Tag Archives: death

Thomas Woolston, “Sonnet to the Memory of Falconer, Author of the Shipwreck”

THOMAS WOOLSTON

“Sonnet to the Memory of Falconer, Author of the Shipwreck”

 

Ill-fated Bard marine, who strung the lyre,
A chilling tale of sorrow to rehearse,
In all the mournful melody of verse,
Warm’d by a beam of true Maeonian fire;
Well might the theme the tuneful breast inspire,                                  5
Who felt the rage of Fate’s most adverse storm,
And saw grim Death’s most drear terrific form,
Whilst struggling round thy gallant mates expire.
Thy strains to distant times their names shall give,
Snatch’d from oblivion’s ever-dreaded gloom,                                        10
Oh that my Muse could bid thy mem’ry live,
And paint in verse like thine thy mournful doom,
The plaintive strains with energy should flow,
And sympathy unborn should melt at Falconer’s woe.

NOTES:

 Title Falconer, the Author of the Shipwreck William Falconer (1732-1769), published a wildly popular epic poem titled The Shipwreck in 1762.

1 lyre “A stringed instrument of the harp kind, used by the Greeks for accompanying song and recitation” (OED).

4 Maeonian “A native inhabitant of Maeonia; a Lydian. Frequently in reference to Homer, who, according to some accounts, was born at Smyrna in Maeonia” or modern day Turkey (OED).

10 oblivion “The state or condition of having been forgotten” (OED).

11 Muse The source of poetic inspiration.

12 doom “It is said he was lost in the Aurora frigate going to the East Indies.—We should be glad to see some authentic memoirs of him” [Editor’s Note].

13 plaintive “Having the character of a lament; expressive of sorrow; mournful, sad” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1789), p. 650.

Edited by Randall Pedersen

Nicholas Amhurst, “To Mrs. Centlivre at that time dangerously ill”

[NICHOLAS AMHURST]

 “To Mrs. CENTLIVRE at that time dangerously ill”

 

Struck with a Passion for unhappy ROWE,
To whom so many finish’d Scenes we owe,
I paid my Tribute to his mighty Name,
A Stranger to his Person —— but by Fame:
The Man, but not the Author was unknown,                                                  5
Oft have I made his well-wrought Verse my own;
Oft have I wept his dying Hero’s Cause,
And shook the ecchoing Dome with loud Applause:
From hence alone my grateful Sorrows rise,
Hence the prompt Tears o’erflow my swelling Eyes;                                      10
But double Pangs thy mournful Bosom rend,
I lose the Poet only, you the Friend.
You knew the secret Virtues of his Heart,
How void it was of every treacherous Art;
Search’d the vast hidden Treasures of his Mind,                                            15
And weep in him the Loss to all Mankind.
GARTH follow’d soon, from the unsparing Grave,
Not his own Art his mortal Life could save!
Two Bards at once the Tyrant swept away,
To feed the Worm, and mix with vulgar Clay;                                                  20
Nor yet content, unbounded in his Rage,
Of THEE too he attempts to rob the Age.
Insulting Death! oh stop thy savage Hand,
Reverse, tremendous Power, the rash Command;
Already you have given us too much Grief,                                                      25
Be kind at last, and minister Relief;
Stop our forboding Tears, asswage our Pain,
And give CENTLIVRE back to Health again.

 NOTES:

Title  Centlivre  Susanna Centlivre (1669-1723), English poet, playwright, and actress.

1  Rowe  Nicholas Rowe (1674-1718), Poet Laureate (1715-1718), playwright and editor.

8  Dome  “A building, a house, a fabrick”  (Johnson).

11  Pangs  “A sudden access of keen feeling or emotion”  (OED).

12  You the friend  Centlivre and Rowe were frequent collaborators; both Centlivre and Amhurst dedicated tributes to Rowe in 1719.

