The Cobbler Turned Doctor

A bankrupt Cobbler, poor and lean,
(No bungler e’er was half so mean)
Went to a foreign place, and there
Began his med’cines to prepare:
But one of more especial note
He call’d his sovereign antidote;
And by his technical bombast
Contrived to raise a name at last.
It happen’d that the king was sick,
Who, willing to detect the trick,
Call’d for some water in an ewer,
Poison in which he feign’d to pour
The antidote was likewise mix’d;
He then upon th’ empiric fix’d
To take the medicated cup,
And, for a premium, drink it up
The quack, through dread of death, confess’d
That he was of no skill possess’d;
But all this great and glorious job
Was made of nonsense and the mob.
Then did the king his peers convoke,
And thus unto th’ assembly spoke:
“My lords and gentlemen, I rate
Your folly as inordinate,
Who trust your heads into his hand,
Where no one had his heels japann’d.”—
This story their attention craves
Whose weakness is the prey of knaves. [more info]

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