Farewell to Blue Devils, to sickness, and sadness.
This night we devote to the Muses, and gladness.
Farewell to the Doctor; his wig and his cane.
His grave solemn phiz, his ink, paper, and pen.
Farewell to his blister, his draught, and his pill.
And that still more nauseous to swallow; his Bill
No need of fresh Bills; all the world will allow
Without parliament’s aid, that they’re long enough now
Should they grow as they lately have grown, it will befall
That they’ll eat up the Patient, and Doctor, and all.
Or the Patient will keep the poor Doctor at distance,
And let Death do his work without any assistance.
And he, while his Physic all lies on the shelf,
In danger of starving, must take it himself.
But farewell to the Doctor, an age since I said,
But he and his Bill yet will run in my head.
There’s no getting them out where but once they get in
Yet away with them now, that the Chest may begin.
Again are we met round this shrine of the Muses
In defiance of sickness, delays, and excuses.
Here are the maidens more fair than were Chloe or Phillis,
Than Phoebe the gay, or than famed Amaryllis.
Who tho’s sitting around, all so still and demure
Will often give wounds, that no Doctor can cure. And youths who more sweetly than Linus can sing
When the Muses are kind, and their courser takes wing
All crowd round the fire, which burns brightly and clear
To Genius devoted, to Englishmen dear.
And now the famed Chest is brought in by the Graces
Away at the signal, away to your places.
And you to whom your lays to such honor can give,
The Snuffers, and hammer of Silence receive.
The Snuffers their aid can these candles require,
Which the Muses should fee with unquenchable fire,
Or if they should fail, let us call on the moon
But no need of her light, we’ve a Star of our own.
The reading begins — poems serious or gay
While the audience to find out the author essay,
Their care to seem careless the culprits betray
Some skulk in a corner, to shun observations
Some gaze on the ceiling, in mute admiration
Some sink back on the sofa, their eyelids some close
Some cough and some hem, and some few blow their nose
And some look as sad as the caitiff who hears
When the judge the dread sentence of hanging declares.
But hush for the hammer has thrice made a clatter,
Silence gentlemen all; that the Ladies may chatter.