The Head-Ach, or An Ode to Health by Jane Cave Winscom

Inserted in the Bristol Newspaper by the AUTHOR, May 25, 1793.

O HEALTH! thou dear invaluable guest!
Thy rosy subjects, how supremely blest!
Hear the blith milk-maid and the plough-boy sing,
Nor envy they the station of a king;
While Kings thy sweets to gain would gladly bow,
Resign their crowns and guide the rustic’s plough:
Thou pearl surpassing riches, power or birth!
Of blessings thou the greatest known on earth!
Thy value’s found like that of bards of yore,
We know to prize thee when thou art no more!

Ah! Why from me; art thou for ever flown?
Why deaf to ev’ry agonizing groan?
Not one short month for ten revolving years,
But pain within my frame its sceptre rears!
In each successive month full twelve long days
And tedious nights my sun withdraws his rays!
Leaves me in silent anguish on my bed,
Afflicting all the members in the head;
Through ev’ry particle the torture flies,
But centers in the temples, brain and eyes;
The efforts of the hands and feet are vain,
While bows the head with agonizing pain;
While heaves the breast th’ unutterable sigh,
And the big tear drops from the languid eye.
For ah! my children want a mother’s care,
A husband too, should due assistance share;
Myself for action form’d would fain thro’ life
Be found th’ assiduous–valuable wife;
But now, behold, I live unfit for aught;
Inactive half my days except in thought,
And this so vague while torture clogs my hours,
I sigh, Oh, ‘twill derange my mental powers!
Or by its dire excess dissolve my sight,
And thus entomb me in perptual night!

Ye sage Physicians, where’s your wonted skill?
In vain the blisters, bolusses and pill;
Great Neptune’s swelling waves in vain I try’d,
My malady its utmost power defy’d;
In vain the British and Cephalic Snuff,
All Patent Medicines are empty stuff;
The launcet, leech, and cupping swell the train
Of useless efforts, which but gave me pain;
Each art and application rain has prov’d,
For ah! my sad complaint is not remo’v’d.

Live’s one on earth possess’d of sympathy,
Who knows what is presum’d a remedy?
O send it hither! I again would try,
Tho’ in the attempt of conqu’ring I die.
For thus to languish on is worse than death,
And I have hope if Heav’n recall my breath.

From: Cave, Jane. Poems on various subjects, entertaining, elegiac, and religious, by Miss Cave, now Mrs. Winscom. The fourth edition, corrected and improved, with many additional poems, never before published, 1794, N. Biggs: Bristol, pp. 152-155.
(http://find.galegroup.com.rp.nla.gov.au/ecco/infomark.do?&source=gale&prodId=ECCO&userGroupName=nla&tabID=T001&docId=CW113705350&type=multipage&contentSet=ECCOArticles&version=1.0&docLevel=FASCIMILE)

Date: 1793

By: Jane Cave Winscom (?1754-1812)

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