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For there's no emptier thing than I,
But then you shun my company.
Sometimes with noise I roar and rave,
Am sometimes silent as the grave.
I'm kept by rich, I keep the poor,
And ne'er was turned from any door-
My goods oft pawn'd, and money spent
'Tis hard, indeed, to pay my rent.
I'm sometimes sick, with scarce a shred;
But better if I keep my bed.
Oft where I am, the wretched pine.
I am where gold and jewels shine;
Tho' I have eyes oft lovers gaze at,
Yet the bright sun so shoots his rays at,
I'm blinded, and see nought that passes,
Tho' not without the use of glasses.
Sometimes so mean, I've scarce a rag-
Now so superb, I'm fashion's brag.
I shine by day, but more by night,
And shut my eyes to let in light-
Now turn me round, I'm darken'd quite.
-A man, and not a man-my birth,
Primeval, and, like his, of earth;
My wide domain small profit yields,
My best revenues are my fields.
I strut the stage with jealous scowl;
I brave the tempests as they howl;
Am much less given to fair than fowl..)
And when in moody fits I toss me,
How few there are who love to cross me!
My first, it is of either sex,
My second's quite the ton-
My whole's a man,
Whose shortest span
An infant's is-ding, dong.
We are three cousins strangely born,
And form'd as if in Nature's scorn,
And in fantastical caprice,
For we have but one leg a-piece.
Tho' one of us has scarce a leg,
One nothing better than a peg.
The third's is less a leg than toe,
And not to stand on--but to go;
Just like a founder'd horse a-skipping
A most unslackened pace by whipping.
One only has a voice-a sound
Like hollow muttering underground,
Between a whistling and a drumming,
And thus her tune is always humming,
Better her dancing time to keep,
Then drones and whirls herself to sleep,
Till lost her breath, with staggering pace,
She swerves and falls upon her face.
All equally alike in figure-
One tapering, one in body bigger;
One, before action, tightly laced,
Even with a cord about the waist,
Which off is thrown, when in the ring
She enters with a wondrous fling;
And what you'll think most strange to be,
We have no joint, we bend no knee,
Tho' few can move so fast as we.
Now, turn me round-put tail before
The head-I may have legs, even four,
Or three; two seldom, often none,
But never, as I reckon, one;
I sometimes have an arm, a long one,
Which for defence needs be a strong one;
For I'm much given to heats and broils;
And then the blood within me boils;
I spare no bones, and well can batter,
And woe to those whom I bespatter;
Yet oft I'm cool provokingly,
And show some tact for irony.
So, friend, beware lest you be diddled,
I am not fond of being riddled;
And one of my sure diagnostics
Is looking black upon acrostics.
Who finds his level falls below His own good estimation, But engineers their level make Oft on the highest station.
SOLUTIONS OF THE RIDDLES.
In level see the letter v,
(Numerical the riddle);
For though five letters make the name,
You find five in the middle.
Turned round, still level level is,
But head and tail dissever, That little less will stand for eve, A little more for ever.
Love laughs at locksmiths, it is said,
But wedlock, man's strong bond and woman's,
There's nothing less than Death can break,
Or House of Lords and Doctors' Commons.
Your comb of shell, of tortoise made,
That breaks Aurelia's locks apart,
Is envied, when it breaks, to weave
A snare to catch the gazer's heart.
Good sir, your riddle means a map,
Projected by Mercator,
With geographic circles drawn,
Gradating from th' equator.
When Captain Cook sailed round the world,
To save him from mishap, sir,
No doubt he took, crossed o'er and o'er,
In thought and act, a map,
To get a look from Captain Cook,
Was that a map might boast of,
On which, when he discovered land,
He noted down the coast of.
You lay a siege-and by your map
Know every strong redoubt, sir;
You spring a mine, and might blow up
Yourself and men without, sir.
A face is not improved by lines
Engraved by Age's meter,
But Age and Age's lines improve,
And make a map completer.
A map survives a cat's nine lives,
However clearly martyred,
Is bound, and hanged, and then cut down,
And ever drawn and quartered.
A map of lands, to have and hold,
Has made full many a match, sir,
Where Love has seen the couple in,
Then lifted up the latch, sir.
