Samuel Boyse, “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

[SAMUEL BOYSE]

 “Wine the Cure of Love. A Ballad”

As lovesick Apollo by Daphne disdain’d,
In Tempe sat whining beneath an old oak;
Bacchus happen’d to hear as he sadly complain’d,
And shaking with laughter, thus jestingly spoke.

“What wounded by Cupid? now shame on thy skill,                                  5
To sit fretting thy Heart at the foot of a tree;
Can th’ invincible God, who a Python did kill,
Now whimper and sob for the sting of a Bee?

I protest, cozen Phoebus, thy fortune is hard.
That nor music, nor verse can diminish thy Grief;                           10
Can no herb be discovered, no potion prepared,
To give the great master of science relief?

Come, take Heart, -and be counsell’d, -and lift up thy head!
I am the best Doctor when such fevers assail;
Quick, empty this goblet, no more need to be said:                                 15
I never once knew my catholicon fail!”

Phoebus topp’d off the Wine, ‘twas old malmsey of Crete,
His Heart in an instant grew light as a feather!
“Hang Cupid (says he) I believe he’s a cheat,
So here let us drink his confusion together.                                       20

A cheat! (Bacchus cried) he’s a son of a whore!
He has often endeavour’d to shew me his tricks;
But I bid him Defiance, —a fig for his pow’r,
I keep to the shield of my bottle, by Styx!

Were coz Hermes present you would laugh till you burst,                         25
To hear how he rook’d him at Play of his darts;
What a noise Venus made, and the little elf curs’d,
For the pitiful pins which he sticks in men’s hearts.

Entre nous (reply’d Phoebus) the boy’s spoilt with pride,
Sine Jove in all quarrels espouses his part:                                           30
Who frequently wants him to pimp on his side,
And that makes the youngster so saucy and smart.”

Thus they rail’d at poor Love, —as the bowl flew about
Till Apollo was perfectly cur’d of his woe:
And Bacchus grown mellow, began to give out,                                            35
For night coming on gave each warning to go.

To Delphos gay Phoebus immediately flew,
And from his old grotto this oracle made,
Good Wine was the noblest specific he knew,
For the pains of the heart, or the cares of the head.”                            40

NOTES:

 1 Apollo An Olympian god of manly youth and beauty, poetry and music, and wisdom of the oracles (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 10); Daphne A nymph that was pursued by Apollo but escaped his advances by being transformed into a laurel tree by Zeus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 32).

2 Tempe Celebrated by Greek poets as the favorite haunt of Apollo and the Muses in ancient times (“Vale of Tempe” Wikipedia).

3 Bacchus Roman equivalent of Dionysus, an Olympian god of grape and wine and patron of drama (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 37).

5 Cupid Latin equivalent of Eros, the god of love and son of Venus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 45).

7 invincible God, who a Python did kill Python was a monstrous serpent that was slain by Apollo in the caves of Mount Parnassus (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 108).

8 sting of a Bee Venus compared Cupid’s arrows of love to the stings of bees when Cupid was stung by the insects while stealing honey from their hives (“Cupid” Wikipedia).

 9 cozen “Used in fond or familiar address, both to relatives and in the wider sense” (OED); Phoebus Another name for Apollo (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 101).

12 master of science Apollo was also regarded as the god of knowledge (“Apollo” Wikipedia).

16 catholicon “An electuary supposed to be capable of evacuating all humours; a universal remedy or prophylactic; panacea” (OED).

17 malmsey “A strong sweet wine, originally the product of the district of Monemvasia (Napoli di Malvasia) in the Peloponnese, Greece, later also from other parts of the Mediterranean, the Azores, the Canaries, Madeira, and elsewhere” (OED); Crete The largest and most populous of the Greek islands. The Paximadia islands were the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo (“Crete” Wikipedia).

23 fig “A contemptuous gesture which consisted in thrusting the thumb between two of the closed fingers or into the mouth” (OED).

24 Styx The principal river of the lower world, had to be crossed in passing to the regions of the dead (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 116).

25 coz “An abbreviation of cousin (cozen)” (OED); Hermes An Olympian god of science and invention, eloquence, cunning, trickery, theft, luck and youth, herald and messenger of the gods (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 58).

26 rook’d “To cheat or swindle” (OED).

27 Venus Roman equivalent of Aphrodite, a Greek goddess of love and beauty (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 9).

29 Entre nous “Between ourselves, in private” (OED).

30 Jove Roman equivalent of Zeus, a Greek god, the chief of the Olympian gods, god of the elements as rain, wind, thunder, and lightning (Andrew S. Glick, A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Demigods, and Other Subjects in Greek and Roman Mythology, 131); espouses “To associate or ally oneself with” (OED).

33 rail’d “To complain persistently or vehemently about” (OED).

37 Delphos The site of a major temple to Phoebus Apollo; the sanctuary of the oracle of Delphi, the Pythia (“Delphi” Wikipedia).

38 grotto “A cave or cavern, esp. one which is picturesque, or which forms an agreeable retreat” (OED).

39 specific “Of remedies…specially or exclusively efficacious for, or acting upon, a particular ailment or part of the body” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1741), p. 383.

 Edited by Cai En Chia


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