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IN THE CHARACTER OF HARLEQUIN, AT HIS
H OLD! Prompter, hold! a word before your
I'd speak a word or two, to ease my conscience.
My pride forbids it ever should be said,
My heels eclips'd the honours of my head;
That I found humour in a pyeball vest,
Or ever thought that jumping was a jest.
[Takes off his mask.
Whence, and what art thou, visionary birth ?
Nature disowns, and reason scorns thy mirth,
In thy black aspect every passion sleeps,
The joy that dimples, and the woe that weeps.
How haft thou fill'd the scene with all thy brood,
Of fools pursuing, and of fools pursu'd !
Whose ins and outs no ray of sense discloses,
Whose only plot it is to break our noses ;
Whilft from below the trap-door Dæmons rise,
And from above the dangling deities;
And Mall I mix in this unhallow'd crew?
May rosin'd lightning blast me, if I do!
No-I will act, I'll vindicate the stage :
Shakespeare himself shall feel my tragic rage.
Of! off! vile trappings! a new passion reigns !
The mad’ning monarch revels in my veins.
Oh! for a Richard's voice to catch the theme :
Give me another horse! bind up my wounds! -
soft-'twas but a dream. . Aye, 'twas but a dream, for now there's no retreating: If I cease Harlequin, I cease from eating. 'Twas thus that Æsop's stag, a creature blameless, Yet something vain, like one that shall be nameless, Once on the margin of a fountain stood, And cavill'd at his image in the flood. “ The deuce confound,” he cries, “ these drum: “ stick shanks, “ They never have my gratitude nor thanks ; “ They're perfectly disgraceful! strike me dead ! “ But for a head, yes, yes, I have a head.
“ How piercing is that eye ! how leek that brow !
“ My horns! I'm told horns are the fashion now.”
Whilft thus he spoke, astonish'd! to his view,
Near, and more near, the hounds and huntfmen drew.
Hoicks! hark forward ! came thundering from be-
He bounds aloft, outstrips the feeting wind :
He quits the woods, and tries the beaten ways;
He starts, he pants, he takes the circling maze.
At length his filly head, so priz'd before,
Is taught his former folly to deplore ;
Whilft his strong limbs conspire to set him free,
And at one bound he faves himself, like me.
[Taking a jump through the stage door.
IN IMITATION OF DEAN SWIFT.
LOGICIANS have bat ill definid
As rational the human mind;
Reason, they say, belongs to man,
But let them prove it if they can.
Wise Aristotle and Smiglesius,
By Ratiocinations fpecious,
Have strove to prove with great precision,
With definition and division,
Homo eft 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 ;
A’nd 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 eft anima brutorum.'
Whoever knew an honest brute,
At law his neighbour prosecute,
Bring action for assault and battery,
Or friend beguile with lies and flattery.
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 Pater-nofter Row:
No judges, fidlers, dancing masters,
No pick-pockets, or poetasters,
Are known to honest quadrupeeds,
No single brute his fellows leads.