14  Art  “Cunning”  (Johnson).

17  Garth  Samuel Garth (1661-1719), English poet and physician.

18  Art  “Skill in applying the principles of a special science”  (OED).

19  Bards  “A lyric or epic poet” (OED); here references to Rowe and Garth.

27  asswage  “Common form of assuage in 16-18thc.”  (OED).

Source:  Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1723), pp. 68-69.  [Google Books]

Edited by Jerry Andersen

William Hamilton, A Day Labourer, “Address to Humanity”

WILLIAM HAMILTON, A  DAY LABOURER

“Address to Humanity”

 

What discordant strains I hear,
Rudely bursting on my ear!
Sure they speak the God of War,
Rolling in his iron car.
Thrills the sound in every vein;                                    5
Language pregnant, big with pain.
All the grief that mortals know,
All the anguish, all the woe,
Each deluded subject feels,
Echoes to his thundering wheels.                               10
Fairest daughter of the sky,
Dove-ey’d, soft HUMANITY!
Sweetest of celestial race,
Tears shall veil thy beauteous face;
Grief shall heave thy snowy breast,                            15
Grief that cannot be exprest:
Vain thy soft, persuasive power
In the passion-clouded hour.

Hear, ah hear the clarion’s note,
Louder through expansion float;                                 20
This declares the coming God;
Desolation marks his road;
Fury drives his foaming steeds,
Where the glowing battle bleeds,
Panting with disorder’d breath,                                    25
Breathing anguish, breathing death.

See the din and clank of arms
Wide diffuse the dread alarms;
Now they rally, now they fly;
Here they languish, there they die.                             30
Wider still the victor’s hand
Spreads destruction o’er the land.
Driven from their long-lov’d home,
See the wretched wanderers roam,
Despairing, o’er the ravag’d plains;                              35
Gleams the town behind in flames.
Night increasing horrors sheds,
Tempests rattle o’er their heads.
Now forlorn, expos’d they lie
Spent, in vain they wish to die.                                    40
Orphans importune for bread;
Rous’d at this, the waste they tread;
Long in vain till friendly Death
Seals their gladly-yielded breath.
Lo! the wretches that remain,                                      45
Still reserv’d for future pain;
Mangled limbs and fractur’d bones
Waste the tedious hours in groans.
Drop the veil—enough—no more—
Pity bleeds at every pore.                                             50

Goddess of the melting eye,
Cease the deep, heart-rending sigh;
See, Reflection lends her aid,
Wing’d with thought, in white array’d:
From her lily hand behold                                            55
Waves the sacred key of gold.
Truth proclaims, ’tis only this
Mortals bring to lasting bliss.

Oh, improve the happy hour,
Discord then shall feel thy power,                               60
And with thunder’s mimic sound
Cease to shake the vaulted ground;
Cease the wild alarm to keep,
Cease to feed the yawning deep;
Cease to stain with human gore                                   65
Where the roses blush’d before.
All shall own thy blissful sway,
And ev’n Bellona thy behests obey

NOTES:

3 God of war…iron car A reference to the Roman god Mars, often depicted as riding in a chariot.

 19 clarion “A shrill-sounding trumpet with a narrow tube, formerly much used as a signal in war” (OED).

27 din “A loud noise; particularly a continued confused or resonant sound, which stuns or distresses the ear” (OED).

38 tempest “A violent storm of wind, usually accompanied by a downfall of rain, hail, or snow, or by thunder” (OED).

41 importune “To ask or request something of (a person) persistently or pressingly; to accost with questions or requests; to beg, beseech” (OED).

51 Goddess of the melting eye That is, “Humanity”; see lines 9-15 above.

 55 Lily hand White hand.

69 Bellona “Bellona, original name Duellona, in Roman religion, goddess of war…Sometimes known as the sister or wife of Mars, she has also been identified with his female cult partner Nerio. Her temple at Rome stood in the Campus Martius, outside the city’s gates near the Circus Flaminius and the temple of Apollo. There the Senate met to discuss generals’ claims to triumphs and to receive foreign ambassadors. In front of it was the columna bellica, where the ceremony of declaring war by the fetiales (a group of priestly officials) took place(Encyclopedia Britannica).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1786), p. 601.

