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Perchance a kingly pericranium once Borrow'd a look of diguity from thee; Then you peep'd down on ev'ry other sconce, Just as an elephant would eye a flea.

Then was each glorious thought beneath thy care, Thou might'st be said to hatch each royal whim; Except, indeed, oh! tegument of hair,

The nightcap claim'd the royal dreams so grim.

Or else a prince's head you may have warm'd, (For princes, we are told, wear wigs call'd scratches),

Where nought but god-like fancies ever swarm'd, Whence wisdom emanated in large batches.

Oh, gentle wig, if such a fate was thine,

Thou must have felt each hair of thee grow

For princes ever with great virtues shine,
Such is the vast effect of being royal.

I never knew a prince that got in debt,

Or broke his word, or treated ill his friend, Or squandered thousands on some idle bet, Or injur'd morals when he ought to mend.

Wig, let me tell thee, if thou know'st it not,
These are the faults of vile untitled sinners;
A prince was never known to be a sot,

Or place his good in women, wine and dinners.

Perchance a marquis, or perchance a duke,

Or earl, or baron, wore thee, wig of fame;
To whom thou gav'st the greatness of their look,
Where merit had bestow'd a deathless name.

A bishop's upper works you may have deck'd,
So full of wisdom, and so cramm'd with grace;
With no one worldly sin, so naughty, speck'd,
Nor shewing rubicundity of face.

Whose form was by no paunch, so montrous, spoil'd,
Fill'd up with fish, and flesh, and fowl, and tart,
With fricassed and fried, and roast and boil'd,
Enough to load a wheelbarrow or cart.

No, heaven be praised! our British bishops, bless 'em,

Are all as thin and meek as saints of old;

The people all so willingly caress 'em,

Scarce deeming them of common earthly mould

Cover'd, perchance, the noddle of a cook;

If so, I love him, whether saint or sinner, For, oh, I rev'rence more than bed or book,

The man that kindly sets me down to dinner.

Then, by degrees, methinks I see thee go
From head to head, of various degree,
Till fancy fixes you-oh, seat of woe!
On head of poet poor, alas! like me.

From thence descending to the other end,

Some shoeblack seizes thee, in lane or street, And as you once were known of heads the friend, So now you deign to furbish for the feet.

Cast off by him, thy latter end was near,
But fate has giv'n thee, wig, another squeak,
Thus, mopstick mounted, lo! I see thee here,
To scare the owner of each hungry beak.

So some great man, or man that would be great, Frets, fumes, and speechifies, so wond'rous big, But sinks at last, so mutable is fate,

Into a downright mopstick and a wig.

Farewell, peruque! and while my thanks I give,
For all the thoughts elicited by thee;
Think that thy fame eternally will live,
And gain an immortality with me.


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