Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RIDDLE, by NATHANIEL COTTON

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RIDDLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: From the dark caverns of the earth
Last Line: And make each fair a happy wife.
Subject(s): Cotton

FROM the dark caverns of the earth
Our family derive their birth;
By nature we appear to view
A rugged and a stubborn crew:
But Vulcan's brawny sons, by art,
Soften the hardness of our heart;
Give to a slender shape its grace,
And a bright polish to our face.
Thus education makes us mild,
Pliant and ductile as a child.
Survey the' attire of man, you'll trace
Our friendship for the human race.
We love mankind, indeed we do,
Our actions prove our speeches true.
But what is wondrous strange to name,
The aged female is our flame.
When strength decays, and optics fail,
And cold and penury prevail,
Our labours spare the matron's sight,
We ask but faint supplies of light,
Kindly our ancient girls regale,
With food, with fuel, and with ale.
We, as associates to mankind,
All act our various parts assign'd.
No useless hands obstruct our schemes,
We suit our numbers to our themes;
Hence only two of us apply,
To form a bandage for the thigh;
But when the grey industrious Peg
Demands a vestment for the leg,
'Tis then in little crowds we join
To aid the matron's wise design.
Thus four or five of us you'll see,
And each as busy as a bee;
Besides a kind assistant near,
Which Peg had stuck athwart her ear.
Now, lasses, if our name you'll tell,
And vow you'll always use us well,
We'll grant your wish to change your life,
And make each fair a happy wife.

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