DROPSY

DROPSYn. A disease which makes the patient’s lease of life a kind of naval engagement.


Dick, through all his life, had cherished
An ambition when he perished
To be drowned in the deep ocean,—
Not from any foolish notion
That so damp a death was cheerful,
But because the wretch was fearful
That he some day would exhibit
On the tight-rope of a gibbet;
Or, escaping that curtailment,
Die of some distressing ailment,
Giving up the ghost by inches
With contortions, twinges, flinches.
Death at last one day assailed him,
And with agonies impaled him—
Pegged him firmly for the slaughter
Fifteen hundred miles from water!
Now, his bowels all were topsy
Turvy with a case of dropsy,
And his abdomen was bloating,
And his vitals were a-floating,
When, between the paroxysmal
Rush of tides along the dismal
Channels of his ventilating
Apparatus — when his lungs were
Full as barrels, and no bungs were
Handy to reduce the billow,
Richard, strangling on his pillow,
Turned his body, spouted finely
Like a whale, and smiled divinely,
Saying ‘twixt convulsions frantic:
“Every man his own Atlantic.”