, but much for Celsus fear'd.
Andromeda, so whilst her Heroe fought,
Shook for his Danger, but her own forgot.

And now the Goddess with her Charge descends,
Where scarce one chearful Glimpse their Steps befriends.
Here his forsaken Seat old Chaos keeps;
And undisturb'd by Form, in Silence sleeps.
A grisly Wight, and hideous to the Eye;
An aukward Lump of shapeless Anarchy.
With sordid Age his Features are defac'd;
His Lands unpeopled, and his Countries waste.
To these dark Realms much learned Lumber creeps,
There copious M—— safe in Silence sleeps.
Where Mushroom Libels in Oblivion lye,
And, soon as born, like other Monsters die.
Upon a Couch of Jett in these Abodes,
Dull Night, his melancholy Consort, nods.
No Ways and Means their Cabinet employ;
But their dark Hours they waste in barren Joy.

Nigh this Recess with Terror they survey
Where Death maintains his dread tyrannick Sway;

In the close Covert of a Cypress Grove,
Where Goblins frisk, and airy Spectres rove,
Yawns a dark Cave, with awful Horror wide,
And there the Monarch's Triumphs are descry'd.
Confus'd, and wildly huddled to the Eye
The Beggar's Pouch, and Prince's Purple lye.
Dim Lamps with sickly Rays scarce seem to glow;
Sighs heave in mournful Moans, and Tears o'er-flow.
Restless Anxiety, forlorn Despair,
And all the faded Family of Care
Old mouldring Urns, Racks, Daggers and Distress
Make up the frightful Horror o' the Place.

Within its dreadful Jaws those Furies wait,
Which execute the harsh Decres of Fate.
[6]Febris is first: The Hag relentless hears
The Virgin's Sighs; and sees the Infant's Tears.
In her parch'd Eye-Balls fiery Meteors reign;
And restless Ferments revel in each Vein.

Then [7]Hydrops next appears amongst the Throng;
Bloated, and big, she slowly fails along.
But, like a Miser, in Excess she's poor;
And pines for Thirst amidst her wat'ry Store.

Now loathsom [8]Lepra, that offensive Spright,
With foul Eruptions stain'd, offends the Sight.
Still deaf to Beauty's soft persuading Pow'r:
Nor can bright Hebe's Charms her Bloom secure.

Whilst meager [9]Pthisis gives a silent Blow;
Her Stroaks are sure; but her Advances slow.

No loud Alarms, nor fierce Assaults are shown:
She starves the Fortress first; then takes the Town,
Behind stood Crouds of much inferior Name,
Too num'rous to repeat too foul to name;
The Vassals of their Monarch's Tyranny:
Who, at his Nod, on fatal Errands fly.

Now Celsus, with his glorious Guide, invades
The silent Region of the fleeting Shades:
Where Rocks and ruful Desarts are descry'd;
And sullen Styx rolls down his lazy Tide.
Then shews the Ferry-man the Plant he bore,
And claims his Passage to the further Shore.
To whom the Stygian Pilot smiling, said,
You need no Pass-port to demand our Aid.
Physicians never linger on this Strand:
Old Charon's, present still at their Command.
Our awful Monarch and his Confort owe
To them the Peopling of their Realms below.
Then in his swarthy Hand he grasp'd his Oar,
Receiv'd his Guests aboard, and shov'd from Shoar.

Now, as the Goddess and her Charge prepare
To breath the Sweets of soft Elysian Air,
Upon the Left they spy a pensive [10]Shade,
Who on his bended Arm had rais'd his Head:
Pale Grief sate heavy on his mournful Look:
To whom, not unconcern'd, thus Celsus spoke:

Tell me, thou much afflicted Shade why Sighs
Burst from your Breast, and Torrents from your Eyes:

And who those mangled Manes are, which show
A sullen Satisfaction at your Woe?

Since, said the Ghost, with Pity you'll attend,
Know, I'm Guiäcum, once your firmest Friend.
And on this barren Beach in Discontent
And doom'd to stay, 'till th'angry Pow'rs relent.
Those Spectres seam'd with Scars that threaten there,
The Victims of my late ill Conduct are.
They vex with endless Clamours my Repose:
This wants his Palate; That demands his Nose:
And here they execute stern Pluto's Will,
And ply me ev'ry moment with a Pill.

Then Celsus thus: O much-lamented State!
How rigid is the Sentence you relate?
Methinks I recoiled your former Air,
But ah, how much you're chang'd from what you were!
Insipid as your late Ptisans you lye.
That once were sprightlier far than Mercury.
At the sad Tale you tell, the Poppies weep,
And mourn their vegetable Souls asleep.
The unctuous Larix, and the healing Pine
Lament your Fate in Tears of Turpentine.
But still the Off-spring of your Brain shall prove
The Grocers Care, and brave the Rage of Jove.
When Bonfires blaze your vagrant Works shall rise
In Rockets, 'till they reach the wond'ring Skies.

