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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

A Simile

By Matthew Prior (1664–1721)

DEAR THOMAS, didst thou never pop

Thy head into a tinman’s shop?

There, Thomas, didst thou never see—

’Tis but by way of simile—

A squirrel spend his little rage

In jumping round a rolling cage?

The cage, as either side turned up,

Striking a ring of bells a-top?—

Moved in the orb, pleased with the chimes,

The foolish creature thinks he climbs;

But here or there, turn wood or wire,

He never gets two inches higher.

So fares it with those merry blades

That frisk it under Pindus’s shades:

In noble songs and lofty odes,

They tread on stars and talk with gods;

Still dancing in an airy round,

Still pleased with their own verses’ sound:

Brought back, how fast soe’er they go,

Always aspiring, always low.