London's Disease, and Cure:

Being a Soveraigne Receipt against the Plague,
for Prevention Sake

Edited by Jack Lynch

The poem is anonymous. This is a diplomatic transcription of the edition of 1665.

There’s none so ignorant, I hope, but knowes,
Medicines are good, as well in Verse, as Prose;
Therefore consulting with my Thoughts, I found,
A rare Receipt to make th’ Infected sound:
And knowing that the Almighty doth forbid, [5]
In Times of Dangers, secrets should be hid;
I thought it was my Duty to make known,
This Cath’lick Medicine unto every one;
That so their sad Distempers may be heal’d,
By what (if Heav’n permits) shall be reveal’d [10];
The cruel nature of this sad Disease,
Is so outragious, that if speedy ease
Be not Prescrib’d, the Patient must be lost,
But here’s a medicine without Price, or Cost;
Therefore let those that are inclin’d to be [15]
My willing Patients, read, observe, and see
What my Prescriptions are, they shall be good,
And very cheap, not hindring them from food
Or honest labour; neither need they doubt
Restraint, but may with courage go about [20]
Lawfull Occasions; therefore without a Bribe,
Harken with patience, whilst I thus Prescribe;

Receipt.

Warm Tears, distilled from a pensive Heart,
With herb-of-grace, mixt with divinest art,
Prepar’d in th’morning when the Light begins [25]
To shew it self, not gathered in our Sins;
But when the Sun of Grace hath spread his Rayes,
Then we must Gather it, and keep’t with praise:
It must be laid, where neither Aire of Lust,
Nor Heat of Envy, nor th’injurious Rust [30]
Of Malice can come near it, nor the Breath
Of Covetuousness infect, for sudden Death
Will seize upon it, if we take not heed.
’Tis also good (if possible) to Bleed,
Both at the Eyes, and Heart, for if those veins [35]
Be not well breathed, the Physitians pains
Will prove invalide; If occasion urge,
The Patient must b’ advis’d to take a Purge,
Or else a Vomit; When th’ infected Blood
Is clens’d, a pleasant Cordial will be good; [40]
But let the Patient not forget to call,
With Thanks, unto the Sacred Hospitall;
And then he may with covrage be assur’d
The worst is past, and his Distemper cur’d:
And if he keep a well composed Will, [45]
He need not fear th’ Apothecaries Bill;
Each Item’s a Receipt, and all his Cost,
Returns to Profit, nothing can be lost
But the Disease, which the great Chyron cures;
Whilst the Physitian all the pain indures. [50]
Oh happy Patient (if the Doctor please)
’Tis Health to fall in love with thy Disease !
Oh teach me to be Sick, or I will make
My self a Patient for the Doctors sake!
Oh! who is he that would not be content [55]
With a Disease, to be his Patient ?
He has an Antidote, that can expell
All Griefs; ’tis dangerous sickness to be well:
Oh make me sick to Death (I mean) of Sin,
That having done, my Doctor may begin; [60]
Without all doubt, that Patient needs must thrive,
That makes Affliction his Preparative:
Oh! who would not Adore so blest a God ?
Good natur’d Children often kiss the Rod:
And so, let us with Patience learn t’indure [65]
Our own Distempers, and not doubt the Cure;
The Grand Physitian will not spare his Skill,
If we submit our selves unto his Will;
The more our Patience labours to endure,
The sooner will he make a perfect Cure; [70]
The sacred Scriptures this rare Cordial gives,
To let us know that our Redeemer lives:
He lives, who by his living gives us breath,
He dy’d, and we are living by his Death:
Thus both in Life and Death we must confess, [75]
That He’s the Author of our Happiness;
He is that God, whose Cross must be our Crown,
Whose shame our honour, whose reproach, renown;
His Blood must be our Bath, his Wounds, our Cure;
For ’tis his Certainty that makes us Sure: [80]
Then let us like the Ninevites be found,
Whose true Repentance made them truly sound:
Though as (like careless Jonas ) now we lye
In the Whales-belly of our Sins; let’s cry
As Jonas did, and Heav’n will soon advance, [85]
And bless us with a quick Deliverance:
Delayes are dangerous, ’tis therefore good
To take a Remedy, before the Blood
Be quite infected, ’tis a sign the Cure
Is difficult, and will not long endure [90]
A Physicall oppose, let’s therefore strive
To quallifie it by a Corrosive.
A Bath of Tears is good, and will expel
The black diseases of an Infidel;
The Chymistry of sighs, and doubled groans, [95]
Will melt those hearts, which sin hath turn’d to stones.
But one thing more is singularly good,
The dear Remembrance of our Saviours Blood;
Nor will it be unto our Souls a loss,
To take the Lignum vitæ of his Cross; [100]
And that sick-Soul that knows how to procure
The Balm of Gilliad, may (by Faith) asure
Himself a Remedy, Tears mixt with Rue,
Will make the Patient bid his Grief adue.