Sunday, August 20, 2017

1760 Spas, Wells, & Baths for Health - Bagingge Wells Poem by William Woty 1731–1791


WELLS, and the place I sing, at early dawn
Frequented oft, where male and female meet,
And strive to drink a long adieu to pain.
In that refreshing Vale with fragrance fill'd
... where each by turns
His venal Doxy woo'd, and stil'd the place
Black Mary's Hole-there stands a Dome superb,
Hight Bagnigge; where, from our Forefathers hid,
Long have two Springs in dull stagnation slept;
But taught at length by subtle art to flow,
They rise, forth from Oblivion's bed they rise,
And manifest their Virtues to Mankind.
Of these the one will purge the human frame
The other call'd Chalybeate, corroborates the Nerves,
And winds up firm the tottering Jack of Life.
Delightful Spot! and bounded on the right
With summit super-eminent, debas'd
With Dunghill's name inglorious! tho' by some
Than Pindus' Mount more priz'd, or cloud-crown'd head
Of strong-bas'd Promontory. For from thence
Springs richer Pasturage, and Earth receives
The stercorareous Compost with a smile.
From hence the eye surveys the faint remains
Of Land Hockleian, where the race canine
Whilom were wont with surly bulls to cope,
And rugged Russian bears, much fam'd of old
For black-ey'd Heroes, where stout Britons dar'd
The Combat of the Fist, jaw-breaking sport,
Discountenanc' d of late. Sweet brick-kiln there
Wheels up the steep of air its dusky wreaths,
Cloud above cloud ascending. Sight of sights!
Efluvium strong! yet preferable far
To leaf of myrtle, or the flower of bean.

Close by the Garden Wall meand'ring stream
Its jetty Wave devolves, degraded oft
With term of Ditch. Insinuation vile!
Dishonourable name! and rough to ear
Of Water-drinking Mortal. Silence! thou,
Do thou the lips of bitter Malice close,
If once she dare the gliding Lymph prophane,
Or with unhallow'd tongue proclaim it foul.

A holey Temple there invites the view
To Cloacina sacred. Here repair
In order due her Votaries well-pleas'd,
And offer up their Morning Sacrifice
With lowly reverence, performing rites
With modest face, averted from the Fane.
Here ambulates th' Attorney looking grave,
And Rake from Bacchanalian rout uprose,
And mad festivity. Here, too, the Cit
With belly turtle-stuffed, and Man of Gout
With leg of size enormous. Hobbling on,
The pump-room he salutes, and in the chair
He squats himself unwieldy. Much he drinks,
And much he laughs to see the females quaff,
The friendly beverage. He, nor jest obscene,
Of meretrician wench, nor quibble quaint
Of prentic'd punster heeds, himself a wit
And dealer in conundrunis, hut retorts
The repartee jocosely- ...
Farewel, sweet vale! how much dost thou excel
Arno or Andalusia !-More methinks b
Than do the hills around thy bosom girt
The mounts recourded in poetic song.
Yet e'er I leave thy bounds, let me proclaim
With voice of inspiration, that from thee,
And from thy genuine Wells our heads derive,
Their fluid volatility.--And hence
The dull Mechanic, careless of his shop,
Into a Politician brightens. Hence
The man of Law conceives, and hence the Bard
"Bursts forth all oracle, and mystic song."

- Shrubs of Parnassus. - J. COPYWELL - William Woty (1731–1791)  1760.