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ELEGY V. To a FRIEND Sick. Written at Rome, 1756.

1 'TWAS in this
b The Insula Tiberina, where there are still some small remains of the famous temple of Aesculapius.
isle, O Wright indulge my lay,
2 Whose naval form divides the Tuscan flood,
3 In the bright dawn of her illustrious day
4 Rome fix'd her Temple to the healing God.
5 Here stood his altars, here his arm he bared,
6 And round his mystic staff the serpent twin'd,
7 Through crowded portals hymns of praise were heard,
8 And victims bled, and sacred seers divin'd.
9 On every breathing wall, on every round
10 Of column, swelling with proportion'd grace,
11 Its stated seat some votive tablet found,
12 And storied wonders dignified the place.
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13 Oft from the balmy blessings of repose,
14 And the cool stillness of the night's deep shade,
15 To light and health th' exulting Votarist rose,
16 Whilst fancy work'd with med'cine's powerful aid.
17 Oft in his dreams (no longer clogg'd with fears
18 Of some broad torrent, or some headlong steep,
19 With each dire form Imagination wears
20 When harrass'd Nature sinks in turbid sleep)
21 Oft in his dreams he saw diffusive day
22 Through bursting glooms its cheerful beams extend;
23 On billowy clouds saw sportive Genii play,
24 And bright Hygeia from her heaven descend.
25 What marvel then, that man's o'erflowing mind
26 Should wreath-bound columns raise, and altars fair,
27 And grateful offerings pay, to Powers so kind,
28 Tho' fancy-form'd, and creatures of the Air.
29 Who that has writh'd beneath the scourge of pain,
30 Or felt the burthen'd languor of disease,
31 But would with joy the slightest respite gain,
32 And idolize the hand which lent him ease?
33 To Thee, my friend, unwillingly to thee
34 For truths like these the anxious Muse appeals.
35 Can Memory answer from affliction free,
36 Or speaks the sufferer what, I fear, he feels?
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37 No, let me hope ere this in Romely grove
38 Hygeia revels with the blooming Spring,
39 Ere this the vocal seats the Muses love
40 With hymns of praise, like Paeon's temple, ring.
41 It was not written in the book of Fate
42 That, wand'ring far from Albion's sea-girt plain,
43 Thy distant Friend should mourn thy shorter date,
44 And tell to alien woods and streams his pain.
45 It was not written. Many a year shall roll,
46 If aught th' inspiring Muse aright presage,
47 Of blameless intercourse from Soul to Soul,
48 And friendship well matur'd from Youth to Age.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): ELEGY V. To a FRIEND Sick. Written at Rome, 1756.
Themes: illness; injury; friendship
Genres: heroic couplet; elegy
References: DMI 27828

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Source edition

Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764. A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. VI. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 54-56. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.006) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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