Reverse the word, play well your cards,
You have a potent knave, sir;
Yet when you bid him civil be,
He knows how to behave, sir.
You tell, by names, his brother knaves,
The P from Pam you sever,
Which makes subscription mine; 1 am,
Believe me, sir, yours ever.
It were a folly to deny
A speculation in the eye,
And 'tis as clear an eye can speak
In language sure as Sappho's Greek;
Yet, tho' it speaks, is mostly under
A brow that looks, if speaks not thunder;
Such brow as Homer gave to Zeus
When he was pleas'd, as was his use,
Mong gods and men to play the deuce.
Thus eye and brow, tho' seeming two,
United execution do.
Like thunder first, announced by flashes,
One kills by frowns, one kills thro' lashes;
And yet they do so surely pair,
They suit each other to a hair.
The eye-brow-what would beauty be
Without one?-like-why let us see!
Its eyes like jewels badly set,
A house without a parapet,
A window without architrave,
The sea without a curling wave-
The finest features, lacking eyebrow,
Would not be worth a single flyblow;
Beauty herself, without its aid
To lend the modesty of shade,
No better than a barefaced jade.
Two letters, H and E, denote
The man as plainly as his coat;
Five letters show him by his Heart,
And their three last his wit in Art.
Your five last letters Earth we find,
Then add the letter H to Earth,
Which doth the sea in fetters bind,
And you are quite at home in Hearth.
And Hearth implies a grate above,
To warm your friendship and your love,
And keep both from that "coldness hateful,"
Giving a grate to make you grateful;
And thus your riddle I unfold,
In all six letters, truly told.
What is much older than the Sun
Would puzzle man to say-
He makes the present moment new
Because he rules the Day.
"Tis he makes day-by his degrees
To be both short and long;
And tho' he moves not, seems to run
His course as giant strong.
'Tis thus we say, the sun shall rise
And never sit, but set;
That day flies very fast indeed,
Is every day's regret.
The sun was ne'er described with feet,
Yet once was seen to stand;
And then the glorious day was won
By Joshua's chosen band.
The first and second-Sun and day-
Together joined, present
Sunday, your comfort or your sin,
According as 'tis spent.
Your first is Plea, a beggar knave
In city and at court,
True-false-'tis at the Chancery bar
The lawyer's special sport.
But it is not in courts of law
A plea is ever sure,
Which sure your riddle's second is-
Or can the whole secure.
But when a plea is softest heard
In whisper or a sigh,
Or in a look-oh! then 'tis sure,
And Pleasure must be nigh.
There's many a plea made out of time,
And thus we often see
The silly lover makes too sure
Before he makes his plea.
But these two words, when well combined
Both as to time and measure,
Will seldom fail to gain their end
And solve your riddle Pleasure.
Oh happiest theme for Grub Street bards;
O little worm, to thee 'tis owing
That beauty walks in silk array,
But 'tis thy skill and splendour showing.
When Thomas takes fair Ann to church,
And vows he never will forsake her,
Silk-worm, for thee is all the gaze,
For thou hast been the mantua-maker. But if the bridal's thine, no bride
Wilt thou be follow'd to the minster,
For 'tis thy fate to furnish brides
And be thyself a noted spinster.
The Sea is cross'd all o'er and o'er by help of needle fine,
The yellow, red, and black, and white-and ere you cross the line
You see its waters blue and green. - The second is a Son,
Which all men are of woman born-yet so unborn was one,
For Adam was ere woman was;-thus every man on earth,
Beggar and king, a mother had to whom he owed his birth.
Join Sea and Son-you Season make, which varies everywhere,
As climate or as weather makes, and is or foul or fair;
'Tis hot, 'tis cold, 'tis wet, 'tis dry, fish, flesh, fowl, love, and treason,
Even prose and rhyme are sometimes in and sometimes out of Season.
See Petrarch's sonnet ere you solve this riddle.
Two letters from beginning, end, and middle, Ta'en from Verona-Ve-Ro-Na-denote Three famous cities; but I rather quote To pass Verona's fame from age to age Those her "Two Gentlemen" for every stage,
Above all heroes as Verona's stay,
Who make the title of our Shakespeare's play.
