Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE MODERN TIPPLING PHILOSOPHERS, by JAMES HAY BEATTIE



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THE MODERN TIPPLING PHILOSOPHERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Father hodge had his pipe and his dram
Last Line: If I blame, be assured I am tipsy.
Subject(s): Bacon, Roger (1214-1292); Drinks & Drinking; Hobbes, Thomas (1588-1679); Philosophy & Philosophers; Science; Wine; Scientists


FATHER HODGE had his pipe and his dram,
And at night, his cloy'd thirst to awaken,
He was served with a rasher of ham,
Which procured him the surname of Bacon.
He has shown, that, though logical science
And dry theory oft prove unhandy,
Honest Truth will ne'er set at defiance
Experiment aided by brandy.

Des Cartes bore a musket, they tell us,
Ere he wish'd, or was able, to write,
And was noted among the brave fellows,
Who are bolder to tipple than fight.
Of his system the cause and design
We no more can be posed to explain:—
The materio subtilis was wine,
And the vortices whirl'd in his brain.

Old Hobbes, as his name plainly shows,
At a hob-nob was frequently tried:
That all virtue from selfishness rose
He believed, and all laughter from pride.
The truth of this creed he would brag on,
Smoke his pipe, murder Homer, and quaff;
Then staring, as drunk as a dragon,
In the pride of his heart he would laugh.

Sir Isaac discovered, it seems,
The nature of colours and light,
In remarking the tremulous beams
That swom on his wandering sight.
Ever Sapient, sober though seldom,
From experience attraction he found,
By observing, when no one upheld him,
That his wise head fell souse on the ground,

As to Berkeley's philosophy—he has
Left his poor pupils nought to inherit,
But a swarm of deceitful ideas
Kept, like other monsters, in spirit.
Tar-drinkers can't think what's the matter,
That their health does not mend, but decline:
Why, they take but some wine to their water,
He took but some water to wine.

One Mandeville once, or Man-devil,
(Either name you may give as you please)
By a brain ever brooding on evil,
Hatch'd a monster call'd Fable of Bees.
Vice, said he, aggrandizes a people;
By this light let my conduct be view'd;
I swagger, swear, guzzle, and tipple:
And d_____ye, 'tis all for your good.

D_____H_____ate a swinging great dinner,
And grew every day fatter and fatter;
And yet the huge hulk of a sinner
Said there was neither spirit nor matter.
Now there's no sober man in the nation,
Who such nonsense could write, speak, or think:
It follows, by fair demonstration.
That he philosophised in his drink.

As a smuggler even P_____could sin;
Who, in hopes the poor gauger of frightening,
While he filled the case-bottles with gin,
Swore he filled them with thunder and lightning.
In his cups, (when Locke's laid on the shelf)
Could he speak, he would frankly confess it t'ye,
That, unable to manage himself,
He puts his whole trust in Necessity.

If the young in rash folly engage,
How closely continues the evil!
Old Franklin retains, as a sage,
The thirst he acquired when a devil.
That charging drives fire from a phial,
It was natural for him to think,
After finding, from many a trial,
That drought may be kindled by drink.

A certain high priest could explain,
How the soul is but nerve at the most;
And how Milton had glands in his brain,
That secreted the Paradise Lost.
And sure, it is what they deserve,
Of such theories if I aver it,
They are not even dictates of nerve,
But mere muddy suggestions of claret.

Our Holland philosophers say, Gin
Is the true philosophical drink,
As it made Doctor H_____y imagine
That to shake is the same as to think.
For, while drunkenness throbb'd in his brain,
The sturdy materialist chose (O fye!)
To believe its vibrations not pain,
But wisdom, and downright philosophy.

Ye sages, who shine in my verse,
On my labours with gratitude think,
Which condemn not the faults they rehearse,
But impute all your sin to your drink.
In drink, poets, philosophers, mob, err;
Then excuse, if my satire e'er nips ye:
When I praise, think me prudent and sober,
If I blame, be assured I am tipsy.





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