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This were attempting to put on
Raiment from naked bodies won :*
They safely sing before a thief,
They cannot give who want relief;
Some few excepted, names well known,
And justly laurelld with renown,
Whose stamp of genius marks their ware,
And theft detects : of theft beware ;
From Moret so lash'd, example fit,
Shun petty larceny in wit.
First know, my friend, I do not mean
To write a treatise on the Spleen;
Nor to prescribe when nerves convulse;
Nor mend th' alarm watch, your pulse.
If I am right, your question lay,
What course I take to drive away
The day-mare Spleen, by whose false pleas
Men prove mere suicides in ease;
And how I do myself demean,
In stormy worlds to live serene.
When by its magic-lantern Spleen
With frightful figures spread life's scene,
And threatening prospects urg'd my fears,
A stranger to the luck of heirs;
Reason, some quiet to restore,
Show'd part was substance, shadow more ;
With Spleen's dead weight though heavy grown,
In life's rough tide I sunk not down,
till Fortune threw a rope, Buoyant on bladders fill'd with hope.
I always choose the plainest food
To mend viscidity of blood.
Hail! water-gruel, healing power,
Of easy access to the poor ;
Thy help love's confessors implore,
And doctors secretly adore ;
To thee I fly, by thee dilute-
Through veins my blood doth quicker shoot,
And, by swift current, throws off clean
Prolific particles of Spleen.
I never sick by drinking grow,
Nor keep myself a cup too low,
And seldom Chloe's lodgings haunt,
Thrifty of spirits which I want.
Hunting I reckon very good
To brace the nerves, and stir the blood :
But after no field honours itch,
Achiev'd by leaping hedge and ditch.
While Spleen lies oft relax'd in bed,
Or o'er coal-fires inclines the head,
Hygeia's sons with hound and horn,
And jovial cry, awake the morn.
These see her from the dusky plight,
Smear'd by th' embraces of the night,
With rural wash redeem her face,
herself of Titan's race,
And, mounting in loose robes the skies,
Shed light and fragrance as she flies.
Then horse and hound fierce joy display,
Exulting at the Hark-away,
And in pursuit o'er tainted ground,
From lungs robust field-notes resound.
Then, as St. George the dragon slew,
Spleen pierc'd, trod down, and dying view;
While all their spirits are on wing,
And woods, and bills, and valleys ring.
To crire the mind's wrong bias, Spleen,
Some recommend the bowling-green;
Some, hilly walks; all, exercise ;
Fling but a stone, the giant dies.
Laugh and be well. Monkeys have been
Extreme good doctors for the Spleen ;
And kitten, if the humour hit,
Has harlequin'd away the fit.
Since mirth is good in this behalf,
At some particulars let us laugh.
Witlings, brisk fools, curs’d with half sense,
That stimulates their impotence;
Who buz in rhyme, and, like blind flies,
Err with their wings, for want of eyes,
Poor authors worshipping a calf,
Deep tragedies that make us laugh,
A strict dissenter saying grace,
A lecturer preaching for a place,
Folks, things prophetic to dispense,
Making the past the future tense,
The popish dubbing of a priest,
Fine epitaphs on knaves deceas'd,
Green-apron'd Pythonissa's rage,
Great Æsculapius on his stage,
A miser starving to be rich,
The prior of Newgate's dying speech,
A jointur’d widow's ritual state,
Two Jews disputing tete-a-tete,
New almanacs compos'd by seers,
Experiments on felons' ears,
Disdainful prudes, who ceaseless ply
The superb muscle of the eye,
A coquette's April-weather face,
A Queenborough inayor behind his mace,
And fops in military show,
Are sovereign for the case in view.
If Spleen-fogs rise at close of day,
I clear my evening with a play,
Or to some concert take my way:
The company, the shine of lights,
The scenes of humour, music's flights,
Adjust and set the soul to rights.
Life's moving pictures, well-wrought plays,
To others' grief attention raise :
Here, while the tragic fictions glow,
We borrow joy by pitying wo;
There daily comic scenes delight,
And hold true mirrors to our sight,
Virtue, in charming dress array’d,
Calling the passions to her aid,
When moral scenes just actions join,
Takes shape, and shows her face divine.
Music has cbarms, we all may find,
Ingratiate deeply with the mind.
When art does sound's high power advance,
To music's pipe the passions dance ;
Motions unwill'd its power have shown,
Tarantulated by a tune.
Many have held the soul to be
Nearly allied to harmony.
Her have I known, indulging grief,
And shunning company's relief,
Unveil her face, and, looking round,
Own, by neglecting sorrow's wound,
The consanguinity of sound.
In rainy days keep double guard,
Or Spleen will surely be too hard ;
Which, like those fish by sailors met,
Fly highest, while their wings are wet.
In such dull weather, so unfit
To enterprise a work of wit,
When clouds one yard of azure sky,
That's fit for simile, deny,
I dress my face with studious looks,
And shorten tedious hours with books.
But if dull fogs invade the head,
That memory minds not what is read,
I sit in window, dry as ark,
And on the drowning world remark :
Or to some coffee-house I stray
For news, the manna of a day,
And from the hipp'd discourses gather,
That politics go by the weather:
Then seek good-humour'd tavern chums,
And play at cards, but for small sums;
Or with the merry fellows quaff,
And laugh aloud with them that laugh ;
Or drink a joco-serious cup
With souls who've took their freedom up,
And let my mind, beguil'd by talk,
In Epicurus' garden walk,
Who thought it heaven to be serene;
Pain, hell, and purgatory, spleen.
Sometimes I dress, with women sit,
And chat away the gloomy fit ;
Quit the stiff garb of serious sense,
And wear a gay impertinence,
Nor think nor speak with any pains,
But lay on fancy's neck the reins :