An Inventory of the Furniture in Dr. Priestley's Study
by Anna LŠtitia Barbauld
1 A map of every country known,
2 With not a foot to call his own.
3 A list of folks that kicked a dust
4 On this poor globe, from Ptol. the First;
5 He hopes,-- indeed it is but fair,--
6 Some day to get a corner there.
7 A group of all the British kings,
8 Fair emblem! on a packthread swings.
9 The Fathers, ranged in goodly row,
10 A decent, venerable show,
11 Writ a great while ago, they tell us,
12 And many an inch o'ertop their fellows.
13 A Juvenal to hunt for mottos;
14 And Ovid's tales of nymphs and grottos.
15 The meek-robed lawyers all in white;
16 Pure as the lamb,-- at least, to sight.
17 A shelf of bottles, jar and phial,
18 By which the rogues he can defy all,--
19 All filled with lightning keen and genuine, 20 And many a little imp he'll pen you in;
21 Which, like Le Sage's sprite, let out,
22 Among the neighbours makes a rout;
23 Brings down the lightning on their houses,
24 And kills their geese, and frights their spouses.
25 A rare thermometer, by which
26 He settles, to the nicest pitch,
27 The just degrees of heat, to raise
28 Sermons, or politics, or plays.
29 Papers and books, a strange mixed olio,
30 From shilling touch to pompous folio;
31 Answer, remark, reply, rejoinder,
32 Fresh from the mint, all stamped and coined here;
33 Like new-made glass, set by to cool,
34 Before it bears the workman's tool.
35 A blotted proof-sheet, wet from Bowling.
36 --"How can a man his anger hold in?"--
37 Forgotten rimes, and college themes,
38 Worm-eaten plans, and embryo schemes;--
39 A mass of heterogeneous matter,
40 A chaos dark, no land nor water;--
41 New books, like new-born infants, stand,
42 Waiting the printer's clothing hand;--
43 Others, a mottly ragged brood,
44 Their limbs unfashioned all, and rude,
45 Like Cadmus' half-formed men appear;
46 One rears a helm, one lifts a spear,
47 And feet were lopped and fingers torn
48 Before their fellow limbs were born;
49 A leg began to kick and sprawl
50 Before the head was seen at all,
51 Which quiet as a mushroom lay
52 Till crumbling hillocks gave it way;
53 And all, like controversial writing,
54 Were born with teeth, and sprung up fighting.
55 "But what is this," I hear you cry,
56 "Which saucily provokes my eye?"--
57 A thing unknown, without a name,
58 Born of the air and doomed to flame.