"Politics Go By The Weather"
Context: The most common, or at least most fashionable, disease of the eighteenth century in England was a form of malancholia called at that time the "spleen," inasmuch as the popular belief was that that organ of the body was the seat of the complaint. So many people suffered, or thought they did, from "the English malady," as it was also called, that any and all advice was taken seriously in some quarter or another. Earlier, Lady Winchelsea had written a Pindaric ode on the same topic; her poem was popular, but its popularity was usurped by Green's work, even though Doctor Samuel Johnson, England's literary arbiter, declared Green's poem to have no poetry in it. The poet recites a number of conditions which seem to cause the onset or intensification of the malady, including rainy weather; it is in this portion of the poem that the comment upon politics occurs:
In such dull weather, so unfitTo enterprize a work of wit,When clouds one yard of azure sky,That's fit for simile, deny,I dress my face with studious looks,And shorten tedious hours with books.But if dull fogs invade the head,That mem'ry minds not what is read,I sit in window dark as ark,And on the drowning world remark:Or to some coffee-house I strayFor news, the manna of the day,And from the hipp'd discourses gather,That politics go by the weather:Then seek good-humour'd tavern chums,And play at cards, but for small sums.