Edited by Juliet Paulson

Anne Ross, “To the memory of a Young Lady, who died in the eleventh year of her age”

[ANNE ROSS]

“To the memory of a Young LADY, who died in the eleventh year of her age”

All ye who mourn
The loss of friends that’s dear,
The mournful scene that is exhibit here,
Bids envy cease, and pity drop a tear.

To you, whose hearts can feel when others mourn,
This is address’d, it soon may be your turn;
Their case to day, to-morrow may be your’s,
The clearest sun oft sets in clouds and showers.

A tender mother reared a darling child,                                                   5
Joy of her friends, and all the country’s pride;
Her person graceful, her complexion fair,
An antient Baronet’s apparent heir.

Her comely face display’d a lively bloom,
Which promis’d health, and many years to come;                               10
T’ inform her mind, and make her wise as fair,
Was still her honour’d mother’s constant care.

For her, to Heav’n, she still address’d her prayer,
That it might always keep her in its care;
That she, in ev’ry stage of life, might shine,                                            15
And see her race, a long and prosp’rous line.

Her aunt and mother saw, with glad surprise,
Inherent virtues near perfection rise:
Their hopes were rais’d, their expectations high;
But soon, alas! their expectations fly.                                                       20

How fleeting are our pleasures, here below?
A stream of joy, now turns a tide of woe.

From bloom of health, this darling child is seiz’d,
Laid on her bed and pain’d with sore disease;
If human aid could cure, that aid was giv’n;                                           25
But who can alter the decree of Heav’n.

How calm and patient in distress she lay;
In all her trouble never ceas’d to pray:
Th’ afflicted mother sends her sighs to Heav’n,
Restore my child, and all I wish is giv’n.                                                   30

If this request’s deny’d, O! help me still,
To be resign’d unto thy heavenly will;
Heav’n, oft in mercy, does our wish deny,
Our surest hope is fix’d above the sky.

The child was quite resign’d; to die was gain,                                           35
Her prayer was not for life, but ease from pain:
Her prayer was not unheard, her wish was given;
Her blessed Saviour takes her home to heaven.

In youth and innocence, the child she dies,
And angels waft her spirit to the skies.                                                     40

NOTES:

Epigraph Unable to trace; possibly provided by the author.

5 reared “To raise a person” (OED).

8 antient “The spelling of ‘ancient’ from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century; it refers to the titles of office or position formerly occupied” (OED).

16 race A poetical term that refers to “a set of children or descendants” (OED).

24 sore “Violent with pain” (Johnson).

40 waft “To carry through the air” (Johnson).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Glasgow, 1791), pp. 36-38. [Google Books]

Edited by Ka Wing Tsang

James Shirley, “Death’s Final Conquest”

[JAMES SHIRLEY]

 “Death’s Final Conquest.”

The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things:
There is no armour against Fate,
Death lays his icy hands on kings.
Sceptre and crown                                                               5
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crooked scythe and spade.

Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:                                  10
But their strong nerves at last must yield,
They tame but one another still.
Early or late
They stoop to Fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath                                   15
When they, pale captives, creep to Death.

The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds,
Upon Death’s purple altar now
See where the victor victim bleeds.                                         20
All heads must come
To the cold tomb,
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet, and blossom in the dust.

NOTES:

Author James Shirley “Shirley flourished in the reign of Charles I. and II. He died October 29, 1666, aged 72.” [GM Note]

8 Scythe “A tool used for cutting crops such as grass or wheat, with a long curved blade at the end of a long pole attached to which are one or two short handles” (OED).

10 Laurels “The foliage of the bay tree woven into a wreath or crown and worn on the head as an emblem of victory or mark of honour in classical times” (OED).

