"A Panegyrick upon Cundums"

Edited by John H. O'Neill,
Leavenworth Professor of English, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York

Editorial note:

I found a copy of "A Panegyrick upon Cundums" in a volume entitled Works of the Earls of Rochester, Roscommon, Dorset, &c. dated 1774. It is a blank-verse burlesque poem deriving ultimately from Paradise Lost by way of John Philips's The Splendid Shilling. The allusions to Philips's poem (1701) and the reference to Isaac Newton make it almost certainly an eighteenth-century, rather than Restoration, work.

. . . [T]he poem probably has not been published since the late eighteenth century . . .

A Panegyrick upon Cundums
O all ye Nymphs, in lawless Love's Disport
Assiduous! whose ever open Arms
Both Day and Night stand ready to receive
The fierce Assaults of Britain's am'rous Sons!
Whether with Golden Watch, or stiff Brocade
You shine in Playhouse or the Drawing-room.
Whores thrice magnificent! Delight of Kings,
And Lords of goodliest Note; or in mean Stuffs
Ply ev'ry Evening near St. Clement's Pile,
Or Church of fam'd St. Dunstan, or in Lane,
Or Alley's dark Recess, or open Street,
Known by white Apron, bart'ring Love with Cit,
Or strolling Lawyer's Clerk at cheapest Rate;
Whether of Needham's or of Jordan's Train,
Hear, and attend: In Cundum's mighty Praise
I sing, for sure 'tis worthy of a Song.
Venus, assist my Lays, thou who presid'st
In City Ball or Courtly Masquerade,
Goddess supreme! sole Authoress of our Loves
Pure and impure! whose Province 'tis to rule
Not only o'er the chaster Marriage Bed,
But filthiest Stews, and Houses of kept Dames!
To thee I call, and with a friendly Voice,
Cundum I sing -- by Cundum now I cure
Boldly the willing Maid, by Fear a while
Kept virtuous, owns thy Pow'r, and takes thy Joys
Tumultuous; Joys untasted but by them.
Unknown big Belly, and squawling Brat,
Best Guard of Modesty! She riots now
Thy Vo'try, in the Fulness of thy Bliss.

"Happy the Man, who in his Pocket keeps,
Whether with green or scarlet Ribband bound,
A well made Cundum -- He, nor dreads the Ills
Of Shankers or Cordee, or Bubos dire!"

