ODE TO HEALTH.
1 HENCE meagre pale Disease,
2 From the crude banquets of Intemperance bred;
3 Nurs'd in the sluggard bed,
4 And folded in the arms of pamper'd Ease:
5 Hence to Boeotian bogs;
6 Whence humid Auster on his dropping wings
7 Gross exhalations brings,
8 Where rank effluvia from the marshy brake,
9 Or murky stagnate lake
10 Pregnant with ills arise in misty fogs.
11 And come, Hygeia, bland and fair,
12 Flush'd with the glow of morning air;
13 With coral lip and sparkling eye,
14 Complexion of ensanguin'd dye;[Page 295]
15 With chearful smile, and open brow,
16 Where Care could ne'er one surrow plow;
17 With steady step, and aspect sleek,
18 The rose that glows on Stella's cheek,
19 And snowy bosom, whence exhales
20 The sweetness of Etesian gales.
21 In sylvan scenes is thy delight,
22 To climb the towering mountain's height,
23 Or blithely on thy native plain
24 To gambol with the Dryad train.
25 Those plains, where in unguarded hour
26 Far from the ken of her chaste bower,
27 As o'er the dew-bespangled glade
28 Rov'd Temperance the mountain maid;
29 She stopt, in fixt attention viewing
30 Lusty Exercise pursuing,
31 With missive shaft and beechen spear,
32 Thro' opening lawns the trembling deer.
33 The God surveys the musing dame,
34 The lover quits his flying game:
35 His tresses dropp'd with morning dew,
36 While to the wood-nymph's arms he flew;
37 And from their hale embraces sprung
38 Hygeia, ever fair and young.
39 Long, virgin, may thy genial fire
40 Each late exhausted vein inspire,
41 The crimson tide of life renew,
42 And give to glide in channels blue.
43 Thee Wit and Mirth spontaneous serve,
44 That give a tone to every nerve,[Page 296]
45 Invoke thee, Harmony's bright Queen,
46 To tune the disarrang'd machine.
47 The glow of Titan's orient ray
48 Thy happy pencil shall pourtray
49 With grace more exquisite than lies
50 In Guido's air, or Titian's dyes;
51 Hence the pale hue of Sickness chase,
52 And call up each reviving grace.
53 O'er which as late with haggard hand
54 Consumption shook her magic wand;
55 Nature's last debt prepar'd to pay
56 Youth's drooping flowers 'gan fade away:
57 No crimson hue was seen to glow,
58 The stagnate blood forgot to flow;
59 Their lustre fled, the languid eyes
60 Stood fixt in motionless surprise;
61 Each sense seem'd lost in endless night,
62 The trembling soul was wing'd for flight:
63 Which Death's rude shaft had half set free
64 In unconceiv'd eternity.
65 Then, Varus, was the power display'd
66 Of medicine's heaven-directed aid.
67 Vers'd in each drug's balsamic use
68 The Daedal soils of earth produce,
69 In every flower of every hue,
70 And herb that drinks the morning dew,
71 Thy lenient hand allay'd each throw,
72 And gave a milder face to Woe;
73 Bade the bold pulse elastic play,
74 The eye emit its vivid ray,[Page 297]
75 Call'd back the flitting life again,
76 And Health inspir'd thro' every vein.
77 Again thrills with her genial zest
78 Each nerve; again my languid breast
79 Visits the cherub Joy. For this
80 May thy auspicious heart ne'er miss,
81 Oft as the fair for charms decay'd
82 Implores thy salutary aid,
83 To smooth the lovely mourner's brow,
84 And bid reviving beauties glow;
85 To soothe the tender parent's cries,
86 And wipe the tears from infant eyes.
87 But chief, my Muse, with reverent awe
88 To Him, whose will is Nature's law,
89 Thy hymns of gratulation pay,
90 To Him direct the tribute lay,
91 From whom derives the balmy pill
92 Its virtues, the physician skill:
93 That o'er each act and thought presides,
94 Directs his hand, his counsel guides:
95 Else medicine's unavailing store
96 Shall vainly glide thro' every pore,
97 Thro' every pore the mineral rill
98 In vain its gifted powers instill.
99 Father Divine, Eternal King,
100 To thee I wake the trembling string:
101 If mad Ambition ne'er misled
102 In paths where Virtue dares not tread,
103 My vagrant step; if sordid views
104 Ne'er won the prostituted Muse;[Page 298]
105 For others let Pactolus flow,
106 Let Honour wreathe another's brow:
107 Health I intreat; whose jocund throng
108 Wantons each laughing grace among;
109 With Health the dancing minutes crown'd,
110 The field of all my wishes bound.