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While bards of quick imagination
Despise the sleepy prose narration.
Men laugh at apes; they men contemn;
For what are we but apes to them ?
Two Monkeys went to Southwark fair,
No critics had a sourer air:
They forc'd their way thro' draggled folks,
Who gap'd to catch Jack Pudding's jokes;
Then took their tickets for the show,
And got by chance the foremost row.
To see their grave observing face
Provok'd a laugh thro' all the place.
Brother, says Pug, and turn'd his head,
The rabble's monstrously ill-bred.
Now thro' the booth loud hisses ran,
Nor ended till the show began.
The tumbler whirls the flip-flap round,
With somersets he shakes the ground;
The cord beneath the dancer springs;
Aloft in air the vaulter swings;
Distorted now, now prone depends,
Now thro' his twisted arms ascends;
The crowd, in wonder and delight,
With clapping hands applaud the sight.
With smiles, quoth Pug, If pranks like these
The giant apes of reason please,
How would ihey wonder at our arts?
They must adore us for our parts.
High on the twig I've seen you cling,
Play, twist, and turn in airy ring :
How can those clumsy things like me
Fly with a bound from tree to tree?
But yet, by this applause, we find
These emulators of our kind
Discern our worth, our parts regard,
Who our mean mimics thus reward.
Brother, the grinning mate replies,
In this I grant that man is wise:
While good example they pursue,
We must allow some praise is due ;
But when they strain beyond their guide,
I laugh to scorn the mimic pride;
For how fantastic is the sight,
To meet men always bolt upright,
Because we sometimes walk on two!
I hate the imitating crew.
An Owl of grave deport and mien,
Who (like the Turk) was seldom seen,
Within a barn had chose his station,
As fit for prey and contemplation:
Upon a beam aloft he sits
And nods, and seems to think by fits.
So have) seen a man of news,
Or Postboy or Gazette peruse,
Smoke, nod, and talk with voice profound,
And fix the fate of Europe round.
Sheaves pil'd on sheaves hid all the floor:
At dawn of morn, to view his store,
The Farmer came.
The hooting guest
His self-importance thus exprest:
Reason in man
How weak, how shallow is his sense !
To treat with scorn the Bird of Night,
Declares his folly or his spite.
how partial is his praise !
The lark's, the linnet's, chirping lays
To his ill-judging ears are fine,
And ni htingales are all divine:
But the more knowing featherd race
See wisdom stamp'd upon my face.
Whene'er to visit light i deign,
What flocks of fowl compose my train !
Like slaves, they crowd my flight behind,
And own me of superior kind.
The Farmer laugh’d, and thus reply'd;
Thou dull important lump of pride,
Dar’st thou, with that harsh grating tongue,
Depreciate birds of warbling song ?
Indulge thy spleen: know men and fowl
Regard thee, as thou art, an Owl.
Besides, proud blockhead! be not vain
Of what thou call'st thy slaves and train:
Few follow Wisdom or her rules;
Fools in derision follow fools.
A Juggler long thro’all the Town
Had rais'd his fortune and renown;
You'd think (so far his art transcends)
The devil at his fingers' ends.
Vice heard his fame, she read his bill;
Convinc'd of his inferior skill,
She sought his booth, and from the crowd
Defy'd the man of art aloud.
Is this, then, he so fam'd for sleight?
Can this slow bungler cheat your sight?
Dares he with me dispute the prize?
I leave it to impartial eves.
Provok'd, the Juggler cry'd, 'Tis done;
In science I submit to none.'
Thus said, the cups and balls he play'd;
By turns this here, that there, convey’d.'
The cards, obedient to his words,
Are by a fillip turn'd to birds.
His little boxes change the grain:
Trick after trick deludes the train.
He shakes his bag, he shows all fair;
His fingers spread, and nothing there;
Then bids it rain with show'rs of gold;
And now his iv'ry eggs are told;
But when from thence the hen he draws,
Amaz'd spectators him applause.
Vice now stept forth, and took the place,
With all the forms of his grimace.
This magic looking-glass, she cries,
(There, hand it round) will charm your eyes.
Each eager eye the sight desir'd,
And ev'ry man himself admir'd.
Next, to a senator addressing,
See this bank-note; observe the blessing.
Breath on the bill, Heigh, pass! 'Tis gone.
Upon his lips a padlock shown.
A second puff the magic broke ;
The padlock vanish'd, and he spoke.
Twelve bottles rang'd upon the board,
All full, with heady liquor stor’d,
By clean conveyance disappear,
And now two bloody swords are there.
A purse she to a thief expos'd:
At once his ready fingers clos'd.
He opes his fist, the treasure's fled;
He sees a halter in its stead.
She bids Ambition hold a wand;
He grasps a hatchet in his hand.