The General Prologue - The Physician

With us there was a doctor of physic;
In all this world was none like him to pick
For talk of medicine and surgery;
For he was grounded in astronomy.
He watched over his patients one and all(5)
By hours of his magic natural.
He knew the cause of every malady,
Were it of hot or cold, of moist or dry,
And where engendered, and of what humour;
He was a very good practitioner.(10)
The cause being known, down to the deepest root,
Anon he gave to the sick man his boot.
Ready he was, with his apothecaries,
To send him drugs and all electuaries;
By mutual aid much gold they’d always won—(15)
Their friendship was a thing not new begun.
In diet he was measured as could be,
Including naught of superfluity,
But nourishing and easy to digest.
He rarely heeds what Scripture might suggest.(20)
In blue and scarlet he went clad, withal,
Lined with a taffeta and with sendal;
And yet he was right careful of expense;
He kept the gold he gained from pestilence.
For gold in physic is a fine cordial,(25)
And therefore loved he gold exceeding all.