Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FAT ACTOR AND THE RUSTIC, by HORACE SMITH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FAT ACTOR AND THE RUSTIC, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Cardinal wolsey was a man
Last Line: "a load of hay got in this afternoon!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Actors & Actresses; Obesity; Peace

Of an unbounded stomach, Shakespeare says:
Meaning, (in metaphor,) for ever puffing
To swell beyond his size and span;
But had he seen a player of our days
Enacting Falstaff without stuffing,
He would have owned that Wolsey's bulk ideal
Equalled not that within the bounds
This actor's belt surrounds,
Which is, moreover, all alive and real.

This player, when the Peace enabled shoals
Of our odd fishes
To visit every clime between the poles,
Swam with the stream, a histrionic Kraken:
Although his wishes
Must not in this proceeding be mistaken,
For he went out professionally bent
To see how money might be made, not spent.

In this most laudable employ
He found himself at Lille one afternoon;
And that he might the breeze enjoy,
And catch a peep at the ascending moon,
Out of the town he took a stroll,
Refreshing in the fields his soul
With sight of streams, and trees, and snowy fleeces,
And thoughts of crowded houses and new pieces.

When we are pleasantly employed, time flies; --
He counted up his profits in the skies,
Until the moon began to shine,
On which he gazed awhile, and then,
Pulled out his watch, and cried -- "Past nine!
Why, zounds, they shut the gates at ten!"
Backwards he turned his steps instanter,
Stumping along with might and main,
And though 'tis plain
He couldn't gallop, trot, or canter,
(Those who had seen it would confess it,) he
Marched well for one of such obesity.

Eyeing his watch, and now his forehead mopping,
He puffed and blew along the road,
Afraid of melting, more afraid of stopping;
When in his path he met a clown,
Returning from the town. --
"Tell me," he panted in a thawing state,
"Dost think I can get in friend, at the gate?"
"Get in?" replied the hesitating loon,
Measuring with his eye our bulky wight:
"Why yes, sir, I should think you might --
A load of hay got in this afternoon!"

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