“Up with me! — up with me into the sky!”
WORDSWORTH—on a Lark.
Dear Graham, whilst the busy crowd,
The vain, the wealthy, and the proud,
Their meaner flights pursue,
Let us cast off the foolish ties
That bind us to the earth, and rise
And take a bird’s-eye view! —
A few more whiffs of my segar
And then, in Fancy’s airy car,
Have with thee for the skies:—
How oft this fragrant smoke upcurl’d
Hath borne me from this little world,
And all that in it lies! —
Away! — away! — the bubble fills —
Farewell to earth and all its hills! —
We seem to cut the wind! —
So high we mount, so swift we go,
The chimney tops are far below,
The Eagle’s left behind! —
Ah me! my brain begins to swim! —
The world is growing rather dim;
The steeples and the trees —
My wife is getting very small!
I cannot see my babe at all! —
The Dollond, if you please! —
Do, Graham, let me have a quiz;
Lord! what a Lilliput it is.
That little world of Mogg’s! —
Are those the London Docks? — that channel,
The mighty Thames? — a proper kennel
For that small Isle of Dogs! —
What is that seeming tea-urn there?
That fairy dome, St. Paul’s! — I swear,
Wren must have been a Wren! —
And that small stripe? — it cannot be
The City Road! — Good lack! to see
The little ways of men!
Little, indeed! — my eyeballs ache
To find a turnpike. — I must take
Their tolls upon my trust! —
And where is mortal labor gone?
Look, Graham, for a little stone
Mac Adamiz’d to dust!
Look at the horses! — less than flies! —
Oh, what a waste it was of sighs
To wish to be a Mayor!
What is the honor? — none at all,
One’s honor must be very small
For such a civic chair! —
And there’s Guildhall! —’tis far aloof —
Methinks, I fancy through the roof
Its little guardian Gogs,
Like penny dolls — a tiny show! —
Well — I must say they’re rul’d below
By very little logs! —
Oh, Graham! how the upper air
Alters the standards of compare;
One of our silken flags
Would cover London all about —
Nay, then — let’s even empty out
Another brace of bags!
Now for a glass of bright champagne
Above the clouds! — Come, let us drain
A bumper as we go! —
But hold! — for God’s sake do not cant
The cork away — unless you want
To brain your friends below.
Think! what a mob of little men
Are crawling just within our ken,
Like mites upon a cheese! —
Pshaw! — how the foolish sight rebukes
Ambitious thoughts! — can there be Dukes
Of Gloster such as these! —
Oh! what is glory? — what is fame?
Hark to the little mob’s acclaim,
’Tis nothing but a hum! —
A few near gnats would trump as loud
As all the shouting of a crowd
That has so far to come! —
Well — they are wise that choose the near,
A few small buzzards in the ear,
To organs ages hence! —
Ah me! how distance touches all;
It makes the true look rather small,
But murders poor pretence
“The world recedes! — it disappears!
Heav’n opens on my eyes — my ears
With buzzing noises ring!”—
A fig for Southey’s Laureat lore!”—
What’s Rogers here? — Who cares for Moore
That hears the Angels sing! —”
A fig for earth, and all its minions! —
We are above the world’s opinions,
Graham! we’ll have our own! —
Look what a vantage height we’ve got! —
Now —do you think Sir Walter Scott
Is such a Great Unknown?
Speak up! — or hath he hid his name
To crawl thro’ “subways” unto fame,
Like Williams of Cornhill? —
Speak up, my lad! — when men run small
We’ll show what’s little in them all,
Receive it how they will! —
Think now of Irving! — shall he preach
The princes down — shall he impeach
The potent and the rich,
Merely on ethic stilts — and I
Not moralize at two mile high
The true didactic pitch!
Come:— what d’ye think of Jeffrey, sir?
Is Gifford such a Gulliver
In Lilliput’s Review,
That like Colossus he should stride
Certain small brazen inches wide
For poets to pass through?
