A Song by Percival Stockdale

Do great atchievements fire thy breast;
Do martial trophies break thy rest?
Or laurels of eternal bloom,
Like those that hallow CÆSAR’S tomb?
To memory bring the fatal ball,
Perhaps not sent from FREDERICKSHALL,
Which proved the SWEDE’S illustrious fame,
An air-balloon, an empty name.

Or does the bright poetic muse
To nobler glory raise your views?
Sagacious malice checks your aim,
And poverty repels your flame.

When envy with the poet dies,
His rapid fame through EUROPE flies;
But ‘tis to genius, after death,
An air-balloon, an empty breath.

Or fonder of domestic life,
The lover weds a charming wife;
Anticipates unfading joys,
And gentle girls, and sprightly boys;
But female tyranny comes forth,
And throws aside fictitious worth;
The course of one revolving moon
May prove your bliss an air-balloon.

Through life, whate’er our lot, we’re all
Like MONTGOLFIER’S elastic ball;
We all attract admiring eyes;
The court, or village we surprize;
Now soar to some ethereal height;
Met by rude gales, now sink our flight;
To parent earth, at length, descend;
The trivial sport, and wonder end.

London, Feb. 16th 1784.

From: Stockdale, Percival, Poems, 1800, J. Catnach: Alnwick, pp. 14-15.

Date: 1784

By: Percival Stockdale (1736-1811)


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