Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ARCHITECTURAL ATOMS, BY DR. B., by HORACE SMITH



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ARCHITECTURAL ATOMS, BY DR. B., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Away, fond dupes! Who, smit with sacred love
Last Line: But live, kind bard -- that I may live myself.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Busby, Thomas (1755-1838); Translating & Interpreting


To be recited by the Translator's Son.

AWAY, fond dupes! who, smit with sacred lore,
Mosaic dreams in Genesis explore,
Doat with Copernicus, or darkling stray
With Newton, Ptomley, or Tycho Brahe!
To you I sing not, for I sing of truth,
Primeval systems, and creation's youth;
Such as of old, with magic wisdom fraught,
Inspired LUCRETIUS to the Latians taught.

I sing how casual bricks, in airy climb,
Encounter'd casual cow-hair, casual lime;
How rafters, borne through wondering clouds elate,
Kiss'd in their slope blue elemental slate,
Clasp'd solid beams in chance-directed fury,
And gave to birth our renovated Drury.

Thee, son of Jove! whose sceptre was confess'd,
Where fair AEolia springs from Tethys' breast;
Thence on Olympus, 'mid celestials placed,
GOD OF THE WINDS, and Ether's boundless waste --
Thee I invoke! Oh puff my bold design,
Prompt the bright thought, and swell th' harmonious line;
Uphold my pinions, and my verse inspire
With Winsor's patent gas, or wind of fire,
In whose pure blaze thy embryo form enroll'd,
The dark enlightens, and enchafes the cold.

But, while I court thy gifts, be mine to shun
The deprecated prize Ulysses won;
Who, sailing homeward from the breezy shore,
The prison'd winds in skins of parchment bore.
Speeds the fleet bark till o'er the billows green
The azure heights of Ithaca are seen;
But while with favouring gales her way she wins,
His curious comrades ope the mystic skins;
When, lo! the rescued winds, with boisterous sweep,
Roar to the clouds and lash the rocking deep;
Heaves the smote vessel in the howling blast,
Splits the stretch'd sail, and cracks the tottering mast.
Launch'd on a plank, the buoyant hero rides,
Where ebon Afric stems the sable tides,
While his duck'd comrades o'er the ocean fly,
And sleep not in the whole skins they untie.

So, when to raise the wind some lawyer tries,
Mysterious skins of parchment meet our eyes;
On speeds the smiling suit -- "Pleas of our Lord
The King" shine sable on the wide record;
Nods the prunella'd bar, attorneys smile,
And syren jurors flatter to beguile;
Till stript -- nonsuited -- he is doomed to toss
In legal shipwreck and redeemless loss!
Lucky, if, like Ulysses, he can keep,
His head above the waters of the deep.

AEolian monarch! Emperor of Puffs!
We modern sailors dread not thy rebuffs;
See to thy golden shore promiscuous come
Quacks for the lame, the blind, the deaf, the dumb;
Fools are their bankers -- a prolific line,
And every mortal malady's a mine.
Each sly Sangrado, with his poisonous pill,
Flies to the printer's devil with his bill,
Whose Midas touch can gild his ass's ears,
And load a knave with folly's rich arrears.
And lo! a second miracle is thine,
For sloe-juice water stands transformed to wine.
Where Day and Martin's patent blacking roll'd,
Burst from the vase Pactolian streams of gold;
Laugh the sly wizards, glorying in their stealth,
Quit the black art, and loll in lazy wealth.
See Britain's Algerines, the lottery fry,
Win annual tribute by the annual lie!
Aided by thee -- but whither do I stray? --
Court, city, borough, own thy sovereign sway;
An age of puffs an age of gold succeeds,
And windy bubbles are the spawn it breeds.

If such thy power, O hear the Muse's prayer!
Swell thy loud lungs and wave thy wings of air;
Spread, viewless giant, all thy arms of mist
Like windmill-sails to bring the poet grist;
As erst thy roaring son, with eddying gale,
Whirl'd Orithyia from her native vale --
So, while Lucretian wonders I rehearse,
Augusta's sons shall patronise my verse.

I sing of ATOMS, whose creative brain,
With eddying impulse, built new Drury Lane;
Not to the labours of subservient man,
To no young Wyatt appertains the plan --
We mortals stalk, like horses in a mill,
Impassive media of atomic will;
Ye stare! then Truth's broad talisman discern --
'Tis demonstration speaks -- attend, and learn!

From floating elements in Chaos hurl'd,
Self-form'd of atoms, sprang the infant world:
No great First Cause inspired the happy plot,
But all was matter -- and no matter what.
Atoms, attracted by some law occult,
Settling in spheres, the globe was the result;
Pure child of Chance, which still directs the ball,
As rotatory atoms rise or fall.
In ether launch'd, the peopled bubble floats,
A mass of particles and confluent motes,
So nicely poised, that if one atom flings
Its weight away, aloft the planet springs,
And wings its course through realms of boundless space,
Outstripping comets in eccentric race.
Add but one atom more, it sinks outright
Down to the realms of Tartarus and night.
What waters melt or scorching fires consume,
In different forms their being re-assume:
Hence can no change arise, except in name,
For weight and substance ever are the same.

