Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PROJECTS AND COMPANIES, by HORACE SMITH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PROJECTS AND COMPANIES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A nation's wealth that overflows
Last Line: That close his fourth epistle.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Pope, Alexander (1688-1744); Thames (river); War

A NATION'S wealth that overflows,
Will sometimes in its course disclose
Fantastical contortions:
'Tis like the rising of the Nile,
Which fats the soil, but breeds the while
Strange monsters and abortions.

Better our superflux to waste
On peaceful schemes, howe'er misplaced,
Than war and its abuses;
But better still if he could guide
And limit the Pactolian tide,
To salutary uses.

Our sires, poor unambitious folks!
Had but an individual hoax,
A single South-sea bubble:
Each province our delusion shares,
From Poyais down to Buenos-Ayres --
To count them is a trouble.

The gold that's sent out ready made
To the new world, must be repaid
By help of Watt and Boulton,
Who from their mines, by aid of pumps,
Will raise up ore, and lumps, and dumps,
Whence sovereigns may be molten!

Others, not roaming quite so far,
In stocks and bonds Peninsular,
Find all their treasure vanish;
Leaving a warning to the rash,
That the best way to keep their cash,
Is not to touch the Spanish.

Gilded by Eldorado dreams,
No wonder if our foreign schemes
Assume a tint romantic;
But even at home, beneath our eyes,
What ignes fatui arise,
Extravagant and antic!

Bridges of iron, stone, and wood,
Not only, Thames, bestride thy flood,
As if thou wert a runnel;
But terraces must clog thy shore,
While underneath thy bed we bore
A subterranean tunnel.

Now bursts a fiercer mania -- all
From every shire, the great, the small,
For Railroad shares are scrambling:
Peers, paupers, countesses, their maids,
With equal ardour ply the trades
Of jobbing, scheming, gambling.

Decoyed by projects wild and rash,
Some find their rail-devoted cash
Is lost beyond retrieval;
Others, who profitably sold,
Will tell you that the age of gold
And iron are coeval.

With each new moon new bubbles rise,
Each, as it flits before our eyes,
Its predecessor smashing;
All at their rivals freely throw
Their dirt, to which we doubtless owe
The Company for washing.

These are but weeds, the rich manure
Of overflowing wealth is sure
To generate the thistle: --
They who would learn its nobler use,
May Pope's majestic lines peruse
That close his Fourth Epistle.

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