Though I, alas! a prisoner be,
My trade is prisoners to set free.
No slave his lord’s commands obeys
With such insinuating ways.
My genius piercing, sharp, and bright,
Wherein the men of wit delight.
The clergy keep me for their ease,
And turn and wind me as they please.
A new and wondrous art I show
Of raising spirits from below;
In scarlet some, and some in white;
They rise, walk round, yet never fright.
In at each mouth the spirits pass,
Distinctly seen as through a glass:
O’er head and body make a rout,
And drive at last all secrets out;
And still, the more I show my art,
The more they open every heart.
A greater chemist none than I
Who, from materials hard and dry,
Have taught men to extract with skill
More precious juice than from a still.
Although I’m often out of case,
I’m not ashamed to show my face.
Though at the tables of the great
I near the sideboard take my seat;
Yet the plain ‘squire, when dinner’s done,
Is never pleased till I make one;
He kindly bids me near him stand,
And often takes me by the hand.
I twice a-day a-hunting go;
Nor ever fail to seize my foe;
And when I have him by the poll,
I drag him upwards from his hole;
Though some are of so stubborn kind,
I’m forced to leave a limb behind.
I hourly wait some fatal end;
For I can break, but scorn to bend.
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