Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AN ENIGMA, by VINCENT BOURNE



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AN ENIGMA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A needle, small as small can be
Last Line: And take me for your pains!
Subject(s): Artisans


A NEEDLE, small as small can be,
In bulk and use surpasses me,
Nor is my purchase dear;
For little, and almost for nought,
As many of my kind are bought
As days are in the year.

Yet though but little use we boast,
And are procured at little cost,
The labour is not light;
Nor few artificers it asks,
All skilful in their several tasks,
To fashion us aright.

One fuses metal o'er the fire,
A second draws it into wire,
The shears another plies,
Who clips in lengths the brazen thread
For him who, chafing every shred,
Gives all an equal size.

A fifth prepares, exact and round,
The knob with which it must be crowned;
His follower makes it fast:
And with his mallet and his file
To shape the point, employs awhile
The seventh and the last.

Now therefore, CEdipus! declare
What creature, wonderful and rare,
A process that obtains
Its purpose with so much ado
At last produces!--tell me true,
And take me for your pains!





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