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Short poem

John Philips (1676-1709)

A Poem in Two Books


From Book I
      1.248The Prudent will observe, what Passions reign
      1.249In various Plants (for not to Man alone,
      1.250But all the wide Creation, Nature gave
      1.251Love, and Aversion): Everlasting Hate
      1.252The Vine to Ivy bears, nor less abhors
      1.253The Coleworts Rankness; but, with amorous Twine,
      1.254Clasps the tall Elm: the Pæstan Rose unfolds
      1.255Her Bud, more lovely, near the fetid Leek,
      1.256(Crest of stout Britons,) and inhances thence
      1.257The Price of her celestial Scent: The Gourd,
      1.258And thirsty Cucumer, when they perceive
      1.259Th' approaching Olive, with Resentment fly
      1.260Her fatty Fibres, and with Tendrils creep
      1.261Diverse, detesting Contact; whilst the Fig
      1.262Contemns not Rue, nor Sage's humble Leaf,
      1.263Close neighbouring: The Herefordian Plant
      1.264Caresses freely the contiguous Peach,
      1.265Hazel, and weight-resisting Palm, and likes
      1.266T' approach the Quince, and th' Elder's pithy Stem;
      1.267Uneasie, seated by funereal Yeugh,
      1.268Or Walnut, (whose malignant Touch impairs
      1.269All generous Fruits), or near the bitter Dews
      1.270Of Cherries. Therefore, weigh the Habits well
      1.271Of Plants, how they associate best, nor let
      1.272Ill Neighbourhood corrupt thy hopeful Graffs.

From Book II
      2.363The Farmer's Toil is done; his Cades mature,
      2.364Now call for Vent, his Lands exhaust permit
      2.365T' indulge awhile. Now solemn Rites he pays
      2.366To Bacchus, Author of Heart-cheering Mirth.
      2.367His honest Friends, at thirsty hour of Dusk,
      2.368Come uninvited; he with bounteous Hand
      2.369Imparts his smoaking Vintage, sweet Reward
      2.370Of his own Industry; the well fraught Bowl
      2.371Circles incessant, whilst the humble Cell
      2.372With quavering Laugh, and rural Jests resounds.
      2.373Ease, and Content, and undissembled Love
      2.374Shine in each Face; the Thoughts of Labour past
      2.375Encrease their Joy. As, from retentive Cage
      2.376When sullen Philomel escapes, her Notes
      2.377She varies, and of past Imprisonment
      2.378Sweetly complains; her Liberty retriev'd
      2.379Cheers her sad Soul, improves her pleasing Song.
      2.380Gladsome they quaff, yet not exceed the Bounds
      2.381Of healthy Temp'rance, nor incroach on Night,
      2.382Season of Rest, but well bedew'd repair
      2.383Each to his Home, with unsupplanted Feet.
      2.384E'er Heav'n's emblazon'd by the Rosie Dawn
      2.385Domestic Cares awake them; brisk they rise,
      2.386Refresh'd, and lively with the Joys that flow
      2.387From amicable Talk, and moderate Cups
      2.388Sweetly' interchang'd. The pining Lover finds
      2.389Present Redress, and long Oblivion drinks
      2.390Of Coy Lucinda. Give the Debtor Wine;
      2.391His Joys are short, and few; yet when he drinks
      2.392His Dread retires, the flowing Glasses add
      2.393Courage, and Mirth: magnificent in Thought,
      2.394Imaginary Riches he enjoys,
      2.395And in the Goal expatiates unconfin'd.
      2.396Nor can the Poet Bacchus' Praise indite,
      2.397Debarr'd his Grape: The Muses still require
      2.398Humid Regalement, nor will aught avail
      2.399Imploring Phœbus, with unmoisten'd Lips.
      2.400Thus to the generous Bottle all incline,
      2.401By parching Thirst allur'd: With vehement Suns
      2.402When dusty Summer bakes the crumbling Clods,
      2.403How pleasant is't, beneath the twisted Arch
      2.404Of a retreating Bow'r, in Mid-day's Reign
      2.405To ply the sweet Carouse, remote from Noise,
      2.406Secur'd of fev'rish Heats! When th' aged Year
      2.407Inclines, and Boreas' Spirit blusters frore,
      2.408Beware th' inclement Heav'ns; now let thy Hearth
      2.409Crackle with juiceless Boughs; thy lingring Blood
      2.410Now instigate with th' Apples powerful Streams.
      2.411Perpetual Showers, and stormy Gusts confine
      2.412The willing Ploughman, and December warns
      2.413To Annual Jollities; now sportive Youth
      2.414Carol incondite Rhythms, with suiting Notes,
      2.415And quaver unharmonious; sturdy Swains
      2.416In clean Array, for rustic Dance prepare,
      2.417Mixt with the Buxom Damsels; hand in hand
      2.418They frisk, and bound, and various Mazes weave,
      2.419Shaking their brawny Limbs, with uncouth Mein,
      2.420Transported, and sometimes, an oblique Leer
      2.421Dart on their Loves, sometimes, an hasty Kiss
      2.422Steal from unwary Lasses; they with Scorn,
      2.423And Neck reclin'd, resent the ravish'd Bliss.
      2.424Mean while, blind British Bards with volant Touch
      2.425Traverse loquacious Strings, whose solemn Notes
      2.426Provoke to harmless Revels; these among,
      2.427A subtle Artist stands, in wondrous Bag
      2.428That bears imprison'd Winds, (of gentler sort
      2.429Than those, which erst Laertes Son enclos'd.)
      2.430Peaceful they sleep, but let the tuneful Squeeze
      2.431Of labouring Elbow rouse them, out they fly
      2.432Melodious, and with spritely Accents charm.
      2.433'Midst these Disports, forget they not to drench
      2.434Themselves with bellying Goblets, nor when Spring
      2.435Returns, can they refuse to usher in
      2.436The fresh-born Year with loud Acclaim, and store
      2.437Of jovial Draughts, now, when the sappy Boughs
      2.438Attire themselves with Blooms, sweet Rudiments
      2.439Of future Harvest: When the Gnossian Crown
      2.440Leads on expected Autumn, and the Trees
      2.441Discharge their mellow Burthens, let them thank
      2.442Boon Nature, that thus annually supplies
      2.443Their Vaults, and with her former Liquid Gifts
      2.444Exhilerate their languid Minds, within
      2.445The Golden Mean confin'd: Beyond, there's naught
      2.446Of Health, or Pleasure. Therefore, when thy Heart
      2.447Dilates with fervent Joys, and eager Soul
      2.448Prompts to persue the sparkling Glass, be sure
      2.449'Tis time to shun it; if thou wilt prolong
      2.450Dire Compotation, forthwith Reason quits
      2.451Her Empire to Confusion, and Misrule,
      2.452And vain Debates; then twenty Tongues at once
      2.453Conspire in senseless Jargon, naught is heard
      2.454But Din, and various Clamour, and mad Rant:
      2.455Distrust, and Jealousie to these succeed,
      2.456And anger-kindling Taunt, the certain Bane
      2.457Of well-knit Fellowship. Now horrid Frays
      2.458Commence, the brimming Glasses now are hurl'd
      2.459With dire Intent; Bottles with Bottles clash
      2.460In rude Encounter, round their Temples fly
      2.461The sharp-edg'd Fragments, down their batter'd Cheeks
      2.462Mixt Gore, and Cyder flow: What shall we say
      2.463Of rash Elpenor, who in evil Hour
      2.464Dry'd an immeasurable Bowl, and thought
      2.465T' exhale his Surfeit by irriguous Sleep,
      2.466Imprudent? Him, Death's Iron-Sleep opprest,
      2.467Descending careless from his Couch; the Fall
      2.468Luxt his Neck-joint, and spinal Marrow bruis'd.
      2.469Nor need we tell what anxious Cares attend
      2.470The turbulent Mirth of Wine; nor all the kinds
      2.471Of Maladies, that lead to Death's grim Cave,
      2.472Wrought by Intemperance, joint-racking Gout,
      2.473Intestine Stone, and pining Atrophy,
      2.474Chill, even when the Sun with July-Heats
      2.475Frys the scorch'd Soil, and Dropsy all a-float,
      2.476Yet craving Liquids: Nor the Centaurs Tale
      2.477Be here repeated; how with Lust, and Wine
      2.478Inflam'd, they fought, and spilt their drunken Souls
      2.479At feasting Hour.