Thus with the flames that from old Drury rise
Its elements primeval sought the skies;
There pendulous to wait the happy hour
When new attractions should restore their power:
So, in this procreant theatre elate,
Echoes unborn their future life await;
Here embryo sounds in ether lie conceal'd,
Like words in northern atmosphere congeal'd.
Here many a foetus laugh and half encore
Clings to the roof, or creeps along the floor;
By puffs concipient some in ether flit,
And soar in bravos from the thundering pit;
Some forth on ticket-nights from tradesmen break,
To mar the actor they design to make;
While some this mortal life abortive miss,
Crush'd by a groan, or strangled by a hiss.
So, when "Dog's-meat" re-echoes through the streets,
Rush sympathetic dogs from their retreats,
Beam with bright blaze their supplicating eyes,
Sink their hind-legs, ascend their joyful cries;
Each, wild with hope, and maddening to prevail,
Points the pleased ear, and wags the expectant tail.

Ye fallen bricks! in Drury's fire calcined,
Since doom'd to slumber, couch'd upon the wind,
Sweet was the hour, when, tempted by your freaks.
Congenial trowels smooth'd your yellow cheeks.
Float dulcet serenades upon the ear,
Bends every atom from its ruddy sphere,
Twinkles each eye, and, peeping from its veil,
Marks in the adverse crowd its destined male.
The oblong beauties clap their hands of grit,
And brick-dust titterings on the breezes flit;
Then down they rush in amatory race,
Their dusty bridegrooms eager to embrace.
Some choose old lovers, some decide for new,
But each, when fix'd, is to her station true.
Thus various bricks are made, as tastes invite --
The red, the gray, the dingy, or the white.

Perhaps some half-baked rover, frank and free,
To alien beauty bends the lawless knee,
But of unhallow'd fascinations sick,
Soon quits his Cyprian for his married brick;
The Dido atom calls and scolds in vain,
No crisp AEneas soothes the widow's pain.

So in Cheapside, what time Aurora peeps,
A mingled noise of dustmen, milk, and sweeps,
Falls on the housemaid's ear: amazed she stands,
Then opes the door with cinder-sabled hands,
And "Matches" calls. The dustman, bubbled flat,
Thinks 'tis for him, and doffs his fan-tail'd hat;
The milkman, whom her second cries assail,
With sudden sink unyokes the clinking pail;
Now louder grown, by turns she screams and weeps --
Alas! her screaming only brings the sweeps.
Sweeps but put out -- she wants to raise a flame,
And calls for matches, but 'tis all the same.
Atoms and housemaids! mark the moral true --
If once ye go astray, no match for you!

As atoms in one mass united mix,
So bricks attraction feel for kindred bricks;
Some in the cellar view, perchance, on high,
Fair chimney chums on beds of mortar lie;
Enamour'd of the sympathetic clod,
Leaps the red bridegroom to the labourer's hod:
And up the ladder bears the workman, taught
To think he bears the bricks -- mistaken thought!
A proof behold: if near the top they find
The nymphs or broken-corner'd or unkind,
Back to the base, "resulting with a bound,"
They bear their bleeding carriers to the ground!

So legends tell along the lofty hill
Paced the twin heroes, gallant Jack and Jill;
On trudged the Gemini to reach the rail
That shields the well's top from the expectant pail,
When, ah! Jack falls; and, rolling in the rear,
Jill feels the attraction of his kindred sphere;
Head over heels begins his toppling track,
Throws sympathetic somersets with Jack,
And at the mountain's base bobs plump against him, whack!

Ye living atoms, who unconscious sit,
Jumbled by chance in gallery, box, and pit,
For you no Peter opes the fabled door,
No churlish Charon plies the shadowy oar;
Breathe but a space, and Boreas' casual sweep
Shall bear your scatter'd corses o'er the deep,
To gorge the greedy elements, and mix
With water, marl, and clay, and stones, and sticks;
While, charged with fancied souls, sticks, stones, and clay,
Shall take your seats, and hiss or clap the play.

O happy age! when convert Christians read
No sacred writings but the Pagan creed --
O happy age! when, spurning Newton's dreams,
Our poets' sons recite Lucretian themes,
Abjure the idle systems of their youth,
And turn again to atoms and to truth; --
O happier still! when England's dauntless dames,
Awed by no chaste alarms, no latent shames,
The bard's fourth book unblushingly peruse,
And learn the rampant lessons of the stews!

All hail, Lucretius! renovated sage!
Unfold the modest mystics of thy page;
Return no more to thy sepulchral shelf,
But live, kind bard -- that I may live myself.





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