“The Doctor and Parson” is a poem that was based on a true story. It was written by Noah Heath who was born at Sneyd Green towards the end of the 1770s or early in the 1780s. The doctor was Dr. Lane who lived in Saggar Row (now Parliament Row), Hanley. We believe that the parson was the Rev. John Middleton.
The Doctor and Parson
The case was distressing when truly displayed,
On a languishing pillow the patient was laid,
The gossiping neighbours all had no doubt,
That the spark of existence was nearly run out;
When a grave, skilful doctor, renowned in fame,
To give some assistance, immediately came.
He feels the pulses and views him all o’er,
Refers to his judgement which way to explore,
Then turns himself round, to his treasure he hies,
And his life giving balsam then straightway applies.
Seems to have little doubt he can make a firm cure,
And the life of the patient pronounces secure.
In comes the parson, that sanctified man,
And declares that the doctor had took a wrong plan;
Then questions the patient again and again,
Whence arose all his sorrows, his anguish and pain,
“Your treatment is wrong, I have to say,
It’s as plain as the sun in the skies at mid-day;
Such wrong application must meet with disgrace,
For a mortification will shortly take place.”
“A mortification!” the doctor then cries;
“Yes, a mortification,” the parson replies.
“Pooh! pooh!” says the doctor, “such things I deny,
And tell you quite plainly, your reverence, you lie.
Tho’ we must all allow you’re a man of great parts,
And have a great knowledge of science and arts,
That the truth you expound, and peruse much in books,
You are a Jack-of-all-trades, we can see by your looks,
But in case like these ever silence pray keep,
And if you be the shepherd, preserve well your sheep;
Let us both mind our business, without more control,
For I’ll mind the body if you’ll mind the soul.”