Punch and Judy.

With seas and mountains thou hast nought to do,
Or simple nature in her savage mood,
Or fields, or babbling brooks:— thee none can view
'Mid variegated scene of rock and wood,
Nor where the learned pedant doth eschew
His fellow men in bookish solitude:
Thou hast not loved the monkish cell, nor played
With Amaryllis in the rural shade.

But where the stream of life flows fastest on,
Where boils the eddying vortex of the town,
There art thou seen; while ever and anon
The pausing porter throws his burden down;
And e'en the grave and magisterial Don,
Some man of high and orthodox renown,
Ashamed to stop, unwilling to advance,
Casts back a stealthy, longing, ling'ring glance!

Thou art the child of cities, and art found
A wand'ring orb with hundred satellites,
Where streets and congregated men abound,
And listless gazers seek whate'er excites,—
Thee most; for no ennui dares haunt the ground
Which thou hast charmed from all the gloomier sprites,
And e'en in London, where thou dost appear,
Thou mak'st one carnival throughout the year.

With haste less eager, and with zeal more cold,
Have courtiers crowded to the winning side;
Or vultures flocked to spots where they behold
That armies pass, or that the brave have died;
Or cats and dogs to barrows, whence is sold
The meat by female voices sweetly cried;
Than infancy has flown, and manhood, too,
Oh, charming Punch and Judy, unto you.

Yet, an exotic in the graver North,
Though Punch may live and laugh, he laughs not there,
As when in the warm South he revels forth,
And freely breathes his own inspiring air.
Tramontane hearts conceive not half his worth,
Felt and acknowledged in those regions fair
Where life is a long boyhood; and the breast
Glows with the climate, physically blest.

Not ancient Thespis, in theatric cart,
Ere gorgeous tragedy came sweeping by,
Was more beloved at Athens, than thou art
In lands that bask beneath the sunny sky,
Oh, Punch! — or in some city's ample mart,
Where lazy, laughing Lazzaroni lie;
And in street-corners nose and eye may dwell on,
Not the roast apple, but the smooth cool melon.

And with good cause at Venice, or at Milan,
May Punch be cherished:*— he makes time run faster,
And bids th' Italian slave forget his vilain :
All-prostrate doom — his country's long disaster.


* I strongly recommend the Emperor Francis
To cherish Punch and Operas through the state;
For oft amusements soothe rebellious fancies,
And turn the thoughts from vengeance and deep hate.

 

 

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