Both sun and moon a shadow make, Which does of neither nature take; For darkest 'tis, the nearest light And moon-made shadows oft affright. But shadow might be thought begun When yet was neither moon nor sun. Akin to chaos-newly born
Tis biggest at mid-day 'tis shorn; Longest at evening, as in the morn
All length it reaches-seldom still;
And though a point on mountain tops
Into the deepest valleys drops,
And spreads the curtain of the hills.
The silent shadow 'midst the roar
Of cannon flies from shore to shore,
Follows the smoke its pall to spread
Over the dying and the dead;
Before, behind, it takes its part,
Shows every head, but not one heart,
No substance having, falsely view'd
With loss of substance oft pursued,
Yet never grasped-so small, the shell
Of hazel-nut might hold it well;
So large, by mightiest hand 'tis hurled
Beyond the confines of the world.
Your first alone would give no guide The word's veiled meaning to divine; For what fair lady could decide
That such would be the effect of wine? The next affords a better clue,
To female hearts is more akin,
Maternal love, both strong and true,
Will ever fondly bless a twin.
To arts and arms, to toil and skill,
Too true, it is not always in
The power of those who have the skill
Success in their pursuit to win.
But now its parts restore, behold,
The word's full sense will clearly shine, Although the vaunt is somewhat bold, Round maiden's heart so sure to twine.
What bolder, louder than a gun?
Change u to i-beware-oh, shun
That sly soft path-and see therein
The metamorphosis to gin.
Spring, gun, and gin, are sometimes one;
You're caught by gin, and shot by gun;
Yet gun and gin, in general view,
Two ways of doing work pursue.
For gun goes off, if there be danger-
But gin is not so wide a ranger,
But close and secret lurks, for such is
His art to catch you in his clutches.
This riddle may a trap imply,
Which may not at first reading strike.
That as the letters-You and I--
Whate'er we seem, are not alike;
Small difference in our moral sight
Makes right seem wrong, and wrong seem
Is not a glove handsome, and ought it not to be matched? for it is one, and should be a pair. It has the offer of every lady's hand; and has it not received all the love-letters, L. O. V. E.? and yet one letter too many, G., overpowers the proper emphasis of love. So that as glove, it is doubtless off and on with many. Is no bride itself, but cast off at the altar at the moment of to have and to hold. No priest will put on a ring over a glove. As a glove, all desire to see it matched; yet
as long as it is a glove it must be single, though so many hold out their arms to receive it.
Remove the letter s from space,
You find the measure of a pace;
Then banish p, you have the ace.
Within a palm space confined,
And is unlimited as mind.
Of all the suits within the pack,
Whether they be the red or black,
By far most potent is the Ace,
The sovereign stamp is on his face.
Whatever honours others claim,
He is the very trump of fame;
Highest or lowest, all he braves,
Kings, queens, and baffles e'en the knaves.
As lowest cut, new strength reveals,
And takes precedence in the deals;
In life, as cards, the game is won,
By taking care of number one.
But your Etcæteras to answer,
Although most easily I can, sir,
And notice all their nice conditions,
Would be but idle repetitions.
Suffice, though I shall not recite 'em,
That space is found in every item.
Fairest is the morning dawn,
Fair will be its morrow;
Interfere not fatal U,
Making mourning sorrow.
U enchantress-roseate tints-
Can you never spare them?
Bidding bridal flowers be weeds,
Weeping widows wear them.
U depart-how sweet a dew
Paints the dawn's adorning; Saddening weeds are bridal flowers, Mourning is bright morning.
All peoples, languages, and nations,
Of whatsoe'er pronunciations,
Far as north, south, east, west, can reach,
Sound a, the letter in their speech.
Alike the savage and polite,
In this at least agreeing quite,
A surely stood in front of Adam
As second, and as fourth in madam.
Adam prefixed it to the name
Of creatures all that to him came;
All who confounded were at Babel,
To utter this one sound were able.
Utter'd by rudest Hottentot,
As 'twas by Zeno in his stoa;
And if days were when it was not,
It must have been the days of NoÁh.
And Fashions' purtenance is French,
A ground on which none dare to trench.
The real judgment 'tis of Paris,
For which to fight, as if pro aris-
For should an English dame profess
To be of taste the arbitress-
The fatal issue's beyond telling-
They'd put a bonnet on some Helen,
A casus belli shout with joy,
And act another siege of Troy.
