"And those things do best please me,
That befall preposterously."
PUCK Junior, Midsummer Night's Dream.
Who wants old Puck? for here am I,
A mongrel imp, 'twixt earth and sky,
Ready alike to crawl or fly;
Now in the mud, now in the air,
And, so 'tis for mischief, reckless where.
As to my knowledge, there's no end to't,
For, where I haven't it, I pretend to't:
And, 'stead of taking a learned degree
At some dull university,
Puck found it handier to commence
With a certain share of impudence,
Which passes one off as learned and clever,
Beyond all other degrees whatever;
And enables a man of lively sconce
To be Master of all the Arts at once.
No matter what the science may be--
Ethics, Physics, Theology,
Aerostatics or Pneumatics--
Whatever it be, I take my luck,
'Tis all the same to ancient Puck;
Whose head's so full of all sorts of wares,
That a brother imp, old Smugden, swears
If I had but of law a little smattering,
I'd then be perfect--which is flattering.
My skill as a linguist all must know
Who met me abroad some months ago;
(And heard me abroad exceedingly,
In the moods and tenses of parlez vous)
When, as old Chambaud's shade stood mute,
I spoke such French to the Institute
As puzzled those learned Thebans much,
To know if 'twas Sanscrit or High Dutch,
And might have past with the unobserving
As one of the unknown tongues of Irving.
As to my talent for ubiquity,
There's nothing like it in all antiquity.
Like Mungo (my peculiar care)
"I'm here, I'm dere, I'm ebery where."
If any one's wanted to take the chair
Upon any subject, any where,
Just look around, and--Puck is there!
When slaughter's at hand, your bird of prey
Is never known to be out of the way:
And wherever mischief's to be got,
There's Puck instanter, on the spot.
Only find me in negus and applause,
And I'm your man for any cause.
If wrong the cause, the more my delight;
But I don’t object to it, even when right,
If I only can vex some old friend by't;
There's Durham, for instance;--to worry him
Fills up my cup of bliss to the brim!
(NOTE BY THE EDITOR.)
Those who are anxious to run a muck
Can’t do better than join with Puck.
They'll find him bon diable--spite of his phiz--
And, in fact, his great ambition is,
While playing old Puck in first-rate style,
To be thought Robin Good-fellow all the while.