To Dulcify th’absinthiated Cup Of life

John Maclaurin, On Johnson’s Dictionary:

“In love with a pedantic jargon,
Our poets, now a-days, are far gone;
Hence he alone can read their songs
To whom the gift of tongues belongs;
Or who to make him understand,
Keeps Johnson’s lexicon at hand,
Which an improper name has got,
He should have dubb’d it Polyglot.

Be warn’d, young poet, and take heed,
That Johnson you with caution read;
Always attentively distinguish
The Greek and Latin words from English;
And never use such, as ’tis wise
Not to attempt to nat’ralize.
Suffice the following specimen
To make the admonition plain:

Little of anthropopathy has he
Who in yon fulgid curricle reclines
Alone, while I, depauperated bard!
The streets pedestrious scour; why with bland voice,
Bids he me not his vectitation share?
Alas! he fears my lacerated coat,
And visage pale with frigorific want,
Would bring dedecoration on his chaise.

Me miserable! that th’ Aonian hill
Is not auriferous, nor fit to bear
The farinaceous food, support of bards,
Carnivorous but seldom; that the soil
Which Hippocrene humectates, nothing yields
But sterile laurels, and aquatics sour.

To dulcify th’absinthiated cup
Of life, receiv’d from thy novercal hand,
Shall I have nothing, Muse? to lenify
Thy heart indurate shall poetic woe
And plaintive ejulation nought avail?

Riches desiderate I never did,
Ev’n when in mood most optative: a farm,
Little, but arboreous, was all I ask’d.
I, when a rustic, would my blatant calves
Well-pleas’d ablactate, and delighted tend
My gemillip’rous sheep; nor scorn to rear
The strutting turkey and the strepent goose;
Then to dendrology my thoughts I’d turn;
A fav’rite care shou’d horticulture be;
But most of all would geoponics please.

While ambulation thoughtless I protract
The tir’d sun appropinquates to the sea,
And now my arid throat and latrant guts
Vociferate for supper; but what house
To get it in, gives dubitation sad.
O! for a turgid bottle of strong beer,
Mature for imbibition! and O! for—
(Dear object of hiation) mutton-pye.”

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3 responses

    • It was hard just trying to verify the italicizing! Actually, I took this as a record of words which would seem unnecessarily abstruse or even absurd, so I was surprised at how many of them have wiggled their way into our common speech.

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