Friday, April 11, 2008


Hey! I finally found a poem I've been looking for for ages. Nahum Tate was one of Britain's Poet Laureates. He is best known for having re-written King Lear to have a happy ending. He also did "Brutus of Alba, or The Enchanted Lovers" (1678), a tragedy dealing with Dido and Aeneas, which he later adapted as the libretto for Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas, one of my favourite Purcells.

But his Poem Upon Tea was very popular in his day,

which was

1652– 1715

Panacea: A Poem Upon Tea (in two cantos)

“Hail! Queen of Plants, Pride of Elysian Bow’rs!
How shall we speak thy complicated Pow’rs?
Thous Wond’rous Panacea, to asswage
The Calentures of Youth’s fermenting Rage,
And Animate the freezing Veins of Age.
To Bacchus when our griefs repair for Ease,
The Remedy proves worse than the Disease:
Where Reason we must lose to keep the Round,
And drinking Others Healths, our Own confound:
Whilst TEA, our Sorrows safely to beguile,
Sobriety and Mirth does reconcile:
For to this Nectar we the Blessing owe,
To grow more Wise, as we more chearful grow.

Whilst Fancy does her brightest Beams dispense,
And decent Wit diverts without Offence.
Then in Discourse of Nature’s mystick Pow’rs
And Noblest Themes, we pass the well-spent Hours.
Whilst all around the Virtues Sacred Band
And list’ning Graces pleas’d Attendants stand.
Thus our Tea-Conversation we employ,
Where, with Delight, Instruction we enjoy;
Quaffing, without the waste of Time or Wealth,
The Sov’reign Drink of Pleasure and of Health.”

Tate, Nahum. “Panacea: A Poem Upon Tea: In Two Canto’s” The Tea-Table. (London: Printed by and for J. Roberts. c1700)

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