DREAM THE FIRST.
I have been, like Puck, I have been, in a trice,
To a realm they call Fool’s Paradise,
Lying N.N.E. of the Land of Sense,
And seldom blest with a glimmer thence.
But they wanted not in this happy place,
Where a light of its own gilds every face;
Or if some wear a shadowy brow,
‘Tis the wish to look wise,–not knowing how.
Self-glory glistens o’er all that’s there,
The trees, the flowers have a jaunty air;
The well-bred wind in a whisper blows,
The snow, if it snows, is couleur de rose,
The falling founts in a titter fall,
And the sun looks simpering down on all.
Oh, ’tisn’t in tongue or pen to trace
The scenes I saw in that joyous place.
There were Lords and Ladies sitting together,
In converse sweet, “What charming weather!–
“You’ll all rejoice to hear, I’m sure,
“Lord Charles has got a good sinecure;
“And the Premier says, my youngest brother
“(Him in the Guards) shall have another.
“Isn’t this very, very gallant!–
“As for my poor old virgin aunt,
“Who has lost her all, poor thing, at whist,
“We must quarter her on the Pension List.”
Thus smoothly time in that Eden rolled;
It seemed like an Age of real gold,
Where all who liked might have a slice,
So rich was that Fools’ Paradise.
But the sport at which most time they spent,
Was a puppet-show, called Parliament
Performed by wooden Ciceros,
As large as life, who rose to prose,
While, hid behind them, lords and squires,
Who owned the puppets, pulled the wires;
And thought it the very best device
Of that most prosperous Paradise,
To make the vulgar pay thro’ the nose
For them and their wooden Ciceros.
And many more such things I saw
In this Eden of Church and State and Law;
Nor e’er were known such pleasant folk
As those who had the best of the joke.
There were Irish Rectors, such as resort
To Cheltenham yearly, to drink–port,
And bumper, “Long may the Church endure,
“May her cure of souls be a sinecure,
“And a score of Parsons to every soul
“A moderate allowance on the whole.”
There were Heads of Colleges lying about,
From which the sense had all run out,
Even to the lowest classic lees,
Till nothing was left but quantities;
Which made them heads most fit to be
Stuck up on a University,
Which yearly hatches, in its schools,
Such flights of young Elysian fools.
Thus all went on, so snug and nice,
In this happiest possible Paradise.
But plain it was to see, alas!
That a downfall soon must come to pass.
For grief is a lot the good and wise
Don’t quite so much monopolize,
But that (“lapt in Elysium” as they are)
Even blessed fools must have their share.
And so it happened:–but what befell,
In Dream the Second I mean to tell.