Look down! the world is but a spot.
Now say — Is Blackwood’s low or not,
For all the Scottish tone?
It shall not weigh us here — not where
The sandy burden’s lost in air —
Our lading — where is’t flown?
Now — like you Croly’s verse indeed —
In heaven — where one cannot read
The “Warren” on a wall?
What think you here of that man’s fame?
Tho’ Jerdan magnified his name,
To me ’tis very small!
And, truly, is there such a spell
In those three letters, L. E. L.,
To witch a world with song?
On clouds the Byron did not sit,
Yet dar’d on Shakspeare’s head to spit,
And say the world was wrong!
And shall not we? Let’s think aloud!
Thus being couch’d upon a cloud,
Graham, we’ll have our eyes!
We felt the great when we were less,
But we’ll retort on littleness
Now we are in the skies.
O Graham, Graham, how I blame
The bastard blush — the petty shame,
That used to fret me quite —
The little sores I cover’d then,
No sores on earth, nor sorrows when
The world is out of sight!
My name is Tims. — I am the man
That North’s unseen diminish’d clan
So scurvily abused!
I am the very P. A. Z.
The London’s Lion’s small pin’s head
So often hath refused!
Campbell —(you cannot see him here)—
Hath scorn’d my lays:— do his appear
Such great eggs from the sky? —
And Longman, and his lengthy Co.
Long, only, in a little Row,
Have thrust my poems by!
What else? — I’m poor, and much beset
With damn’d small duns — that is — in debt
Some grains of golden dust!
But only worth, above, is worth. —
What’s all the credit of the earth?
An inch of cloth on trust?
What’s Rothschild here, that wealthy man!
Nay, worlds of wealth? — Oh, if you can
Spy out — the Golden Ball!
Sure as we rose, all money sank:
What’s gold or silver now? — the Bank
Is gone — the ‘Change and all!
What’s all the ground-rent of the globe? —
Oh, Graham, it would worry Job
To hear its landlords prate!
But after this survey, I think
I’ll ne’er be bullied more, nor shrink
From men of large estate!
And less, still less, will I submit
To poor mean acres’ worth of wit —
I that have heaven’s span —
I that like Shakspeare’s self may dream
Beyond the very clouds, and seem
An Universal Man!
Mark, Graham, mark those gorgeous crowds!
Like Birds of Paradise the clouds
Are winging on the wind!
But what is grander than their range?
More lovely than their sunset change? —
The free creative mind!
Well! the Adults’ School’s in the air!
The greatest men are lesson’d there
As well as the Lessee!
Oh could Earth’s Ellistons thus small
Behold the greatest stage of all,
How humbled they would be!
“Oh would some Power the giftie gie ’em,
To see themselves as others see ’em,”
’Twould much abate their fuss!
If they could think that from the iskies
They are as little in our eyes
As they can think of us!
Of us! are we gone out of sight?
Lessen’d! diminish’d! vanish’d quite!
Lost to the tiny town!
Beyond the Eagle’s ken — the grope
Of Dollond’s longest telescope!
Graham! we’re going down!
Ah me! I’ve touch’d a string that opes
The airy valve! — the gas elopes —
Down goes our bright Balloon! —
Farewell the skies! the clouds! I smell
The lower world! Graham, farewell,
Man of the silken moon!
The earth is close! the City nears —
Like a burnt paper it appears,
Studded with tiny sparks!
Methinks I hear the distant rout
Of coaches rumbling all about —
We’re close above the Parks!
I hear the watchmen on their beats,
Hawking the hour about the streets.
Lord! what a cruel jar
It is upon the earth to light!
Well — there’s the finish of our flight!
I’ve smoked my last segar!
† In Hood’s day Mr. Graham was one of a group of distinguished aeronauts which included Monck Mason, Hollond, Green, and others. Mr. Graham had made a memorable ascent in his Balloon in 1823.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51