1.253] Coleworts: cabbages.

1.254] Pæstan: of Paestum, a Roman city of Lucania (now Pesti), famed for its roses.

1.255] Leek: onion having a cylindrical bulb and long, broad, and flat leaves.

1.258] Cucumer: cucumber.

1.262] Contemns: is indifferent to.
Rue, nor Sage: the strong woody herb with bitter-tasting leaves, and the aromatic mint.

1.263] The Herefordian Plant: unidentified.

1.264] contiguous: adjacent, touching.

1.267] Yeugh: yew tree.

2.363] Cades: barrels of cider, wine, or other liquor.

2.364] Vent: sael.

2.366] Bacchus: Roman god of wine.

2.370] well fraught: well-filled.

2.376] Philomel: the daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, who was raped by her brother-in-law, Tereus, and then transformed into a nightingale after she and her sister Procne take revenge on him.

2.380] quaff: drink deeply.

2.383] unsupplanted: perhaps meaning `not replaced, i.e., by others' carrying them home' (not in the Oxford English Dictionary).

2.395] the Goal: the gaol or jail.

2.399] Phœbus: Apollo, god of the sun.

2.405] To ply the sweet Carouse: to drink full cups to the health of someone.

2.407] Boreas: north wind.

2.414] incondite: badly composed, unharmonious.

2.419] Mein: mein, manner.

2.424] volant: flying.

2.427] Bag: bagpipes.

2.429] Laertes Son: Ulysses.

2.439] the Gnossian Crown: the constellation Corona Gnossia, reputedly created by Bacchus from the crown that Venus gave to Ariadnes, and rising in mid-October, about the time of autumn or the harvesting of fruit (Lloyd Thomas, 105, n. 439).

2.450] Dire Compotation: devastating drinking bout, bender.

2.456] Bane: source of woe.

2.463] Elpenor: a companion of Ulysses whom Circe transformed into a swine and who, after being released from her enchantment, fell drunkenly from a roof and broke his neck.

2.465] irriguous: shedding moisture, i.e., sweating.

2.468] Luxt: luxated, dislocated, put out of joint.

2.472] Gout: inflammation of the joints by deposits of urates.

2.473] Intestine Stone: exceptionally painful stone or calculus (organic matter embedded in mineral salts) found in the bladder or kidney.
Atrophy: wasting away.

2.475] Dropsy: edema, an accumulation of fluids in the body.

2.476] the Centaurs Tale: the centaurs (half-horses, half-men) became drunk with wine at the marriage of Hippodamia and Peirithous, king of the Lapithae, and assaulted the women present, as a result of which attack the Lapithae expelled the centaurs from their country.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Philips, The Poems of John Philips, ed. M. G. Lloyd Thomas (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1927): 43-87. PR 3619 O3 1927 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1708
Publication date note: Cyder: A Poem in Two Books (London: J. Tonson, 1708). B-10 3699 Fisher Rare Book Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1999.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/10

Form: blank verse

Other poems by John Philips