If Mortals e'er the Stygian Pow'rs cou'd bend,
Entreaties to their awful Seats I'd send.
But since no human Arts the Fates dissuade;
Direct me how to find bless'd Harvy's Shade.

In vain th'unhappy Ghost still urg'd his Stay;
Then rising from the Ground, he shew'd the Way.

Nigh the dull Shoar a shapeless Mountain stood,
That with a dreadful Frown survey'd the Flood.
Its fearful Brow no lively Greens put on,
No frisking Goats bound o'er the ridgy Stone.
To gain the Summit the bright Goddess try'd,
And Celsus follow'd, by degrees, his Guide.

Th'Ascent thus conquer'd, now they tow'r on high,
And taste th'Indulgence of a milder Sky.
Loose Breezes on their airy Pinions play,
Soft Infant Blossoms their chast Odours pay;
And Roses blush their fragrant Lives away.
Cool Streams thro' flow'ry Meadows gently glide;
And as They pass, their painted Banks they chide.
These blissful Plains no Blights, nor Mildews fear,
The Flow'rs ne'er fade, and Shrubs are Myrtles here.
The Morn awakes the Tulip from her Bed;
E'er Noon in painted Pride she decks her Head:
Roab'd in rich Dye she triumphs on the Green,
And ev'ry Flow'r does Homage to their Queen.
So when bright Venus rises from the Flood,
Around in Throngs the wond'ring Nereids crowd;
The Tritons gaze, and tune each vocal Shell,
And ev'ry Grace unsung, the Waves conceal.

The Delegate observes, with wond'ring Eyes,
Ambrosial Dews descend, and Incense rise.
Then hastens onward to the pensive Grove,
The silent [11]Mansion of disastrous Love.

Here Jealousie with Jaundice Looks appears,
And broken Slumbers, and fantastick Fears.
The widow'd Turtle hangs her moulting Wings,
And to the Woods in mournful Murmurs sings.
No Winds but Sighs are there, no Floods but Tears,
Each conscious Tree a Tragick Signal bears.
Their wounded Bark records some broken Vow,
And Willow Garlands hang on ev'ry Bough.

Olivia here in Solitude he found,
Her down-cast Eyes fix'd on the silent Ground:
Her Dress neglected, and unbound her Hair,
She seem'd the dying Image of Despair.
How lately did this celebrated Thing
Blaze in the Box, and sparkle in the Ring,
'Till the Green-sickness and Love's force betray'd
To Death's remorseless Arms th'unhappy Maid.

All o'er confus'd the guilty Lover stood,
The Light forsook his Eyes, his Cheeks the Blood;
An Icy Horrour shiver'd in his Look,
As to the cold-complexion'd Nymph He spoke:

Tell me, dear Shade, from whence such anxious Care,
Your Looks disorder'd, and your Bosom bare?
Why thus you languish like a drooping Flow'r,
Crush'd by the weight of some relentless Show'r?
Your languid Looks, your late ill Conduct tell;
O that instead of Trash you'd taken Steel!

Stabb'd with th'unkind Reproach, the Conscious Maid
Thus to her late insulting Lover said;

When Ladies listen not to loose Desire,
You stile our Modesty, our want of Fire.
Smile or Forbid, Encourage or Reprove,
You still find Reasons to believe we love:
Vainly you think a Liking we betray,
And never mean the peevish Things we say.
Few are the Fair Ones of Rufilla's make,
Unask'd she grants, uninjur'd she'll forsake:
But sev'ral Cælias, sev'ral Ages boast,
That like, where Reason recommends the most.
Where heav'nly Truth and Tenderness conspire,
Chast Passion may perswade us to desire.

Your Sex, he cry'd, as Custom bids, behaves;
In Forms the Tyrant tyes such haughty Slaves.
To do nice Conduct Right, you Nature wrong;
Impulses are but weak, where Reason's strong.
Some want the Courage, but how Few the Flame!
They like the Thing, that startle at the Name.
The lonely Phœnix, tho' profess'd a Nun,
Warms into Love, and kindles at the Sun.
Thole Tales of spicy Urns and fragrant Fires,
Are but the Emblems of her scorch'd Desires.

Then as he drove to clasp the fleeting Fair,
His empty Arms confess'd th'impassive Air.
From his Embrace th'unbody'd Spectre flies,
And as she mov'd, she chid him with her Eyes.

