Edward Young

(June 1683 - 5 April 1765 / Upham / England)

Love of Fame, The Universal Passion (excerpt)


Man's rich with little, were his judgment true;
Nature is frugal, and her wants are few;
Those few wants answer'd, bring sincere delights;
But fools create themselves new appetites:
Fancy and pride seek things at vast expense,
Which relish not to reason, nor to sense.
When surfeit, or unthankfulness, destroys,
In nature's narrow sphere, our solid joys,
In fancy's airy land of noise and show,
Where nought but dreams, no real pleasures grow;
Like cats in air-pumps, to subsist we strive
On joys too thin to keep the soul alive.
Lemira's sick; make haste; the doctor call:
He comes; but where's his patient? At the ball.
The doctor stares; her woman curt'sies low,
And cries, "My lady, sir, is always so:
Diversions put her maladies to flight;
True, she can't stand, but she can dance all night:
I've known my lady (for she loves a tune)
For fevers take an opera in June:
And, though perhaps you'll think the practice bold,
A midnight park is sovereign for a cold:
With colics, breakfasts of green fruit agree;
With indigestions, supper just at three."
A strange alternative, replied Sir Hans,
Must women have a doctor, or a dance?
Though sick to death, abroad they safely roam,
But droop and die, in perfect health, at home:
For want--but not of health, are ladies ill;
And tickets cure beyond the doctor's bill.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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