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A brain of feather ! very right,
With wit that's flighty, learning light;
Such as to modern bard's decreed:
A just comparison, — proceed.
In the next place, his feet peruse, Wings grow again from both his shoes; Design'd, no doubt, their part to bear, And waft his godship through the air: And here my simile unites ; For in the modern poet's flights, I'm sure it may be justly said, His feet are useful as his head.
Lastly, vouchsafe ť observe his hand, Filld with a snake-encircled wand, By classic authors term'd caduceus, And highly fam’d for several uses : To wit, -- most wondrously endued, No poppy water half so good; For let folks only get a touch, Its soporific virtue's such, Though ne'er so much awake before, That quickly they begin to snore. Add, too, what certain writers tell, With this he drives men's souls to hell.
Now to apply, begin we then:
His wand's a modern author's pen;
The serpents, round about it twin’d,
Denote him of the reptile kind;
Denote the rage with which he writes,
His frothy slaver, venom’d bites;
An equal semblance still to keep,
Alike, too, both conduce to sleep.
This difference only, as the god
Drove souls to Tartarus with his rod,
With his goosequill the scribbling elf,
Instead of others, damps himself.
And here my simile almost tript,
Yet grant a word by way of postscript.
Moreover, Mercury had a failing:
Well! what of that? out with it — stealing;
In which all modern bardsb agree,
Being each as great a thief as he.
But e'en this deity's existence
Shall lend my simile assistance :
Our modern bards ! why, what a pox
Are they but senseless stones and blocks?
IN IMITATION OF DEAN SWIFT.
LOGICIANS have but ill defin'd
As rational the human mind :
Reason, they say, belongs to man;
But let them prove it if they can.
Wise Aristotle and Smiglecius,
By ratiocinations specious,
Have strove to prove, with great precision,
With definition and division,
Homo est ratione preditum ;
But for my soul I cannot credit 'em;
And must in spite of them maintain,
That man and all his ways are vain;
And that this boasted lord of nature
Is both a weak and erring creature;
That instinct is a surer guide
Than reason, boasting mortals' pride;
And that brute beasts are far before 'em ;
Deus est anima brutorum.
Who ever knew an honest brute
At law his neighbour prosecute,
Bring action for assault and battery,
Or friend beguile with lies and flattery?
1 From The Busy Body, No. 5.
O’er plains they ramble unconfin'd,
No politics disturb their mind;
They eat their meals, and take their sport,
Nor know who's in or out at court.
They never to the levee go
To treat as dearest friend a foe:
They never importune his Grace,
Nor ever cringe to men in place;
Nor undertake a dirty job,
Nor draw the quill to write for Bob.
Fraught with invective, they ne'er go
To folks at Paternoster Row:
No judges, fiddlers, dancing-masters,
No pickpockets or poetasters,
Are known to honest quadrupeds ;
No single brute his fellows leads.
Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
Nor cut each others' throats for pay.
Of beasts, it is confess'd, the ape
Comes nearest us in human shape ;
Like man he imitates each fashion,
And malice is his ruling passion:.
But, both in malice and grimaces,
A courtier any ape surpasses.
Behold him humbly cringing wait
Upon the minister of state;
View him soon after to inferiors,
Aping the conduct of superiors :
He promises with equal air,
And to perform takes equal care.
He in his turn finds imitators :
At court, the porters, lacqueys, waiters,
Their masters' manners still contract,
And footmen lords and dukes can act.
Thus, at the court, both great and small
Behave alike, for all ape