The twenty-fifth of November, 2010: Lady Mary and a bout of constipation

Augustan pin-up Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762)

Lady Wortley Montagu is just here to add some colour and vim to an otherwise dry post on eighteenth-century poetry. I’ll probably write a post about her at some point, though.

Here’s some healthcare advice.

Ye who amid this feverish world would wear

A body free of pain, of cares a mind,

Fly the rank city, flee its turbid air.

John Armstrong, from ‘The Art of Preserving Health’ (1744)

From the same century, some choice invective:

Mayst thou die desperate in some dirty pool,

Catching, conceited, choleric old fool!

Thus prays thy lodger with his heart and pen;

And all who know thee sure will say – Amen!

George Farewell, ‘An Adieu To My Landlady’ (1733)

(In another poem, ‘Privy-love For My Landlady’ (1733), Farewell thanks his landlady for curing him of a bout of constipation:

Here costive many minutes did I strain,

Still squeezing, sweating, swearing, all in vain;

When lo! who should pop by but Mother Masters,

At whose bewitching look soon stubborn arse stirs.

No more my wanton wit shall whip thy wife,

Dear, doting Dick, for O! she saved my life.)

And, to finish, a ribald bit of Augustan blue (which sounds like it should be either a cheese or a pedigree rabbit, but is neither):

Why, Jack, how now? I hear strange stories,

How Molly—what-d’ye-call’t your whore is:

Hold,—blot that word;—rhyme forc’d it in,

Your dear kind mistress, Sir, I mean:

And people say, but whisper that,

That she, poor soul! is big with brat.

If this, as I believe, is true,

In what a cursed case are you!

You must the Child maintain and father,

Or hang, or marry, which you’d rather:

Confounded choices all, I vow:

But you ne’er dream’d of these till now.

These thoughts, alas! were ne’er in your head,

Th’ unlucky feat was done hand o’er head:

Reason was then esteem’d a bastard,

True pleasure’s foe, a fearful dastard,

And by stiff passion over-master’d.

Robert Dodsley, ‘An Epistle To My Friend J.B.‘  (1732)

No idea who J.B. was, I’m afraid.

Thanks and praise be to The New Oxford Book of Eighteenth-Century Verse, Roger Lonsdale ed. (OUP, 2009).

Here costive many minutes did I strain,
Still squeezing, sweating, swearing, all in vain;
When lo! who should pop by but Mother Masters,
At whose bewitching look soon stubborn arse stirs.
No more my wanton wit shall whip thy wife,
Dear, doting Dick, for O! she saved my life. 

Here costive many minutes did I strain,

Still squeezing, sweating, swearing, all in vain;

When lo! who should pop by but Mother Masters,

At whose bewitching look soon stubborn arse stirs.

No more my wanton wit shall whip thy wife,

Dear, doting Dick, for O! she saved my life.

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