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IN THE CHARACTER OF HARLEQUIN, AT HIS
HOLD! Prompter, hold! a word before your
I'd speak a word or two, to ease my confcience.
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 jeft.
[Takes off his mask.
Whence, and what art thou, vifionary birth?
Nature difowns, and reafon fcorns thy mirth,
In thy black aspect every paffion fleeps,
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!
Whofe ins and outs no ray of sense discloses,
Whose only plot it is to break our noses;
Whilft from below the trap-door Dæmons rife,
And from above the dangling deities;
And fhall I mix in this unhallow'd crew?
May rofin'd lightning blast me, if I do!
No-I will act, I'll vindicate the stage:
Shakespeare himself shall feel my tragic rage.
Off! off! vile trappings! a new paffion reigns!
The mad'ning monarch revels in my veins.
Oh! for a Richard's voice to catch the theme:
Give me another horfe! bind up my wounds !—
foft-'twas but a dream.
Aye, 'twas but a dream, for now there's no retreating:
If I ceafe Harlequin, I ceafe from eating.
'Twas thus that Æfop's ftag, a creature blameless,
Yet fomething 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 difgraceful! ftrike me dead! "But for a head, yes, yes, I have a head.
"How piercing is that eye! how fleek that brow!
My horns! I'm told horns are the fashion now." Whilft thus he spoke, aftonish'd! to his view,
Near, and more near, the hounds and huntfmen drew. Hoicks! hark forward! came thundering from behind,
He bounds aloft, outftrips the fleeting wind:
He quits the woods, and tries the beaten ways;
He ftarts, 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 ftage door.
LOGICIANS have but ill defin'd
As rational the human mind;
Reason, they fay, belongs to man,
But let them prove it if they can.
Wife Aristotle and Smiglefius,
By Ratiocinations fpecious,
Have ftrove to prove with great precision,
With definition and division,
Homo eft ratione preditum ;
But for my foul I cannot credit 'em.
And must in fpite of them maintain,
That man and all his ways are vain;
And that this boafted lord of nature,
Is both a weak and erring creature.
That instinct is a furer guide,
Than reafon-boafting mortals pride;
And that brute beafts are far before 'em,
Deus eft anima brutorum.'
Whoever knew an honest brute,
At law his neighbour profecute,
Bring action for affault 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 poetafters,
Are known to honest quàdrupeeds,
No fingle brute his fellows leads.