17 Garlands “A wreath of flowers and leaves, worn on the head or hung as a decoration” (OED).

19 Purple “(In ancient Rome) a position of rank, authority, or privilege” (OED). Generally pertaining to someone of royal blood.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 51 (December 1781), p. 583.

Edited by Jeanine Tatiana Shands-Ballas

“C.S.,” Written in a Fit of Sickness, On Shipboard”

[C.S.]

“Written in a Fit of Sickness, On Shipboard”

As tender plants in parching days, are seen
Withering to droop, forgetful to be green;
So droops my soul, so waste my limbs away;
So fade my cheeks, and so my pow’rs decay.
Some wrathful Angel sure infests the skies,                                       5
And scatters poison’d arrows as he flies;
He smites my head, the organs of my breath
Confess the baleful influence of Death.
Relentless Pow’r! why dost thou blast my bloom?
My age is yet unworthy of the tomb;                                                  10
Too early dost thou come, this youthful breast
Is fitter to receive a softer guest:
To hoary heads, and bosoms cold repair,
More proper is thy reign, and grateful there.
Relentless Pow’r! remonstrances are vain,                                          15
His vengeful weapons rankle in my brain;
Where’er the circling life a channel knows,
His arrows gall me, and his venom flows.

Ah me! no tender parent here is by,
No sympathizing kind companion nigh;                                              20
Nor one kind matron to attend my bed,
Living to cherish, or enshroud me dead.

With Heav’n’s just vengeance I can be content,
But why should men my miseries augment?
Me here they keep, where things in all degrees,                                  25
Are foes to health, and enemies to ease;
With stench the smell, with noise the ear’s annoy’d:
A place, of ev’ry consolation void.

For this, may Heav’n avenging fix their doom,
With sorrow to descend into the tomb.                                                30
In their distress be no fond parent by,
Nor one of all their friends, or blood be nigh;
Nor one kind matron to attend their bed,
Living to cherish, or enshroud them dead.

NOTES:

8  baleful  “Full of malign, deadly, or noxious influence; pernicious, destructive” (OED).

9  bloom  “The blossom or flower of a plant” (OED).

13  hoary heads  Old people.

15  remonstrances  “An appeal, a request” (OED).

16  rankle  “A festering sore; the fact or condition of festering” (OED).

17  channel  “A tube or tubular passage, natural or artificial, usually for liquids or fluids” (OED).

18  gall  “The secretion of the liver, bile. With reference to the bitterness of gall, ‘to dip one’s pen in gall’, to write with virulence and rancor” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1768), pp.19-21. [Google Books]

Edited by Geordie Stock

 

 

Jacob Axford, “On my sudden going on board the Orford and her leaving the Land”

JACOB AXFORD

 “On my sudden going on board the Orford and her leaving the Land”

