William Shenstone

(1714 - 1763 / England)

A Simile


What village but has sometimes seen
The clumsy shape, the frightful mien,
Tremendous claws, and shagged hair
Of that grim brute yclept a bear?
He from his dam the learn'd agree,
Received the curious form you see;
Who with her plastic tongue alone,
Produced a visage-like her own-
And thus they hint, in mystic fashion,
The powerful force of education.
Perhaps yon crowd of swains is viewing,
Even now, the strange exploits of Bruin,
Who plays his antics, roars aloud,
The wonder of a gaping crowd!
So have I known an awkward lad,
Whose birth has made a parish glad,
Forbid, for fear of sense, to roam,
And taught by kind mamma at home,
Who gives him many a well-tried rule,
With ways and means-to play the fool.
In sense the same, in stature higher,
He shines, ere long, a rural squire,
Pours forth unwitty jokes, and swears,
And bawls, and drinks, but chiefly stares:
His tenants of superior sense
Carouse, and laugh, at his expense,
And deem the pastime I'm relating
To be as pleasant as bear-baiting.

Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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