[Page 40]


1 If in the Body-politic you see
2 Rebellion, rapine, bloodshed, anarchy,
3 That state you say is lost! So when you find
4 The body human with distemper'd mind,
5 The blood corrupted, and the fever high,
6 You doubt not to pronounce that man must die.
7 Now in the way of Fable we'll suppose
8 Rebellion in the human frame arose;
9 Each member loudly sounded forth his merit,
10 And cried, t' obey the Head shew'd want of spirit,
11 'Twas time the Limbs should now assert their part,
12 And overturn the empire of the Heart.
[Page 41]
13 The stubborn Knees declar'd no more they'd bend
14 For God or King, nor any strength would lend
15 To bear a Head of such unwieldy size;
16 To hear and see requir'd not Ears and Eyes;
17 All parts were equal, and had each a right
18 T' assume the gift of hearing and of sight.
19 Whereat the Feet stept forth with furious sound
20 Stamping and swearing they'd not touch the ground;
21 Henceforth aloft they'd rise erect in air,
22 And make the daintier Hands the burden bear.
23 This said, the Hands indignant caught th' alarm,
24 And struggling tried to separate from the Arm;
25 Aloud they clapp'd, and summon'd all to fight
26 To fix their freedom, and enforce their right.
27 And now Convulsion seiz'd on every part,
28 Loud beat each Pulse, and terror shook the Heart;
29 Within was heard a horrid noise and rout,
30 The Inside claim'd the right to be the Out.
[Page 42]
31 The Lungs protested they'd not draw the breath;
32 They car'd not if it brought on instant death;
33 'Twere better all were lost than they denied
34 The right to hold a share in the Outside.
35 The Stomach roar'd he soon wou'd stop digestion,
36 If e'er his outside right was call'd in question:
37 The Veins declar'd they'd not perform their part,
38 Nor longer throw the blood up to the Heart;
39 The Heart might feed itself, or yield it's place
40 To those, who'd fill it with a better grace.
41 On this the Liver writh'd himself around,
42 And swore that long, though rotten and unsound,
43 He'd sought that place; he now would seize the throne.
44 For he was fit to rule, and he alone.
45 This rous'd the Spleen, who on the vitals fed,
46 Planning by craft the downfal of the Head;
47 But now o'ercharg'd with envy, rage, and guile,
48 In haste he rose, and overset the Bile.
[Page 43]
49 Thus all within was agony and strife,
50 Each fresh convulsion seem'd to threaten life;
51 The Limbs distorted rise they give the blow,
52 And soon the Head (so honour'd once) lay low.
53 And now behold the Body's wretched state,
54 Taught by this sad example, ere too late,
55 That such each Body-politic must be,
56 Where foul rebellion reigns and anarchy.


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Title (in Source Edition): THE BODY-POLITIC.
Genres: allegory

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Source edition

Alcock [née Cumberland], Mary, 1741?–1798. Poems, &c. &c. by the Late Mrs. Mary Alcock [poems only]. London: Printed for C. Dilly, Poultry, 1799, pp. 40-43. vii,[25],183,[1]p. (ESTC T86344) (Page images digitized by University of Michigan Library.)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Mary Alcock (née Cumberland)