Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ASTROLOGER'S ADDRESS, by JOHN BYROM



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ASTROLOGER'S ADDRESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Fellow citizens all, for whose safety I peep
Last Line: And if none of these happen, 'twill be a great wonder.
Subject(s): Astrology & Astrologers; Planets; Prophecy & Prophets; Stars; Universe


FELLOW Citizens all, for whose safety I peep
All night at the stars, and all day go to sleep,
Attend while I shew you the meaning of Fate
In all the strange sights we have seen here of late;
'And thou, O Astrology, Goddess divine,
Celestial Decipheress, gently incline
Thine ears and thine aid to a lover of science,
That bids to all learning but thine a defiance.

For what learning else is there half so engaging
As an art where the terms of themselves are presaging?
By mutt'ring o'er which, any gentle mechanic
May put his whole neighbourhood into a panic;
Where a noddle well turn'd for prediction and shoes,
If it can but remember hard words, cannot choose,
From the Prince on the throne to the dairy maid milking,
But read all their fortunes in yonder blue welkin.

For the sky is a book, which in letters of gold
Shews all things that almanacks ever foretold;
Which he that can read and interpret also—
What is there that such an one-cannot foreshew?
When a true son of art ponders over the stars
They reflect back upon him the face of affairs;
Of all things of moment they give him an inkling,
While Empires and Kingdoms depend on their twinkling.

Your transits, your comets, eclipses, conjunctions,
Have all, it is certain, their several functions,
And on this globe of earth here both jointly and singly
Do influence matters most astonishingly.
But to keep in some method on this same occasion,
We'll give you a full and true interpretation
Of all the Phenomena we have rehears'd,
Of which in their order; and first of the first:

As for Mercury's travelling over the sun,
There's nothing in that, Sirs, when all's said and done;
For what will be, will be; and Mercury's transit,
I'm pos'tive, will neither retard nor advance it.
But when a conjunction or comet takes place,
Or a total eclipse, that's a different case;
They that laugh at our art, may here see with their eyes,
That some things, at least, may appear from the skies.

A conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars,
You, gentlemen, may, if you please, turn to farce;
But what if it plainly appear that three men
Are foretold by three planets, what will ye say then?
Now, to prove this, I'll only make one small request,
Which is, that you'll all turn your faces to th' East;
And then you shall see ere I've done my epistle,
If I don't make it out as clean as a whistle.

In the first place, old Saturn we very well know,
Lost his kingdom and provinces some time ago;
Nor was it long after old Saturn's disgrace
That Jupiter mov'd to step into his place;
And Mars we all know was a quarrelsome bully,
That beat all his neighbours most unmercifully;
And now who can doubt who these gentlemen are?
Saturn, Jupiter, Mars,—Sophi, Sultan, and Czar.

But to prove nearer home that the stars have not trifl'd,
Pray have we not lost (cruel star!) Doctor Byfield?
Alas! friends at Richard's, alas! what a chasm
Will be made in the annals of enthusiasm!
As soon as the comet appear'd in the sky,
Pray did not the Doctor straight sicken and die?
I wonder how folks could discover a comet
And yet never draw this plain consequence from it?

The death of the Regent might shew, if it needed,
Why they saw it in France so much plainer than we did.
And how well it forebodes to our nobles and princes,
That its tail was here shorter by several inches.
But so near to the Eagle this comet appear'd,
That something may happen, it is to be fear'd;
Great men have been known by the arms which they bore,
But "God bless the Emperor,"—I say no more.

And now for th' eclipse, which is such an appearance
As perhaps will not happen for many a year hence;
The King of France died, the last total eclipse
Of a mortification near one of his hips;
From whence by our art may be plainly made out
That some great man or other must die at this bout;
The eclipse is not yet, a king's death is there neither,
So there's time enough left to predict about either.

Yet two that are safe I shall venture to name,
Men of figure and parts and unspotted in fame;
Who, all parties will own, are, and always have been
Great ornaments to the high station they're in,
Admir'd of all sides, who will therefore rejoice,
When, consulting the stars, I pronounce it their voice,
That for all this eclipse, no harm shall befal
Those two honest Giants that are in Guildhall.

So much for great men;—I come now to predict
What evils in general will Europe afflict:
Now the evils that conjurers tell from the stars
Are plague, famine and pestilence, bloodshed and wars,
Contagious diseases, great losses of goods,
Great burnings by fire, and great drownings by floods,
Hail, rain, frost and snow, storms of lightning and thunder;
And if none of these happen, 'twill be a great wonder.





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