And must I go? so sudden the Surprize!
Not one last Look to feed my longing Eyes?
No Time to tell the Part’ner of my Heart,
How long, or wherefore we so soon must part?
Be torn from all, that ALL my Soul held dear?                                      5
My Life, my Love, my Bliss, my All was her.
The kind Companion of each anxious Hour,
Fair Nature’s Pride, and Virtue’s choicest Flower:
Whose Conversation charm’d the tedious Day,
Whilst the wing’d Hours stole unperceiv’d away:                                10
Who soft’ned Anguish with the Sweets of Love,
The last best Blessing of all bounteous Jove.
The Orford now, impatient for the Seas,
Waits the Conveyance of a gentle Breeze.
Th’ expectant Seaman now with eager Eyes                                         15
Sees the kind Zephyrs o’er the Waters rise.
The Waters whiten with th’ auspicious Gales
That fan the Air, and fill the swelling Sails:
The lofty Vessel thro’ the liquid Way
Triumphant rides, and cuts the yielding Sea:                                        20
To fair Britannia bids a long Adieu,
And with far distant Countries in her View
Mounts o’er the Billows, glides along the Main,
Nor leaves th’ Impression on the watry Plain.
Adieu, fair Britain, native lovely Isle,                                                 25
On whom Heaven deigns propitiously to smile;
Bright regal Seat of Princes and of Kings,
To whom each distant World its Tribute brings:
Blest Soil, where Plenty reigns thro’ every Part,
Where bounteous Ceres chears each honest Heart:                            30
Where every Blessing Nature can demand
The GOD of Nature gives with liberal Hand;
And all that Luxury can require, or Pride,
Is by the obedient Sea from far suppli’d:
Where pure Religion shines divinely bright;                                          35
Untainted here, and in its native Light:
Where Heaven born Liberty uprears its Head,
Its Godlike Influence thro’ the Land to spread;
Where beauteous Virgins crown each amouros Swain,
And happy Subjects bless great George’s Reign:                                  40
Farwel fair Isle! may every Blessing crown
Thy happy Shore, and mark it with Renown:
Thy mighty Arms may Conquest still attend,
Till haughty Spain shall sue to be thy Friend:
Till Europe’s Foes be greatly overthrown,                                                45
France find Submission and Lorrain a Throne:
O may no Faction vex thy friendly Shore,
But Peace prevail, and Discord be no more:
May differing Parties lay their Hatred by,
Ambition cease, and baneful Envy die:                                                   50
Bliss, Love, and Union reign throughout thy Isle,
And Joys eternal on thy Natives smile.
The mighty Vessel lab’ring with the Wind,
By narrow Seas no longer now confin’d,
To the vast Ocean wings her watry Way                                                 55
And cuts her Passage thro’ th’ Atlantic Sea.
So when th’ immortal Soul and Body part,
And Nature’s Call o’er-powers the Strength of Art;
Th’ aerial Mind from the embodying Clay
At the dread Summons breaks like Light away;                                     60
And, from the narrow Bound of Time set free,
Plunges into th’ Abyss of vast Eternity:
Stupendous Thought! here stop my Soul, and know
Th’ amazing Change that all must undergo:
When pale Disease proclaims thy parting Breath,                                 65
And sick’ning Nature tells approaching Death:
When the grim King of Terrors shall appear,
Thy tott’ring Frame when strong Convulsions tare:
How wilt thou dare to view thy future State?
Or stand the Shock of thy incumbent Fate?                                            70
Dar’st thou reflect upon that awful Day,
When the great Judge in terrible Array,
To doom the guilty and the just to clear,
In all his Father’s Glory shall appear?
Leaves conscious Guilt no Stain upon thy Mind?                                   75
Hast thou no unrepented Vice behind?
Within the secret Chamber of thy Breast,
Lurks there no guilty no deceitful Guest?
Is all serene, and calm, and clear within?
Does Recollection tell no darling Sin?                                                      80
Then boldly venture on the unknown Shore;
Death with his Terrors can affright no more:
Beyond the peaceful Mansions of the Grave,
No dismal Views thy guiltless Mind can have:
No Hopes, no Cares, thy Peace shall e’er annoy,                                   85
But Death shall prove thy Entrance into Joy:
When on the Bed of Sickness thou shalt lie,
And thy weak Frame shall totter, sink and die,
Thy conscious Innocence thy Mind shall chear,
And glorious Prospects op’ning shall appear:                                         90
Blest Choirs of Angels wait thy fleeting Soul,
And circling Joys thro’ endless Ages roll.
Eternity shall short liv’d Time devour,
And Guilt, and Pain, and Sorrow be no more.

NOTES:

Title Orford Ship possibly named after the Royal Navy Officer Edward Russell, the first Earl of Orford 1653-1727. Edward was one of the “Immortal Seven” who encouraged William of Orange to usurp James II (“Edward Russell” Wikipedia).

 12 Jove “The supreme deity of the ancient Romans, corresponding to the Greek Zeus; the ruler of gods and men, and the god of the heavens, whose weapon was the thunderbolt” (OED).

16 Zephyrs “A soft mild gentle wind or breeze” (OED).

 23 Billows A swelling wave of the sea produced by a high wind, but often used as a poetical reference to ‘the sea’ (OED).

