In 1809, Nathaniel Topliff published a book entitled Poems, Moral, Descriptive, and Political. By Nathaniel Topliff, a Farmer of Dorchester.
Following the longer poems is a section titled Humourous Epitaphs. Here is the first poem in this section.
On a Quack Doctor
Here lies a doctor on his back,
As much renown'd as any quack;
He was a man of shining parts,
But as a secret kept his arts,
And boastig he could cure each ail,
To get much wealth he did not fail,
Well skill'd for children or adults,
Look'd at their tongue and felt their pulse;
But after all it may be said,
He was a bungler at his trade.
His first endeavour was to urge,
By puke, by blister, and by purge.
If all these fail'd to kill or cure,
Why then, to make the business sure,
His pointed lancet soon was found
Of force to lay them under ground;
For, ne'er his patients' sickness heeding,
His chief experiment was bleeding;
Delcaring he, by dint of skill,
The arteries again could fill.
But the heart's healthful fountain drain'd
Prov'd that his skill was only feign'd.
If any person took a cold,
He'd soon prevent his growing old.
Wherever call'd, whoever ail'd,
'Twas ten to one his patient fail'd.
But death at last his serivce quitted,
And all his medic skill outwitted:
And while his bones down here do lie,
Most passengers, as they pass by,
Observe, "his neighbours long do live,
"since no more medicines he can give."
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Created: March 19, 2005 Modified: March 19, 2005