John Wilmot

The Disabled Debauchee

As some brave Admiral, in former War
     Depriv’d of force, yet prest with courage still,
Two Rival Fleets appearing from a far,
     Crawls to the top of an Adjacent Hill,

From whence, with thoughts full of concern, he views
     The wise and daring conduct of the Fight,
While each bold action to his mind renews
     His present glory and his past delight;

From his fierce eyes flashes of Rage he throws,
     As from black Clouds when Lightning breaks away,
Transported, thinks himself amidst his Foes,
     And absent, yet enjoys the bloudy Day:

So, when my days of Impotence approach,
     And I’m by Pox and Wine’s unhappy chance
Forc’d from the pleasing Billows of Debauch
     On the Dull Shores of lazy Temperance;

My pains at least some respite shall afford
     While I behold the Battels you maintain,
When Fleets of Glasses Sail about the Board,
     From whose broadsides Volleys of Wit shall Rain.

Nor shall the sight of honorable Scars,
     Which my too forward valor did procure,
Frighten new-listed Soldiers from the Wars;
     Past joyes have more than pay’d what I endure.

Should hopeful youths, worth being drunk, prove nice,
     And from their fair Inviters meanly shrink;
’Twill please the Ghost of my departed Vice
     If, at my counsel, they repent, and Drink.

Or should some cold complexion’d Sot forbid,
    With his Dull Morals, your bold Night-Alarms;
I’ll fire his bloud, by telling what I did
     When I was strong, and able to bear Arms.

I’ll tell of Whores attack’d, their Lords at home;
     Bauds Quarters beaten up, and Fortress won:
Windows demolish’d, Watches overcome;
     And handsome ills, by my contrivance, done.

Nor shall our Love-fits Cloris be forgot,
     When each the well-look’d Linkboy strove t’enjoy;
And the best Kiss was the deciding Lot,
     Whether the Boy Fuck’d you, or I the Boy.

With Tales like these, I will such thoughts inspire
     As to important mischief shall incline;
I’ll make him long some Ancient Church to fire,
     And fear no lewdness he’s call’d to by Wine.

Thus, Statesman-like, I’ll sawcily Impose,
     And, safe from Action, valiantly Advise;
Shelter’d in impotence, urge you to blows:
     And now, being good for nothing else, be Wise.