Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AN IMITATION OF SPENCER, by                    
First Line: Full many a fiend did haunt this house
Last Line: Those weary realms, and kept ease-loving men awake.
Subject(s): Love; Romance


1 FULL many a fiend did haunt this house of rest,
And made of passive wights an easy prey.
Here Lethargy with deadly sleep opprest,
Stretched on his back a mighty lubbard lay,
Heaving his sides; and snored night and day.
To stir him from his traunce it was not eath,
And his half-opened eyne he shut straightway:
He led I ween the softest way to death,
And taught withouten pain or strife to yield the breath.

2 Of limbs enormous, but withal unsound,
Soft-swoln and pale, here lay the Hydropsie;
Unwieldy man, with belly monstrous round
For ever fed with watery supply;
For still he drank, and yet he still was dry.
And here a moping mystery did sit,
Mother of Spleen, in robes of various dye:
She called herself the Hypochondriac Fit,
And frantic seemed to some, to others seemed a wit.

3 A lady was she whimsical and proud,
Yet oft through fear her pride would crouchen low.
She felt or fancied in her fluttering mood
All the diseases that the spitals know,
And sought all physic that the shops bestow;
And still new leeches and new drugs would try.

'Twas hard to hit her humour high or low,
For sometimes she would laugh and sometimes cry,
Sometimes would waxen wroth; and all she knew not why.

4 Fast by her side a listless virgin pined,
With aching head and squeamish heart-burnings:
Pale, bloated, cold, she seemed to hate mankind,
But loved in secret all forbidden things.
And here the Tertian shook his chilling wings;
And here the Gout, half tiger, half a snake,
Raged with an hundred teeth, an hundred stings:
These and a thousand furies more did shake
Those weary realms, and kept ease-loving men awake.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net