When Phoebus heard Ellen a recipe read
He vow’d by old Styx to retaliate the deed:
Then posted to fam’d Epidaurus’s top
Where grave Esculapius first open’d his shop.
“My Son!” cries the God, “are you weary of trade
That thus your prescriptions in verse are arrayed?
My credit and yours must be fast growing worse
If poets teach physic, and druggists learn verse!”
“Prescriptions! believe me, no mortal will need’em
If poets can write and a lady can read’em!
Let lovers for smooth-sounding similes seek,
But Wisdom should thunder in Latin or Greek.”
“Besides, what disgrace to the Muses and me,
If doctors join physic and verse for a fee!
Man’s knell will be rung in poetical chime
And death-warrants sign’d in hexameter rhyme.”
The God of the Pestle and Mortar replied
“Not me, but fair Ellen, Apollo should chide!
She baffles my skill with a whim or a jest,
And keeps for my patients a new Medicine Chest.”
“There, crown’d with your laurels, three Priestesses sit,
My oracles mocking with infidel wit:
Their tongues hypochondria and megrims beguile,
And Care they dismiss with a verse and a smile!”
“But let not my foes on their medicines rely,
Such smiling physicians cheat oft’ner than I:
These Charmers bid headaches and heartaches depart,
But take for their fees — both the head and the heart!”