1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Erasmus Darwin

Anonymous, "Ode to the Spirit of Animation" The Monthly Magazine 2 (September 1796) 647.



O thou! whose presence none can trace
'Midst all the sons of ADAM'S race,
Nor tell, or where, or when,
Or how thou sprang'st to life at first,
Or in what corner thou wast nurst
Of this frail house of men:

Dear to my head, my heart most dear,
SPIRIT OF ANIMATION! hear,
Nor let our union end.
I own, without thee I'm undone:
And where could'st thou for shelter run,
Should'st thou desert thy friend?

I know thy alderman desire
For drink and rest, for food and fire,
Whilst I am cold and wet:
But patience till we reach yon inn;
I'll ply thee then with ale and gin,
And many a dish I'll get.

But mark, when fill'd, no pranks like those
Which learned Doctor DARWIN shows,
Who says, that when thou'rt full,
Thou'rt apt to play men many a trick,
And frisk about, and toss, and kick,
Just like a mad town-bull.

This house, remember, thou art in,
Is but of clay, and built but thin,
And soon is pull'd to pieces:
Yet should'st thou rend this house in twain,
Perchance thou'lt not a better gain,
Nor one on longer leases.