A Puppet-Show

Translated from the Latin of Mr. Addison .

Of wondrous Art the Muse delighted sings,
And rare Diversion rais'd from trivial things,
Of Pygmy-folk, by Pow'r mechanic wrought,
And Men, the Product of the Workman's Thought.
 Where the throng'd Street resounds with Laughter loud,
And Andrew , drolling, charms the gaping Croud;
Within, whom Mirth and Novelty invite
To humble Sport and innocent Delight,
In a small Theatre an Audience meets,
And fills, but unpromiscuous fills the Seats;
For each from each distinct the Benches stand,
And different Prices different Seats demand.
The Curtain drawn discloses to the View
The lengthen'd Stage and opening Avenue,
Whose narrow Limits and contracted Space,
Gay glittering Scenes magnificently grace.
And now with Comic Mirth, or Tragic Rage,
The little Actors enter on the Stage,
The Drama swells, and to the wondring Eyes
Triumphs, and Wars, and solemn Consults rise;
All Actions that on Life's great Stage appear,
In Miniature are represented here.
 Above the rest, the Heroe of the Throng,
A prattling merry Mortal stalks along,
Of Comic Mien, and Shape uncouth to see:
His Back projects a huge Gibbosity;
His portly Belly of enormous Size,
Brac'd in a Range of monstrous Buttons lies;
And with incessant Motion roll his Eyes:
His Limbs a Bulk and Strength superior boast,
And uncontroll'd he struts, and rules the Roast,
Chatters, and laughs immoderately loud,
And scolds and swaggers at the Pygmy Croud;
For mimic Mirth and ready Repartee,
For arch Conceits, and Pranks of Pleasantry,
Was never an unluckier Stick than he.
When solemn Scenes th'attentive Eye engage,
And Tragedy in Buskins treads the Stage;
Then, ever loving Mischief at his Heart,
Besure this boist'rous Ruffian plays his Part,
With Flouts and Jests impertinently gay,
Disturbs the Action, and confounds the Play:
Nor his outrageous Insolence forbears,
With saucy Freedoms and indecent Airs,
For the soft Sex to own his am'rous Flames,
And ravish Kisses from the struggling Dames.
 Sometimes a Train more glorious to behold,
With Gems resplendent and embroider'd Gold,
In Robes of State attir'd and rich Array,
Displays the Pomp of some illustrious Day:
Small Nobles, tiny Peers, a splendid Throng,
And wooden Heroines pass in State along:
With active Steps the gentle Knights advance,
And graceful lead the Ladies to the Dance:
Safe from the Insults of the hostile Crane,
The Pygmy Court seems here restor'd again,
In all the Glories of its ancient Reign.
At Noon of Night, by Phœ's lightsom Ray,
Thus the brisk Tribe of slender Fairies play,
Still round and round their circling Dance pursue,
And leave their Footsteps in the Morning Dew.
The fruitful Earth hence draws a quick Produce,
And teems luxuriant with a mystic Juice,
Pours forth full Crops where they have led the Round,
And verdant Circles mark the sacred Ground.
 Yet oft' their Sports are lost in loud Alarms,
Whilst eager fly the dapper Chiefs to Arms;
To stern Contention joyous Peace gives way,
As sudden Show'rs deform the smiling Day.
Thus are our Pleasures still chastis'd with Strife,
And Good and Evil checquer Human Life.
Now Swords, and Spears, and murd'ring Guns they bear,
And all the fatal Instruments of War;
The Scenes with Crackers dreadful Bursts refound,
And Squibs and Serpents his along the Ground.
Whole Troops of slaughter'd Heroes strow the Stage,
The Crimes of dire Revenge and civil Rage.
 Soon as the Fury of the Fight is o'er,
And War's tumultuous Din is heard no more;
Their former Cares the jovial Tribe renew,
And all the pleasant Arts of Peace pursue.
Heroes of old, in happier Ages born,
Whose godlike Acts the Sacred Page adorn,
Here much contracted in their Bulk return.
The Sages of the Patriarchal Seed,
A hoary venerable Train proceed;
Wrinkled their Face, with Age their Body bends,
Adown their Breast a rev'rend Beard descends.
Old Tithou thus, if ancient Tales speak true,
Small, and more small, by Age diminish'd grew;
His Form, at last, worn by a Length of Years,
Shrunk from a Pygmy's to a Grashopper's.
 Now say, my Muse, from what superior Cause
This slender Nation its Existence draws:
Say from what Pow'r their various Motions rise?
What Hand such Vigour to their Limbs supplies?
The Artist's Skill contrives the wooden Race,
And carves in lifeless Sticks the Human Face;
Then shapes the Trunk, and then the Parts assigns,
And Limbs to Limbs in meet Proportion joins;
With slender Tendons ev'ry Joint the strings,
And forms the Movements with elastic Springs:
And now directed by a Hand unseen,
The finish'd Puppet struts before the Scene,
Exalts a treble Voice, and Eunuch Tone,
And squeaks his Part in Accents not his own.
Author of original: 
Joseph Addison
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