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IN IMITATION OF DEAN SWIFT.
LOGICIANS have but ill defined,
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 specious,
Have strove to prove with great precision,
With definition and division,
Homo est ratione præditum;
But for my soul I cannot credit 'em :
And must in spite of them maintain
That man and all bis ways are vain;
And that this boasted lord of nature
Is both a weak and erring creature:
This instinct is a surer guide
Than reason, boasting mortals' pride :
And that brute beasts are far before 'em,
Deus est anima brutorum.
Who ever 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 unconfined,
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;
Franght with invective they ne'er go,
To folks at Paternoster-row:
No judges, fiddlers, dancing-masters,
No pickpockets, or poetasters
Are known to honest quadrupeds ;
No single brute his fellow leads;
Brutes never meet in bloody fray,
Nor cut each other's throats for pay.
Of beasts, it is confess'd the ape
Comes nearest us in human shape.
Like man, he imitates each fashion,
And malice is his ruling passion :
But both in malice and grimaces,
A courtier any ape surpasses.
Behold him, humbly cringing, wait
Upon the minister of state:
View him soon after to inferiors
Aping the conduct of superiors:
He promises with equal air,
And to perform takes equal care.
He in his turn finds imitators;
At court, the porters, lackeys, waiters,
Their masters' manners still contract,
And footmen lords and dukes can act;
Thus, at the court, both great and small
Behave alike-for all ape all.
LONG had I sought in vain to find
A likeness for the scribbling kind;
The modern scribbling kind, who write
In wit, and sense, and nature's spite:
Till reading, I forget what day on,
A chapter out of Tooke's pantheon,
I think I met with something there,
To suit my purpose to a hair;
But let us not proceed too furious,
First please to turn to god Mercurius :
You'll find him pictured at full length
In book the second, page the tenth:
The stress of all my proofs on bim I lay,
And now proceed we to our simile.
Imprimis, pray observe his hat,
Wings upon either side-mark that.
Well! what is it from thence we gather?
Why these denote a brain of feather.
A brain of feather! very right,
With wit that's flighty, learning light;
Such as to modern bards decreed;
A just comparison-proceed.
In the next place, his feet peruse,
Wings grow again from both his shoes ;
Design’d, no doubt, their part to bear,
And waft his godship through the air;
And here my simile upites ;
For, in a modern poet's flights,
I'm sure it may be justly said,
His feet are useful as his head.
Lastly, vouchsafe to observe his hand, Fill'd with a snake-encircled wand: By classic authors term'd caduceus, And highly famed for several uses : To wit-most wondrously endued, No poppy water half so good, For let folks only get a touch, Its soporific virtue's such, Though ne'er so much awake before, That quickly they begin to snore. Add too, what certain writers tell, With this he drives men's souls to hell.
Now to apply, begin we then: His wand's a modern author's pen : The serpents round about it twined Denote him of the reptile kind; Denote the rage with which he writes, His frothy slaver, venom'd bites; An equal semblance still to keep Alike too both conduce to sleep.