Archive for September 12th, 2016

Monday, 12 September 2016

Lines 186-219 from “Book IV. The Passions” in “The Art of Preserving Health” by John Armstrong

A heavy morning comes; your cares return
With tenfold rage. An anxious stomach well
May be endur’d; so may the throbbing head;
But such a dim delirium, such a dream,
Involves you; such a dastardly despair
Unmans your soul, as maddening Pentheus felt,
When, baited round Cithæron’s cruel sides,
He saw two suns, and double Thebes ascend.
You curse the sluggish Port; you curse the wretch,
The felon, with unnatural mixture first
Who dar’d to violate the virgin Wine.
Or on the fugitive Champaign you pour
A thousand curses; for to heaven it rapt
Your soul, to plunge you deeper in despair.
Perhaps you rue e’en that divinest gift
The gay, serene, good-natur’d Burgundy,
Or the fresh fragrant vintage of the Rhine:
And wish that heaven from mortals had with-held
The grape, and all intoxicating bowls.

Besides, it wounds you sore to recollect
What follies in your loose unguarded hour
Escap’d. For one irrecoverable word,
Perhaps that meant no harm, you lose a friend.
Or in the rage of wine your hasty hand
Performs a deed that haunts you to your grave,
Add that your means, your health, your parts decay;
Your friends avoid you; brutishly transform’d
They hardly know you; or if one remains
To wish you well, he wishes you in heaven.
Despis’d, unwept you fall; who might have lest
A sacred, cherish’d, sadly-pleasing name;
A name still to be utter’d with a sigh.
Your list ungraceful scene has quite effac’d
All sense and memory of your former worth.

From: Armstrong, John, The Miscellaneous Works of John Armstrong, M.D. in Verse and Prose: Viz. The Œconomy of Love; The Art of Preserving Health; Marriage, an Ode; Benevolence; Taste, an Epistle; A Day, an Epistle to John Wilkes, Esq.; Sketches or Essays on Various Subjects, 1767, L. Flin: Dublin, pp. 76-77.

Date: 1744

By: John Armstrong (1709-1779)