Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DOCTOR GALL, by JAMES SMITH (1775-1839)



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DOCTOR GALL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I sing of the organs and fibres
Last Line: Of craniological gall.
Subject(s): Cupid; London; Physicians; Singing & Singers; Truth; Eros; Doctors


I SING of the organs and fibres
That ramble about in the brains;
Avaunt! ye irreverent jibers,
Or stay and be wise for your pains.
All heads were of yore on a level,
One could not tell clever from dull,
Till I, like Le Sage's lame devil,
Unroof'd with a touch every skull.
Oh, I am the mental dissector,
I fathom the wits of you all,
Then come in a crowd to the lecture
Of craniological Gall.

The passions, or active or passive,
Exposed by my magical spells,
As busy as bees in a glass hive,
Are seen in their separate cells.
Old Momus, who wanted a casement
Whence all in the heart might be read,
Were he living, would stare with amazement
To find what he wants in the head.

There's an organ for strains amoroso,
Just under the edge of the wig,
An organ for writing but so-so,
For driving a tilbury gig;
An organ for boxers, for stoics,
For giving booksellers a lift,
For marching the zig-zag heroics,
And editing Jonathan Swift.

I raise in match-making a rumpus,
And Cupid his flame must impart
Henceforth with a rule and a compass,
Instead of a bow and a dart.
"Dear Madam, your eye-brow is horrid;
And Captain, too broad is your pate;
I see by that bump on your forehead
You're shockingly dull tete-a-tete."

When practice has made my book plainer
To manhood, to age, and to youth,
I'll build, like the genius Phanor,
In London a palace of truth.
Then fibs, ah, beware how you tell 'em,
Reflect how pellucid the skull,
Whose downright sincere cerebellum
Must render all flattery null.

Your friend brings a play out at Drury,
'Tis hooted and damned in the pit;
Your organ of friendship's all fury,
But what says your organ of wit?
"Our laughter next time prithee stir, man,
We don't pay our money to weep;
Your play must have come from the German,
It set all the boxes asleep."

At first, all will be in a bustle;
The eye will, from ignorance, swerve,
And some will abuse the wrong muscle,
And some will adore the wrong nerve.
In love should your hearts then be sporting,
Your heads on one level to bring,
You must go in your nightcaps a-courting,
As if you were going to swing.

Yet some happy mortals, all virtue,
Have sentiment just as they should,
Their occiput nought can do hurt to,
Each organ's an organ of good;
Such couples angelic, when mated,
To bid all concealment retire,
Should seek Hymen's altar bald-pated,
And throw both their wigs in his fire.

My system, from great A to Izzard,
You now, my good friends, may descry,
Not Shakspeare's Bermudean wizard
Was half so enchanting as I.
His magic a Tempest could smother,
But mine the soul's hurricane clears,
By exposing your heads to each other,
And setting those heads by the ears.

Oh, I am the mental dissector,
I fathom the wits of you all;
So here is an end to the lecture
Of craniological Gall.





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