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But when a man tells horrid lies,
'Tis Alfred fills the public prints With all the sly, ingenious hints That fly about, begirt with cares, And terrify the Bulls and Bears. Unrivallid statesman! War and peace He makes and breaks with perfect ease; Skilful to crown and to depose, He sets up kings and overthrows; As if apprentic'd to the work, He ties the bowstring round the Turk, Or makes the Algerine devout, Or plagues His Holiness with gout, Or drives the Spaniards from Madrid As quick as Bonaparte did. Sometimes at home his plots he lays, And wildly still his fancy plays. He pulls the Speaker from the Chair, Murders the Sheriffs, or the Mayor,
Or drags a Bishop through the mire,
And now, amid that female rout,
Jacques, the Cantab! I see him brood, Wrapt in his mental solitude, On thoughts that lie too deep, I wis, For such a scene and hour as this.
Now shall the rivers freeze in May,
From thoughts that grieve, and words that
vex, And names invented to perplex; From latent findings, never found; And mystic figures, square and round; Shapes from whose labyrinthine toil A Dædalus might well recoil ; He steals one night—one single night, And gives its moments to delight. Yet still upon his struggling soul The muddy wave of Cam will roll, And all the monsters grim, that float Upon that dark and mirky moat, Come jabbering round him-dark equation, Subtle distinction, disputation; Notion, idea, mystic schism, Assumption, proof, and syllogism; And many an old and awful name Of optic or mechanic fame. Look! in the van stern Euclid shows The Asses' Bridge upon his nose; Bacon comes forward, sage austere, And Locke and Paley both are there;
And Newton, with a spiteful hiss,
Peace to the man of marble !
Hush! Whence is the universal rush ? Why doth confusion thus affright The peaceful order of the night, Thwart the musicians in their task, And check the schoolboy's pas de basque ? The Lady Clare hath lost a comb! If old Queen Bess, from out her tomb, Had burst with royal indignation Upon our scandalous flirtation,Darted a glance immensely chilling Upon our waltzing and quadrilling,– Flown at the fiddlers in a pet, And bade them play her minuet,Her stately step, and angry eye, Her waist so low, her neck so high, Her habit of inspiring fear, Her knack of boxing on the ear,Could ne'er have made the people stare, Like the lost comb of Lady Clare! The tresses it was wont to bind, Joy in their freedom! unconfined They float around her, and bedeck The marble whiteness of her neck With veil of more resplendent hue Than ever Aphrodite threw Around her, when, unseen, she trod Before the sight of man or God.