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Nor vainly buys what Gildon* sells,
Poetic buckets for dry wells.
School-helps I want, to climb on high,
Where all the ancient treasures lie,
And there, unseen, commit a theft
On wealth in Greek exchequers left.
Then where ? from whom ? what can I steal,
Who only with the moderns deal ?
This were attempting to put on
Raiment from naked bodies won :t
They safely sing before a thief,
They cannot give who want relief;
Some few excepted, names well known,
And justly laurell’d with renown,
Whose stamp of genius marks their ware,
And theft detects : of theft beware;
From More 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 world to live serene.?
When, by its magic-lantern, Spleen
With frightful figures spread life's scene,
And threatening prospects urged 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,
But swam, 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
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 honors itch,
Achieved by leaping hedge and ditch,
While Spleen lies soft 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 roral 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, pierced, trod down, and dying, view;
While all their spirits are on wing,
And woods, and hills, and valleys, ring.
To cure 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 humor hit,
Has Harlequin'd away the fit.
Since mirth is good in this behalf, At some particulars let us laugh. Witlings, brisk fools cursed 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 deceased,
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 jointured widow's ritual state,
Two Jews disputing tete-a-tete,
New almanacs composed by seers,
Experiments on felons' ears,
Disdainful prudes, who ceaseless ply
The superb muscle of the eye,
A coquet's April-weather face,
A Queensborough mayor behind his macę,
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 humor, 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 woe; There gaily 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 charms, 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 powers 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 similie, 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,