They hasten now to that delightful Plain,
Where the glad Manes of the Bless'd remain:
Where Harvy gathers Simples to bestow
Immortal Youth on Heroe's Shades below.

Soon as the bright Hygeia was in view,
The Venerable Sage her Presence knew.
Thus He——

Hail, blooming Goddess! Thou propitious Pow'r,
Whole Blessings Mortals more than Life implore.
With so much Lustre your bright Looks endear,
That Cottages are Courts where Those appear.
Mankind, as you vouchsafe to Smile or Frown,
Finds Ease in Chains, or Anguish in a Crown.

With just Resentments and Contempt you see
The foul Dissentions of the Faculty;
How your sad sick'ning Art now hangs her Head,
And once a Science, is become a Trade.
Her Sons ne'er rifle her Mysterious Store,
But study Nature less, and Lucre more.
Not so when Rome to th' Epidaurian rais'd
A [12]Temple, where devoted Incence blaz'd.
Oft Father Tyber views the holy Fire,
As the learn'd Son is worship't like the Sire:
The Sage with Romulus like Honours claim;
The Gift of Life and Laws were then the same.

I show'd of old, how vital Currents glide,
And the Meanders of their refluent Tide.
Then, Willis, why spontaneous Actions here,
And whence involuntary Motions there:
And how the Spirits by Mechanick Laws,
In wild Careers, tumultuous Riots cause.

Nor wou'd our Wharton, Bates, and Glisson lye
In the Abyss of blind Obscurity.
Bat now such wond'rous Searches are forborn,
And Pæan's Art is by Divisions torn.
Then let your Charge attend, and I'll explain
How her lost Health your Science may regain.

Haste, and the matchless Atticus Address,
From Heav'n and great Nassau he has the Mace.
Th' oppress'd to his Asylum still repair;
Arts he supports, and Learning is his Care.
He softens the harsh Rigour of the Laws,
Blunts their keen Edge, and grinds their Harpy Claws;
And graciously he casts a pitying Eye
On the sad State of virtuous Poverty.
When-e'er he speaks, Heav'ns! how the list'ning Throng
Dwells on the melting Musick of his Tongue.
His Arguments are Emblems of his Mein,
Mild, but not faint; and forcing, tho' serene;
And when the Pow'r of Eloquence He'd try.
Here, Lightning strikes you; there, soft Breezes sigh.

To him you must your sickly State refer,
Your Charter claims him as your Visiter.
Your Wounds he'll close, and sov'reignty restore
Your Science to the Height it had before.

Then Nassau's Health shall be your glorious Aim,
His Life should be as lasting as His Fame.
Some Princes Claims from Devastations spring,
He condescends in pity to be King:
And when amidst his Olives plac'd, He stands,
And governs more by Candour than Commands:

Ev'n then not less a Heroe he appears,
Than when his Laurel Diadem he wears.

Wou'd Phœbus, or his G———e, but inspire
Their sacred Veh'mence of Poetick Fire;
To celebrate in Song that God-like Pow'r,
Which did the lab'ring Universe restore;
Fair Albion's Cliffs wou'd Eccho to the Strain,
And praise the Arm that Conquer'd, to regain
The Earth's Repose, and Empire o'er the Main.

Still may th'immortal Man his Cares repeat,
To make his Blessings endless as they're great:
Whilst Malice and Ingratitude confess
They've strove for Ruin long without Success.
When late, Jove's [13]Eagle from the Pyle shall rise
To bear the Victor to the boundless Skies,
Awhile the God puts off Paternal Care,
Neglects the Earth, to give the Heav'ns a Star.
Near Thee, [14]Alcides shall the Heroe shine;
His Rays resembling, as his Labours, Thine.

Had some fam'd Patriot, of the Latin Blood,
Like Julius Great, and like Octavius Good,
But thus preserv'd the Latian Liberties,
Aspiring Columns soon had reach'd the Skies:
Loud Io's the proud Capitol had shook,
And all the Statues of the Gods had spoke.

No more the Sage his Raptures cou'd pursue
He paus'd; and Celsus with his Guide withdrew.


  1. See Newt. of Col.
  2. Health, celebrated by the Ancients as a Goddess.
  3. See Ov. Met. B. 15.
  4. See Godort of Caterpillars and Butterflies.
  5. See Yald. on Mines.
  6. Feaver.
  7. Dropsie.
  8. Leprosie.
  9. Consumption
  10. See the Allusion, Virg. Æn. B. 6.
  11. See Virg. Æn. B. 6.
  12. A Temple built at Rome, in the Island of Tyber, to Æsculapius Son of Apollo.
  13. Read the Ceremony of the Apotheosis.
  14. Hercules, a Constellation near Ariadne's Crown.