Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Boothby: The Cobler Turned Physician

A bungling Cobler, brought to want,
Assum'd a quack's audacious cant.
To vend his powder, salve and pill,
Put forth a vaunting, lying bill:
He had an antidote, he said,
That every poison harmless made.
The gaping populace admir'd,
And fame and money he acquir'd:
The Mayor, diseas'd, and like to die,
The man's ability to try,
Order'd some poison to be brought,
And bid the quack take off the draught.
The frighted wretch, with death in view,
Confess'd no antidote he knew;
That all the science he pretended,
On others' ignorance depended.
The Mayor convok'd the town: says he,
"Townsmen, what precious fools ye be,
Your med'cines from that hand to take,
That none would trust his shoes to make!"
Learn, if ye can, confiding fools!
Of knaves to be no more the tools.

Source: Boothby - Phaedrus 1.14.
(not in Mille) Perry475

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