Archive for June 13th, 2013

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Lady and the Doctor by Helen Leigh

A physician of eminence, some years ago,
Was called in, to attend on a lady of fashion,
Who had long been admired — and the toast of each beau,
Tho’ now, her sunk features excited compassion.

The doctor no sooner the lady had eyed,
Than he begged, ‘She for once would his freedom forgive
If he stepped from the rules of good breeding aside,
To mention the terms on which she might live.’

‘By all means,’ cried the lady, ‘for surely no word
A physician may utter, should e’er give offence;
Punctilio, in illness, is always absurd,
And shows either doctor, or patient wants sense.’

‘Why then, my dear lady, I cannot resist
Pronouncing this truth, like a plain honest man;
That if, in the use of white paint you persist
No medicine will save you, do all that I can.’

‘You astonish me, Doctor! but, such is my case,
That I may as well die, as leave painting alone;
For, should I appear with my natural face
   Amongst my acquaintance — I should not be known.’

From: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/182496

Date: 1788

By: Helen Leigh (?-c1795)