Would Pluto ere have been consenting
To quit the pleasure of tormenting,
And keeping satisfactory eye on
Th' eternal treadmill of Ixion,
For Ceres' daughter up in Enna,
With a complexion brown as senna?
Which surely must have been the case
Without protection to her face;
Tho' very certain without this
She had not caught the heart of Dis.
She gather'd flowers, and why ?—with art
To make her bonnet look more smart.
For nicest ladies in those days
Were not o'erburthen'd much with stays,
Nor kerchiefs whereunto to pin,
Or vests to keep a floweret in.
But not to mar with low conclusion
The grand historical allusion,
Nor hurt in bonnet's own behoof
This dignity of classic proof,
Worthy a fourteen power of sonnet,
All meaner thoughts must stand aloof
-Good sir-your riddle means a Bonnet.
Let nothing more be said upon it,
But this-let French or English pin it,
We bless all heads that are within it.
'Tis not in man nor angel found, Alas! elsewhere it should abound!
In man's long life, perplexed with evil,
In maid, wife, widow, and in devil.
I understand your riddle, sir,
But to its sense I must demur;
Maid, wife, and widow, are terms all
Coin'd for man's use conventional.
If man and angel you exempt,
Put not on women your contempt;
For that same letter you bring in
To be the magic sign of sin,
And which you say is found in no man,
Is absent equally in woman.
But, sir, suppose your charge was true,
The evil rather rests with you;
Your argument is but a fib,
Although in language very glib;
For woman was but Adam's rib,
And you admit if, by your leave,
No sign of it was found in Eve;
The evil was in man unwedded,
Transferred to her but when she wedded.
Ill-furnish'd garrets often fit,
The upper storey of a wit,
Both empty, noticed oft to quit.
Rooms silent are from wall to floor,
Or set the tables in a roar.
In modern phrase you may have learn'd,
A House is out of windows turn'd,
Whether a rich man's or a poor's,
Ne'er was a room turn'd out of doors.
A sick room, left with scarce a shred,
Is better, if it keeps its bed.
How sad the Room where misery lies,
How gorgeous where the rich man dies-
Where jewels shine in nightly blaze,
Where lovers up to windows gaze;
Where in despite some day-blind covers
The scrutinies of sun and lovers,
Giving their good look-out chagrin,
By not allowing looking in;
And tho' it furnish'd be with glasses,
No spectacles can see what passes,
For windows are but eyes disposed
To let in the most light when closed.
You'd be a wondrous Architect,
Could you an edifice erect,
As cheaply as your Room you make
By riddling lines for Fancy's sake,
And outdo Milton with your chime,
And "build" a "lofty" room, not "rhyme."
I wonder much you waste your wit
A parish sexton's head to hit,
Who with his pick, or soon or late,
Will be revenged upon your pate.
For grave things, with your riddles, must
By him be riddled into dust.
Then, tho' he may not understand
Your riddles, with his spade in hand,
Ding-dong will have the upper hand.
Now turn your room about-both sound
And letters. How enlarged the bound,
For room, as Coleman says, read back,
"Like every other moor is black."
If Earth, it little profit yields
Except the rental of Moorfields.
The Moor Othello's jealous rage
Is often acted on the stage.
Bright sunshine and blue skies attest
Fair weather on the moorland's breast,
Yet sportsmen rather love moorfowl,
But when the wintry tempests howl
Along the moor and snow-drifts toss it,
There may be danger if you cross it.
Three epithets belong to top,
Which for generic term we drop;
The peg, the whipping, and the humming,
With each its proper place to come in.
The huming top in nurseries reigns,
The whipping in by-courts and lanes;
The manly peg all these disdains,
And with his challenges is found
Within the schoolboy's proper ground.
Thus far in unpoetic diction
The topographical description.-
The schoolboy given up to play,
Finds whipping-tops in learning's way,
Not thinking that, to serve good stead,
The better top should be the head;
Tasks idly learnt, from memory slipt,
Are top's revenge by bottom whipt.
Reverse the top-you go to pot-
Its irony-cool fits and hot;
It boils and broils, and stews and fries,
Its uses, ends, and properties,