"For the Better" by Anne Kingsmill Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661 - 1720)
Good Signs afford, and what you seem to feel
Proceeds from Vapours, which we'll help with Steel.
With kindled Rage, more than Distemper, burns
The suff'ring Man, who thus in haste returns:
No more of Vapours, your belov'd Disease,
Your Ignorance's Skreen, your What-you-please,
With which you cheat poor Females of their Lives,
Whilst Men dispute not, so it rid their Wives.
For me, I'll speak free as I've paid my Fees;
My Flesh consumes, I perish by degrees:
And as thro' weary Nights I count my Pains,
No Rest is left me, and no Strength remains.
All for the Better, Sir, the Quack rejoins:
Exceeding promising are all these Signs.
Falling-away, your Nurses can confirm,
Was ne'er in Sickness thought a Mark of Harm.
The want of Strength is for the Better still;
Since Men of Vigour Fevers soonest kill.
Ev'n with this Gust of Passion I am pleas'd;
For they're most Patient who the most are seiz'd.
But let me see! here's that which all repels:
Then shakes, as he some formal Story tells,
The Treacle-water, mixt with powder'd Shells.
My Stomach's gone (what d'you infer from thence?)
Nor will with the least Sustenance dispense.
The Better; for, where appetite endures,
Meats intermingle, and no Med'cine cures.
The Stomach, you must know, Sir, is a Part–
But, sure, I feel Death's Pangs about my Heart.
Nay then Farewel! I need no more attend
The Quack replies. A sad approaching Friend
Questions the Sick, why he retires so fast;
Who says, because of Fees I've paid the Last,
And, whilst all Symptoms tow'rd my Cure agree,
Am, for the Better, Dying as you see.