ON THE LATE INVENTION OF THE PENNY POST BY MR. DOCKWRA.
"Volvitur and volvetur in omne volubilis oevum"
What Fools are they, who use to cry
Nature's grown crazy, old, and dry,
No new Inventions now can boast,
For that vast store of old was lost;
We know this is an age of Light,
Our Grandsires all were under Night,
Imperial Ink and dying purple were
Counted of old Inventions rare.
With napkins of peculiar Stuff
That could the force of Fire rebuff
Throw `em in to't, they took no hurt on't,
Hot brained Nero had a Shirt on't;
These with others fill the Roll,
Writ by learned Panciroll.*
The modern Ages can produce
Inventions, too, of wondrous use,
By which Dame Nature now may boast
Her prolific Force not lost.
Printing, the Compass, and the Gun,
And that lost Art which Marble run,
Lacker, Mill' Lead, the Sailing Carr,
And the new Lights** surprising rare ; --
All these have had their just applause,
Have made throughout the world a noise.
What God. what Man shall we accost ?
Great Patron of the Penny Post ?
Worthy, fam'd Panciroll, to stand
First in that List drawn by thy hand.
Mercury, thou Post of Heaven.
To thee the weighty Charge is given,
Thou long ago didst found a post
All along the Heavenly coast,
And daily thence thy journey taakes
O'er Hills and Dales, o'er Floods and Lakes,
Wings at thy Head and at thy Heels,
Thou like a Pidgeon-Carrier sails.
Sometimes charg'd with Love and News,
Sometimes from Jove with Billet-deux,
Sometimes with Baskets, Boxes, Tickets,
Thy mail is most stuft with Love-pacquets;
The clouds give way, as thou dost go,
And full-charged Thunder makes a Bow.
Ah ! then, who with thy charming Rod
Canst controul the sleepy God,
Vouchsafe to try poor Foot Post Race,
That when the Day's Fatigue is past,
Into sweet Sleep they may be cast.
To give the way let no Man scorn,
Altho' they carry ne'er a Horn
Their Task is greater than the Sun's,
He goes to Bed when he has done,
They only rest an hour at Noon.
As in the Soul of Man we find
Several fair chambers are design'd
The Heart, the Liver, and the Brain,
The lovely Guest to entertain,
Five port-hole senses too were made,
By which all objects are convey'd.
So that whate'er abroad was done
Is within as quickly known;
Whate'er is smeIt, seen, felt or heard.
As swift as flying Thought it runs,
Through winding paths, and secret Turns,
And to the Soul's Apartment straight repaired.
This way great Dockwra forth did chalk,
As a parterre from the grand walk
Leads many ways, his nimble Men,
After their Round, return and meet again.
For twenty miles these nimble Mercuries
Carefully convey advice-
Not Letters grav'd on Sculls, or Pidgeon post
Of greater Secrecy can boast.
Hail ! mighty Dockwra, Son of Art,
With Flavio, Middleton, or Swart,***
In the foremost Rank of Fame
Thou shalt fix thy lasting Name.
Nor New Inventors Fate thee hurt,
To be damn'd or beggar'd fort.
* Probably Guy Pancirr is meant, who wrote of many memorable things lost which were of use among the Ancients.
* * About Dockwra's time Glass Lights, or Convex Lights, first publicly used in London.
*** Allusion to the New River projector and the inventor of the Gun.
Source: "The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers"