The Buffoon and Country-Fellow

In ev’ry age, in each profession,
Men err the most by prepossession;
But when the thing is clearly shown,
Is fairly urged, and fully known,
We soon applaud what we deride,
And penitence succeeds to pride.
A certain noble, on a day,
Having a mind to show away,
Invited by reward the mimes
And play’rs and tumblers of the times,
And built a large commodious stage
For the choice spirits of the age:
But, above all, amongst the rest
There came a genius who profess’d
To have a curious trick in store
That never was perform’d before.
Through all the town this soon got air,
And the whole house was like a fair;
But soon his entry as he made,
Without a prompter or parade,
’Twas all expectance and suspense,
And silence gagg’d the audience.
He, stooping down and looking big,
So wondrous well took off a pig,
All swore ’twas serious, and no joke,
For that, or underneath his cloak
He had concealed some grunting elf,
Or was a real hog himself.
A search was made—no pig was found—
With thund’ring claps the seats resound,
And pit, and box, and gall’ries roar
With— “O rare! bravo!” and “encore.”
Old Roger Grouse, a country clown,
Who yet knew something of the town,
Beheld the mimic of his whim,
And on the morrow challenged him
Declaring to each beau and belle
That he this grunter would excel.
The morrow came—the crowd was greater—
But prejudice and rank ill-nature
Usurp’d the minds of men and wenches,
Who came to hiss and break the benches.
The mimic took his usual station,
And squeak’d with general approbation;
Again “Encore! encore!” they cry—
“’Tis quite the thing, ’tis very high.”
Old Grouse conceal’d, amidst this racket,
A real pig beneath his jacket—
Then forth he came, and with his nail
He pinch’d the urchin by the tail.
The tortured pig, from out his throat,
Produced the genuine nat’ral note.
All bellow’d out ’twas very sad!
Sure never stuff was half so bad.
“That like a pig!” each cried in scoff;
“Pshaw! nonsense! blockhead! off! off! off!”
The mimic was extoll’d, and Grouse
Was hiss’d, and catcall’d from the house.
“Soft ye, a word before I go,”
Quoth honest Hodge; and stooping low,
Produced the pig, and thus aloud
Bespoke the stupid partial crowd:
“Behold, and learn from this poor cratur,
How much you critics know of natur!” [more info]

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