A Lyrical Interlude

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ quoted the preface to the 1886 book Lays of the Colleges, being a Collection of Songs and Verses by members of the Æsculapian, Medico-Chirurgical, and Other Professional Clubs in Edinburgh. The book collected together humorous song lyrics sung in these medical clubs …

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Dr Rock’s Political Speech to the Mob in Covent-Garden

This is a short excerpt from a speech attributed to Dr Richard Rock in a satirical mid-18th-century pamphlet called The harangues, or speeches, of several celebrated quack-doctors, in town and country. Rock, whose Viper Drops have previously appeared on this site, is sometimes referred to as an itinerant quack, but …

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The repeated delight of so divertising a remedy

The following is from a spoof quack handbill published in 1676 as part of a pamphlet called The Character of a quack doctor, or, The Abusive practices of impudent illiterate pretenders to physick exposed. Spelling and punctuation are as originally printed. . EXIMIO PRAEDICO; OR A Thousand Infallible Cures At the Golden Ball in Fop-Ally next dore …

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Homeopathy made plain to the meanest capacity

Today marks the beginning of World Homeopathy Awareness Week. When homeopathy was introduced to Britain in the 1830s, not everyone was clear on what this new-fangled system was all about. Here’s an explanation from Mr Waggle, a character in Cornelius Webbe’s The Man About Town (1838). Waggle is a well-preserved …

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The tragic story of Ching’s Worm Lozenges

    ..   What is any self-respecting quack to do in the face of criticism?   The answer in 1804 was exactly the same as it is now – turn nasty and threaten to sue the arse off everyone.   The name ‘Ching’s Worm Lozenges’ might suggest that this will be an icky-parasite …

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A Poem on Christmas Day

From the Gentleman’s Magazine, December 1766: CHRISTMAS DAY. Welcome, thrice welcome Christmas day ! Let’s eat, drink, dance, and sing away: Old England ne’er had stronger reason To welcome in this joyful season ! Mark high and low, and all around us And know the blessings that surround us. Let …

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Letter from An Old Surgeon

A brief interlude from the usual style of post today, as I’m still attempting to erase the Yankee Rubber Baby from my brain. The following letter was printed in The Monthly Gazette of Health in June 1821. A surgeon, not the most modest fellow in the world, gives an explanation …

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