 23 Main As in mainsail, which is “the principal sail of a ship” (OED).

26 Propitiously “Of God, the fates, etc.: disposed to be favorable; gracious; merciful, lenient” (OED).

30 Ceres “In Roman religion and mythology, goddess of grain; daughter of Saturn and Ops. She was identified by the Romans with the Greek Demeter. Her worship was connected with that of the earth goddess and involved not only fertility rites but also rites for the dead” (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia).

35 pure Religion Protestantism.

 39 amouros Swain A male servant who is in love, enamored, or fond (OED).

 40 George’s Reign George III (1738-1820), reigned from 1760.

 43-46 Thy mighty arms…France find Submission The Second Hundred Years’ War consisted of a series of military conflicts between France and England, including the Seven Years’ War over the colonization of North America. Such conflicts caused England and France to be bitter rivals, while Spain and France remained allies (“Second Hundred Years’ War,” Wikipedia; “Pacte de Famille,” Enclopedia Britannica).

46 Lorrain a Throne Dominion over Lorraine was exchanged between France and the Habsburgs of the Holy Roman Empire throughout the seventeenth century. “Lorraine was given to Stanisław I, the former king of Poland and father-in-law of the French king Louis XV, by the treaties (1738) ending the War of the Polish Succession.” After Stanislaw I’s death in 1766, Lorraine was officially under French rule (“Lorraine Region, France,” Encyclopedia Britannica).

50 baneful “Destructive to well-being, pernicious, injurious” (OED).

 68 tare “The weight of the wrapping, receptacle, or conveyance containing goods, which is deducted from the gross in order to ascertain the net weight” (OED).

Source: Poems on Various Subjects, Divine, Moral and Entertaining: The Posthumous Works of Mr. Jacob Axford, Of the city of Bath, Late Surgeon of his Majesty’s Ship, Scipio; Written for his own Amusement. (Bath: S. Martin, 1764), pp. 16-19). [Google Books]

Edited by Kandace Linstrom

Sarah Dixon, “On the Death of My Dear Brother…”

[SARAH DIXON]

“On the DEATH of My Dear BROTHER, Late of University College, OXFORD. Who Dy’d Young.”

Mournful the Night! with utmost Horror spread;
Which told my trembling Soul, that thine was fled.
To Sense ’twas dreadful, Nature cou’d not bear
So great a Breach, nor the sad Tidings hear,
Without the Symptoms of a wild Despair.                                           5
’Twas then I lost, a Brother and a Friend!
What poinant Grief, must such a Stroke attend?
Tho’ as prophetick of so short a Date,
His Soul was disciplin’d, to meet his Fate,
Yet my Distress no Mitigation finds;                                                      10
That Blessing is reserv’d for stronger Minds:
Minds like his own, who can extend their View;
Sit loose to every transient Good below,
Rise to aetherial Joys, and the bright Track pursue.
Wond’rous young Man! thou early blooming Good,                            15
Snatch’d hence, e’re half thy Virtue’s understood.
In useful Learning, what swift Progress made!
How soon the tender Parents Care repaid.
His toward Genius did with Ease attain,
What some by long Fatigue have sought in vain;                                20
Strict were his Morals, his Address polite!
Wit, Judgment, and Humanity, unite
To make his Loss esteem’d, as infinite.
Ah! faint Description, of a Worth so great;
This a short Sketch, th’ Original compleat.                                            25
Like some Noviciate, I attempt to show,
Those Lines a Master Hand wants Skill to do:
Who can paint Souls? or trace to Realms of Light,
Spirits prepar’d, to reach that glorious Height.
’Twas Heav’n, not Death, that ravish’d him away,                                30
For such Perfection never can decay.

NOTES:

Title On the DEATH of my Dear BROTHER A reference to James Dixon Jr. (1673-1700), brother of Sarah Dixon whose death inspired the poem (Kennedy, Poetic Sisters, 129).

