Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
A Simile
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)
DEAR Thomas, did’st thou never pop
Thy head into a tin-man’s shop?
There, Thomas, did’st thou never see
(’Tis but by way of Simile!)
A squirrel spend his little rage,        5
In jumping round a rolling cage?
The cage, as either side turned up,
Striking a ring of bells a-top?—
  Moved in the orb, pleased with the chimes,
The foolish creature thinks he climbs:        10
But here or there, turn wood or wire,
He never gets two inches higher.
  So fares it with those merry blades,
That frisk it under Pindus’ shades.
In noble songs, and lofty odes,        15
They tread on stars, and talk with Gods;
Still dancing in an airy round,
Still pleased with their own verses’ sound;
Brought back, how fast soe’er they go,
Always aspiring, always low.        20

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