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The Poetical Works of the late Christopher Anstey

With Some Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, By his son, John Anstey

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LETTER IV. Mr. Simkin B---n---r---d to Lady B---n---r---d, at --- Hall, North.
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LETTER IV. Mr. Simkin B---n---r---d to Lady B---n---r---d, at --- Hall, North.

A Consultation of Physicians.

Dear mother, my time has been wretchedly spent,
With a gripe or a hickup wherever I went,
My stomach all swell'd, till I thought it would burst,
Sure never poor mortal with wind was so curst!
If ever I ate a good supper at night,
I dream'd of the devil, and wak'd in a fright:
And so, as I grew ev'ry day worse and worse,
The doctor advis'd me to send for a nurse,
And the nurse was so willing my health to restore,
She begg'd me to send for a few doctors more;
For when any difficult work's to be done,
Many heads can dispatch it much sooner than one;
And I find there are doctors enough at this place,
If you want to consult in a dangerous case!


So they all met together, and thus began talking:
“Good doctor, I'm your's—'tis a fine day for walking—
“Sad news in the papers—G-d knows who's to blame!
“The colonies seem to be all in a flame—
“This stamp act, no doubt, might be good for the crown,
“But I fear 'tis a pill that will never go down—
“What can Portugal mean?—Is she going to stir up
“Convulsions and heats in the bowels of Europe?
“'Twill be fatal if England relapses again,
“From the ill blood and humours of Bourbon and Spain.”
Says I, ‘My good doctors, I can't understand
‘Why the deuce ye take so many patients in hand;
‘Ye've a great deal of practice, as far as I find,
‘But since ye're come hither, do pray be so kind
‘To write me down something that's good for the wind.
‘No doubt ye are all of ye great politicians,
‘But at present my bowels have need of physicians:
‘Consider my case in the light it deserves,
‘And pity the state of my stomach and nerves.”—
But a tight little doctor began a dispute
About administrations, Newcastle and Bute,


Talk'd much of œconomy, much of profuseness.—
Says another—“This case, which at first was a loosness,
“Is become a Tenesmus, and all we can do
“Is to give him a gentle cathartic or two;
“First get off the phlegm that adheres to the Plicæ,
“Then throw in a med'cine that's pretty and spicy;—
“A peppermint draught,—or a—Come, let's be gone,
“We've another bad case to consider at one.”
So thus they brush'd off, each his cane at his nose,
When Jenny came in, who had heard all their prose;
“I'll teach them,” says she, “at their next consultation,
“To come and take fees for the good of the nation.”
I could not conceive what a devil she meant,
But she seiz'd all the stuff that the doctor had sent,
And out of the window she flung it down souse,
As the first politician went out of the house.
Decoctions and syrups around him all flew,
The pill, bolus, julep, and apozem too;
His wig had the luck a cathartic to meet,
And squash went the gallipot under his feet.


She said, 'twas a shame I should swallow such stuff,
When my bowels were weak, and the physic so rough;
Declar'd she was shock'd that so many should come
To be doctor'd to death such a distance from home,
At a place where they tell you that water alone
Can cure all distempers that ever were known.
But, what is the pleasantest part of the story,
She has order'd for dinner a piper and dory;
For to-day Captain Cormorant's coming to dine,
That worthy acquaintance of Jenny's and mine.
'Tis a shame to the army, that men of such spirit
Should never obtain the reward of their merit;
For the Captain's as gallant a man I'll be sworn,
And as honest a fellow as ever was born:
After so many hardships, and dangers incurr'd,
He himself thinks he ought to be better preferr'd,
And Roger, or what is his name? Nicodemus,
Appears full as kind, and as much to esteem us;
Our Prudence declares he's an excellent preacher,
And by night and by day he's so good as to teach her;
His doctrine so sound with such spirit he gives,
She ne'er can forget it as long as she lives.


I told you before, that he's often so kind
To go out a riding with Prudence behind,
So frequently dines here without any pressing,
And now to the fish he is giving his blessing;
And as that is the case, though I've taken a griper,
I'll venture to peck at the dory and piper.
And now my dear mother, &c. &c. &c.
S--- B---n---r---d.
Bath, 1766.