7 poinant Poignant; “painfully sharp to the physical or mental feelings” (OED).

8 prophetick Prophetic; “of the nature of a prophecy or prediction” (OED).

10 Mitigation “Compassion, mercy, or favour” (OED).

14 aetherial Ethereal; “Of or relating to heaven, God, or the gods; heavenly, celestial” (OED).

26 Noviciate “A beginner, a novice; a person who is new to something” (OED).

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Canterbury, 1740), pp. 169-170. [Google Books]

Edited by Lee Hammel

Anonymous, “Verses, Written by a Young Lady, On the Death of her Father.

ANONYMOUS

“Verses, Written by a Young Lady, On the Death of her Father”

 How short a span of miserable life!
And short the blessings that on earth we know!
Forc’d from a tender and a loving wife,
A husband, and a father’s lost below.

No more with happiness I view the morn,                                             5
No more with joy I tread the well-known walk;
Each place to me is dreary and forlorn,
But think in every thing I hear him talk.

When on each plant I turn my wandering eye,
And on each flower I think I see his shade,                                    10
I often stop, and think my father by;
But he is gone, and left this vain parade.

Of life, that transitory, fleeting thing,
To happier realms of everlasting joy:
He’s couch’d beneath th’ Almighty’s heavenly wing,                            15
And bless’d with happiness nothing can destroy.

NOTES:

 7 forlorn “Pitifully sad and abandoned or lonely” (OED).

13 transitory “Not permanent” (OED).

15 Almighty God, the Creator.

12 Printer’s error, period added to this line.

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 59 (Supplement, 1789), p. 1206.

Edited by Sierra Bagstad

Anonymous, “On the Dissection of a Body”

ANONYMOUS

 “On the Dissection of a Body”

 

OBSERVE this wonderful machine,
View its connection with each part,
Thus furnish’d by the hand unseen,
How far surpassing human art!

Should ablest imitators try,                                                                       5
With utmost skill, to form a like,
Could they so charm the curious eye?
Could they with equal wonder strike?

See how the motion of each part
Upon some other still depends,                                                      10
When all a mutual aid impart,
Conductive to their various ends.

Whilst we th’amazing frame explore,
More secret wonders still we spy,
Yet there remain ten thousand more                                                     15
Hid from the microscopic eye.

Here may the stupid Atheist see
Convincing proofs —-which all combine
To overthrow his wretched plan,
And speak the Maker’s hand divine.                                               20

What great emoluments accrue
To those whose Nature’s laws obey?
From such instructions in her view,
Ye sons of Esculapius say!

Tho’God has call’d the life he lent,                                                         25
Each vital function, dormant laid,
Here we trace Nature’s deep intent,
And see how once the springs were play’d.

These tubes convey’d the purple juice,
WhichWhich with new strength supply’d the whole;                   30
And here branch’d forth the nerves, whose use
Was to keep converse with the soul.

This silent preacher points us out
The cause of many a latent ill,
Which, heretofore, lay hid in doubt,                                                       35
Baffling each effort of our skill.

NOTES:

10 other Corrected printer’s error; originally spelled as “othe.”

 21 emoluments “Profit or gain arising from station, office, or employment” (OED).

 24 son of Esculapius Modern physicians. Asclepius, a Greek healer who extended the knowledge of medicine among mankind, was killed by Zeus for charging money to raise the dead, but also revived by Zeus as the god of healing and medicine.

28 springs From the phrase “the springs of life,” or youth (OED).

29 purple juice Blood, as one of the four Hippocratic four humors, is the vital force and innate heat of the body. According to Hippocratic medicine, when blood loses its force and heat, its color changes from red to purple.

34 latent “Of a disease, disorder, infection, or infectious agent: present but not (yet) producing symptoms or clinical signs” (OED).

Source: The Gentlemen’s Magazine, Vol. 40 (August 1770), pp. 385-86.

 Edited by Tammy J. Allen