Thrice happy he -- (for when in lewd Embrace
Of Transport-feigning Whore, Creature obscene!
The cold insipid Purchase of a Crown!
Bless'd Chance! Sight seldom seen! and mostly given
By Templar or Oxonian -- Best Support
Of Drury and her starv'd Inhabitants;)
With Cundum arm'd he wagest am'rous Fight
Fearless, secure; nor Thought of future Pains,
Resembling Prick of Pins and Needle's Point,
E'er checks his Raptures, or disturbs his Joys!
So Ajax, Grecian Chief, with Seven-fold Shield,
Enormous! brav'd the Trojan's fiercest Rage;
While the hot daring Youth, whose giddy Lust
Or Taste too exquisite, in Danger's Spite
Resolves upon Fruition, unimpair'd
By intervening Armour, Cundum hight!
Scarce three Days past, bewails the dear-bought Bliss!
For now tormenting Sore with scalding Heat
Of Urine, dread Fore-runner of a Clap!
With Eye repentant, he surveys his Shirt,
Diversify'd with Spots of yellow Hue,
Sad Symptom of ten thousand Woes to come!
Now no Relief but from the Surgeon's Hand,
Or Pill-prescribing Leach, tremendous Sight
To Youth diseas'd! In Garret high he moans
His wretched Fate, where vex'd with nauseous Draughts
And more afflicting bolus, he, in Pangs
Unfelt before, curses the dire Results
Of lawless Revelling; from Morn to Eve
By never-casing keen Emeticks urg'd;
Nor slights he now his Grannum's sage Advice:
Nor feels he only but in megrim'd Head,
Head frought with Horror -- Child of sallow Spleen,
Millions of idle Whims and Fancies dance
Alternate, and perplex his labouring Mind.
What erst he has been told of sad Mischance,
Either in Pox or Clap, of falling Nose,
Scrap'd Shins, and Buboes' Pains of vile Effect!
All feels the Youth, or fancies that he feels,
Nay, be it but a Gleet, or gentlest Clap,
His ill forboding Fears deny him Rest,
And fancied Poxes vex his tortur'd Bones;
Too late convinc'd of Cundum's sov'reign Use,
Hail Manes of Love-propagating Pimp!
Long since deceas'd, and long by me ador'd;
>From whose prolific Brain, by lucky Hit,
Or Inspiration from all gracious Heaven,
First sprang the mighty Secret; Secret to guard
>From Poison virulent of unsound Dame.
Hail, happy Albion, in whose fruitful Land
The wond'rous Pimp arose, from whose strange Skill
In inmost Nature thou hast reap'd more Fame,
More solid Glory, than from Newton's Toil;
Newton who next is England's noblest Boast:
If aught I can presage, as Smyrna once,
Chios and Colophon, and Rhodian Isle,
Famous for vast Colosos; and Argos fair
And Salamis, well known for Grecian Flight
with mighty Xerxes; and the Source of Arts,
High Athens! long contended for the Praise
Of Homer's Birth-place, egregious Bard!
In after Times so shall with warm Dispute
Europa's rival Cities proudly strive,
Ambitious each of being deem'd the Seat
Where Cundums first drew vital Air,
Too cruel Fate -- Partial to human Race --
To us propitious -- But O hard Decree!
Why, why so long in darksome Womb of Night
Dwelt the profound Arcanum, late reveal'd;
Say I not rather why, ye niggard Stars,
Are not your Blessings given unpall'd with Ill,
And Love, your greatest Blessing, free from Curse,
Curse of Disease! How many gallant Youths
Have fallen by the Iron Hand of Death
Untimely, immature: As if, to Love,
Your everlasting Purpose, were a Crime.
But, O ye Youths, born under happier Stars,
Britainnia's chiefest Hope! upon whose Cheeks
Gay Health sits smiling, and whose nervous Limbs
Sweet Ease, her Offspring fair! invigorates,
Unbrac'd as yet by foul Contagion,
Fav'rites of Fortune! let th' unhappy Lot
Of others teach you timely to beware;
That when replete with Love, and spur'd by Lust,
You seek the Fair-one in her Cobweb Haunts,
Or when allur'd by Touch of passing Wench,
Or caught by Smile insidious of the Nymph
Who in Green Box at Playhouse nightly flaunts,
And fondly calls thee to Love's luscious Feast,
Be cautious, stay a while 'till fitly arm'd
With Cundum Shield, at Rummer best supply'd,
Or never-failing Rose; so you may thrum
Th' ecstatic Harlot, and each joyous Night
Crown with fresh Raptures; 'till at least unhurt,
And sated with the Banquet, you retire.

By me forwarn'd thus may you ever treat
Love's pleasing Paths in blest Security.

To the information Professor O'Neill supplies (above), I append the following notes, very slightly modified, from Patrick Spedding, of Monash University (Melbourne):

White Kennett, Condom: A Poem (pre-1723) and Armour a poem (London 1723) do not survive. The earliest surviving edition of "A Panegyrick upon Cundums" is that in William Pattison, Cupid's metamorphoses or, love in all shapes. Being the second and last volume of the poetical works of Mr. William Pattison . . . (London: printed [for Edmund Curll] in the year, 1728). It also appeared in "The Cabinet of Love," appended to The works of the Earls of Rochester, Roscommon, and Dorset; the Dukes of Devonshire, Buckinghamshire, &c. with memoirs of their lives (London: printed in the year, 1731), 2 vols. It may be found as well in The potent ally; or, succours from Merryland. With an essay in praise of the cloathing of that country. By the Reverend Mr. Kennet, son of the late Bishop of Peterborough. To which is added, The present state of Bettyland. Written by . .. Charles Cotton . . . Dedicated to the Rt. Hon. Humphry Parsons . . . Published: [London]: Printed by T. Hinton; and sold by S. Brett; and at the pamphlet-shops of London and Westminster, 1741 (at Penn, this book is classed EC7.K3946.741p).

The poem is discussed at some length by William E. Kruck. "Looking for Dr. Condom," Publication of the American Dialect Society, 66:7 (1981), 1-105; and it is covered concisely by Foxon K12.

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