From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Mansucript poems on the title page of The Essentials of Materia Medica and Therapeutics.

Opium is a poem by Arthur Conan Doyle written during his beginnings at the Edinburgh University of Medicine years (1876) on the titlepage The Essentials of Materia Medica and Therapeutics (by Alfred Baring Garrod, 1869 edition, Edinburgh).

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote several poems on specific medical products (Opium, Tartar Emetic, Quinine, Ether, Arsenic, Corrosive Sublimate, Liquor Potassoe, Mercury...). Probably as a mnemonic technique.


I'll tell you a most serious fact,
That opium dries a mucous tract,
And constipates and causes thirst,
And stimulates the heart at first,
And then allows its strength to fall,
Relaxing the capillary wall.
The cerebrum is first affected,
Contracted pupils are detected,
On Tetanus you musn't bet,
Secretions gone except the sweat.
Lungs and sexuals don't forget.