« AnteriorContinuar »
Oft has it been my lot to mark
A proud, conceited, talking spark,
With eyes that hardly served at most: .
To guard their master 'gainst a post ;
Yet round the world the blade has been,
To see whatever could be seen.
Returning from his finish'd tour,
Grown ten times perter than before,
Whatever word you chance to drop,
The travelld fool your mouth will stop;
“ Sir, if my judgment you'll allow-
“ I've seen-and sure 1 ought to know”-
So begs you'd pay a due submission,
And acquiesce in his decision. *
Two travellers of such a cast, As o'er Arabia's wilds they pass'd, And on their 'way in friendly chat Now talk'd of this, and then of that, Discours'd awhile, 'mongst other matter, Of the chameleon's form and nature. “ A stranger animal,” cries one, « Sure never liv'd beneath the sun : " A lizard's body lean and long, “ A fish's head, a serpent's tongue, " It's tooth, with triple claw disjoin'd; 66 And what a length of tail behind! “ How slow it's pace! and then it's hue! “ Who ever saw so fine a blue?" .
“ Hold there!" the other quick replies, “ "Tis green-I saw it with these eyes, • As late with open mouth it lay, “ And warm'd it in the sunny ray; “ Stretch'd at it's ease the beast I view'd, “ And saw it eat the air for food.”
" I've seen it, Sir, as well as you, « And inust again affirm it blue;
• At leisure I the beast survey'd, 6 Extended in the cooling shade.”
“ 'Tis green ! 'tis green! Sir, I assure ye" — 6 Green !" cries the other, in a fury" Why, Sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes”
" "Twere no great loss,” the friend replies ;
* For if they always serve you thus,
“ You'll find 'em but of little use.”
So high at last the contest rose,
From words they almost came to blows:
When luckily came by a third ;
To him the question they referr'd ;
And begg'd he'd tell 'em, if he knew,
Whether the thing was green or blue.
“ Sirs," cries the umpire, “ cease your pother-
“ The creature's neither one nor t’other.
“ I caught the animal last night,
" And view'd it o'er by candlelight:
“ I mark'd it well-'twas black as jet
“ You stare-but, Sirs, I've got it yet,
“ And can produce it."-" Pray, Sir, do;
“ I'll lay my life the thing is blue.”
“ And I'll be sworn, that, when you've seen
• The reptile, you'll pronounce him green."
• Well then, at once to ease the doubt," Replies the man, “ I'll turn him out: “ And when before your eyes I've set him, “ If you don't find him black, I'll eat him."
He said; then full before their sight Produc'd the beast, and lo 'twas white. Both star'd, the man look'd wond'rous wise “ My children," the chameleon cries, (Then first the creature found a tongue,) “ You all are right, and all are wrong: " When next you talk of what you view, “ Think others see as well as you: “ Nor wonder, if you find that none « Prefers your eyesight to his own." MERRICK.
THE YOUTH AND THE PHILOSOPHER.
A GRECIAN youth of talents rare, Whom Plato's philosophic care Had form’d for Virtue's nobler view, By precepts and example too, Would often boast his matchless skill, To curb the steed, and guide the wheel; And as he pass'd the gazing throng, With graceful ease, and smack'd the thong, The idiot wonder they express'd Was praise and transport to his breast. ..
At length quite vain, he needs would shew
His master what his art could do ;
And bade his slaves the chariot lead
To Academus' sacred shade.
The trembling grove confess'd it's fright;
The wood nymphs started at the sight; ·
The muses drop the learned lyre,
And to their inmost shades retire.
Howe'er the youth, with forward air,
Bows to the sage, and mounts the car:
The lash resounds, the coursers spring,
The chariot marks the rolling ring;
And gath'ring crowds with eager eyes
And shouts pursue him as he flies.
Triumphant to the goal return’d,
With nobler thirst his bosom burn'd;
And now along th' indented plain,
The selfsame track he marks again,
Pursues with care the nice design,
Nor ever deviates from the line.
Amazement seiz'd the circling crowd ;
The youth with emulation glow'd;
Ev'n bearded sages haild the boy,
And all, but Plato, gaz'd with joy;
For he, deep-judging sage, beheld
With pain the triumphs of the field;
And when the charioteer drew nigh,
And, flush'd with hope, had caught his eye,
“ Alas! unhappy youth,” he cried,
“ Expect no praise from me," and sigh’d:
“ With indignation I survey
“ Such skill and judgment thrown away;
“ The time, profusely squander'd there
« On vulgar arts beneath thy care,
“ If well employ'd, at less expense,
“ Had taught thee honour, virtue, sense,
“ And rais'd thee from a coachman's fate,
“To govern men, and guide the state.”
W here London's column, pointing at the skies, .
Like a tall bully, lifts the head, and lies ;
There dwelt a citizen of sober fame,
A plain good man, and Balaam was his name :
Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth;
His word would pass for more than he was worth.
One solid dish his weekday meal affords,
An added pudding solemniz'd the Lord's :
Constant at church, and 'change; his gains were sure,
His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
The devil was piqued such saintship to behold, .
And long’d to tempt him, like good Job of old :
But Satan now is wiser than of yore,
And tempts by making rich, not making poor.
Rous'd by the Prince of Air, the wbirlwinds sweep
The surge, and plunge his father in the deep;
Then full against his Cornish lands they roar,
And two rich shipwrecks bless the lucky shore.
Sir Balaam now, he lives like other folks,
He takes his chirping pint, and cracks his jokes :
“ Live like yourself,” was soon my lady's word;
And lo! two puddings smok'd upon the board. , .,
Asleep and naked as an Indian lay,
An honest factor stole a gem away:
He pledg'd it to the knight; the knight had wit,
So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit.
Some scruple rose, but thus he eas'd his thought,
“ I'll now give sixpence where I gave a groat; .
“ Where once I went to church I'll now go twice-
“And am so clear too of all other vice."
The tempter saw his time; the work he plied;
Stocks and subscriptions pour on ev'ry side,
Till all the Demon makes his full descent
In one abundant show'r of cent per cent,
Sinks deep within him, and possesses whole,
Then dubs director, and secures his soul.
Behold Sir Balaam now a man of spirit,
Ascribes his gettings to his parts and merit;
What late lie call'd a blessing, now was wit,
And God's good providence, a lucky hit.
Things change their titles, as our manners turn.
His counting-house employ'd the Sunday morn:
Seldom at church ('twas such a busy life),
But duly sent his family and wife.
There, (so the devil ordain’d) one christmas tidc
My good old lady catch'd a cold and died.
A nymph of quality admires our knight,
He marries, bows at court, and grows polite :
Leaves the dull cits, and joins (to please the fair)
The wellbred cuckolds in St. James's air.
In Britain's senate he a seat obtains,
And one more pensioner St. Stephen gains.
My lady falls to play; so bad her chance,
He must repair it; takes a bribe from France ;
The house impeach him; Coningsby harangues ;
The court forsake him, and Sir Balaam hangs.
Wife, son, and daughter, Satan! are thy own,
His wealth, yet dearer, forfeit to the crown :
The devil and the king divide the prize,
And sad Sir Balaam curses God and dies.