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Pleased with a few selected friends,

He views each smiling evening close, While each succeeding morn ascends,

Charged with delights, unmarked with woes: In pleasures innocently gay, Wears the remains of life away.



Of trivial things I sing, surprising scenes,
Crowds void of thought, and nations in machines.
A race diminutive; whose frames were built
Free from the sacrilege of ancient guilt;
Who from a better new Prometheus came;
Nor boast the plunder of celestial flame.

There, where facetious Andrew rises high,
And draws the peopled-street beneath his eye;
With witty jests the gaping crowd derides,
Distorts their muscles, and fatigues their sides.
All sons of mirth, the gay, the curious come,
Enter the booth, and fill the spacious room.
Not undistinguished are the honours there,
But different seats their different prices bear.
At length, when now the curtain mounts on high,
The narrow scenes are opened to the eye;
Where wire-partitions twinkle to the sight,
That cut the vision and divide the light;
Ingenious artifice! of sure deceit,

Since naked prospects would betray the cheat!
And now the squeaking tribe proceeding roams
O'er painted mansions and illustrious domes.
Within this humble cell, this narrow wall,
Assemblies, battles, conquests, triumphs, all
That human minds can act, or pride survey,
On their low stage, the little nation play.

But one above the rest distinguished stalks;
A hero, who in hoarser accents talks.
Large is the buckle that his vest controls;
His mimic eye with living motion rolls.
His belly turgid of enormous size;
Behind his back, a bulk of mountain lies.
Huge, manly, tall, he frights the Pygmy-court,
Who fly and wonder at his giant-port.
Audacious hero he, who much relies
On his unequal arm, and haughty size.
Of these superior gifts and talents proud,
He mocks and rallies all the lesser crowd:

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Scatters his satire round, and oft provokes
The crowd to laughter by facetious jokes.
E'en when some serious action is displayed,
And solemn pomps in long procession made,
He uncontrollable, of humour rude,
Must with unseasonable mirth intrude:
Scornful he grins upon their tragic rage,
And disconcerts the fable of the stage.
Sometimes the graceless wight, with saucy air,
Makes rude approaches to the painted fair:
The nymph retires, he scorns to be withstood,
And forces kisses on th' unwilling wood.

Not so his fellows of inferior parts,
They please the theatre with various arts;
Lascivious sport, in circling turns advance,
And tire their little limbs in active dance.

Sometimes the wooden people you behold
Attired in rich array of figured gold:
Rows of dissembled jewels blaze around,
And robes of Tyrian purple stain the ground.
For when their tribes in pageantry display
The mimic grandeur of some solemn day,
The painted nymphs proceed, a comely train,
In order just, and brighten all the plain,
Nobles of stature small attract the eyes,
And last the commons of an humbler size.
The pleased spectator, as these scenes he views,
The Pygmy-nation in his mind renews:
He fancies now the Cranes' invasions cease;
Their warlike souls are softened by a peace,
And now secure in guiltless sports they play,
Laugh down the sun, and dance away the day.

Thus, when the stars obtain their midnight sphere,
A race like these of human form appear;
The fairy train, that, dancing in the dark,
Return in circles, and their footsteps mark:
The merry goblins, constant to the round,
In measure trip, and beat the hallowed ground.
The morn betrays the print. The fruitful earth
From hence teems pregnant with a juicy birth,
Luxuriant growths of bolder grass are seen,
That rise in circles of a deeper green.

Yet, oh! some clouds obscure their peaceful days, Wars, horrid wars, disastrous tumults raise. The joys of peace are broke by rough alarms, The troops breathe slaughter, and prepare for arms. So insincere is mortal bliss! so sure Care blends our joys, and makes them all impure!


Now swords and warring arms the prospect mar,
Protended spears, that glitter from afar,
And sulphurous tubes, dread equipage of war.
The din of fight begins; a direful sound
Flies through the dome, and shakes the walls around;
From the burst volumes sputtering sulphurs tost
Promiscuous hiss, and sounds in sounds are lost.
Confusion reigns; the field of war bespread,
Reveals, unhappy view! her heaps of dead:
Think on all hands, extended on the stage,
Slain troops appear, the guilt of civil rage.

But when they have allayed their martial ire,
And their calm spirits breathe a sober fire:
The war concluded, they resume their parts,
Repeat their former toils, and various arts.

Now oft the heroes of the sacred1 page,
Great souls! the product of a better age,
Redeemed and rescued from the silent urn,
On this low stage in miniature return.
There may you see a venerable band
Of patriarch-sires in hoary order stand;
Their faces furrowed, as they once appeared,
And their chins clothed with silver lengths of beard.
So, long consuming age, from day to day,
Contracted Tithon by a slow decay.
From wasting stage to stage he gradual past,
And sunk into a grasshopper at last.

Now sing we whence the puppet-actors came,
What hidden power supplies the hollow frame;
What cunning agent o'er the scenes presides,
And all the secret operation guides.

The turner shapes the useless log with care,
And forces it a human form to wear:
With the sharp steel he works the wooden race,
And lends the timber an adopted face.
Tenacious wires the legs and feet unite,

And arms connected keep the shoulders right.
Adapted organs to fit organs join,

And joints with joints, and limbs with limbs combine.
Then adds he active wheels and springs unseen,
By which he artful turns the small machine,
That moves at pleasure by the secret wires;
And last his voice the senseless trunk inspires.

From such a union of inventions came,
And to perfection grew, the puppet-frame;
The workman's mark its origin reveal,
And own the traces of the forming steel.
Alluding to the creation of the world.

Hence are its dance, its motions, and its tone,
Its squeaking voice, and accents not its own.





No common height the muse must soar,
That would thy fame in numbers try;
Nor dare in humble verse adore,

But rise with thee above the sky;
You ask a bold and lofty strain,

And what we meanly sing, disdain.


You nature's early birth explore,
The secrets of her womb disclose,
From what mixed cause, and jarring power,
The infant-earth to being rose:
How, in her circling bosom, sleep
Th' imprisoned seas, and bounded deep.


Resolved great hidden truths to trace,
Each learned fable you despise;
And, pleased, enjoy the famed disgrace
To think and reason, singly wise:
Each tale reject by time allowed,
And nobly leave the erring crowd.


Hark! from her weak foundations tore,
The bursting earth asunder flies,
And, propped by yielding seas no more,

The dreadful crack alarms the skies:
Whose arches rent, their weight forego,
And plunge in opening gulfs below.


Now rushing from their watery bed,

The driving waves disdain a shore;
And with resistless force o'er-spread

That orb, which checked their rage before:

While, scattered o'er the foamy tide,
All nature's floating ruins ride.

'Ad insignissimum Virum D. Tho. Burnettum. Vol. i. p. 251.

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