The Hip

by William Somervile

William Somervile


The Day after the great Meteor, in March 1715.

This dismal morn, when east winds blow,
And every languid pulse beats low,
With face most sorrowfully grim,
And head oppress'd with wind and whim,
Grave as an owl, and just as witty,
To thee I twang my doleful ditty,
And in mine own dull rhymes would find
Music to sooth my restless mind:
But oh! my friend, I sing in vain,
No doggrel can relieve my pain;
Since thou art gone, my heart's desire,
And heav'n, and earth, and sea, conspire
To make my miseries complete;
Where shall a wretched Hip retreat?
What shall a drooping mortal do,
Who pines for sunshine and for you?
If in the dark alcove I dream,
And you or Phillis is my theme,
While love or friendship warm my soul,
My shins are burning to a coal.
If rais'd to speculations high,
I gaze the stars and spangled sky,
With heart devout and wondering eye,
Amaz'd I view strange globes of light;
Meteors with horrid lustre bright
My guilty trembling soul affright.
To Mother Earth's prolific bed,
Pensive I stoop my giddy head,
From thence, too, all my hopes are fled.
Nor flowers, nor grass, nor shrubs, appear
To deck the smiling infant year,
But blasts my tender blossoms wound,
And desolation reigns around.
If sea-ward my dark thoughts I bend,
O' where will my misfortunes end?
My loyal soul distracted meets
Attainted dukes and Spanish fleets
Thus jarring elements unite,
Pregnant with wrongs, and arm'd with spite;
Successive mischiefs every hour
On my devoted head they pour.
Whate'er I do, where'er I go,
'Tis still an endless scene of woe.
'Tis thus disconsolate I mourn,
I faint, I die, till thy return;
Till thy brisk wit and humorous vein
Restore me to myself again.
Let others vainly seek for ease
From Galen or Hippocrates,
I scorn such nauseous aids as these:
Haste then, my dear! unbrib'd attend;
The best elixir is a friend.

Last updated November 21, 2017