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A Philosophical* Poem, in Two Cantos;
With a Commentary in Verse, by Bougersdickius.

“Ludibria seriw penniscere solitua.”—Tacitus.

I sing of Punch, and therefore must I sing
Of feats familiar, yet for ever new:
Of merry faces, gathered in a ring,
The magic oft admired, again to view;
While laughter, like a river from its spring,
Throws o'er the spirit its refreshing dew;
And gushes on with unimpeded course,
Exhaustless still from an exhaustless source.

What is that shrill inimitable cry,
With joyous shouts of idle urchins blended?
What that strange curtained box, well-poised on high
With four long poles by which its sides are ended?
What should it be, but Punch ?—who, passing by,
Comes, like a conqueror from his wars, attended
By music, far on London echoes borne,
Drum, or pandean pipe, or clanging horn.

• Esteemed and gentle reader, in the proem
Of these my notes, I deem it just to mention,
That though th' ingenious author (and I know him
Modest, and full of every good intention)
Has named but "philosophical," the poem
Will shine with more diversified invention,
As moral, metaphysical, and critical,

And this I say because myself and he
Feel that mere verses written with facility,
Stuffed with but idle (lights and fancies free,
Nor turned to that sole end of life —utility,
Are things which neither can nor ought to be
Received in such an age with e'en civility.
Hapless the hard, who when they ask "cui bono?"
Your work—is't practical? must answer "oh no.”

But now of Punch! The word it will he seen,
Nay, must occur at once to observation,
In our judicious author does not mean
The beverage, loved throughout the British nation,
Which, more than Owen proves the worth, I ween,
Of that great principle—co-operation :
Since sugar, lemon, spirits, there combine
Sweet, sour, strong, weak, to form a drink divine.

But our illustrious author, as was said,
Takes for the theme on which his verse to spin
A Punch, which, though right pleasant, is not made
Of whisky, brandy, hollands, rum, or gin.
But Punch, the jovial, laugh-exciting blade,
Sworn friend of Scaramouch and Harlequin.
Yet, though thus different, both are good for some ache,
One cheers the mind, the other warms the stomach.


** Some of the early stanzas of this poem appeared in the European Magazine.