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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
A Simile
By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)
 
DEAR THOMAS, didst thou never pop
Thy head into a tinman’s shop?
There, Thomas, didst 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’s 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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