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A Flying Visit
by [?]


“A Calendar! a Calendar! look in the Almanac, find
out moonshine–find out moonshine!”–Midsummer
Night’s Dream
.

I.

The by-gone September,
As folks may remember,
At least if their memory saves but an ember,
One fine afternoon,
There went up a Balloon,
Which did not return to the Earth very soon.

II.

For, nearing the sky,
At about a mile high,
The Aeronaut bold had resolved on a fly;
So cutting his string,
In a Parasol thing
Down he came in a field like a lark from the wing.

III.

Meanwhile, thus adrift,
The Balloon made a shift
To rise very fast, with no burden to lift;
It got very small,
Then to nothing at all;
And then rose the question of where it would fall?

IV.

Some thought that, for lack
Of the man and his pack,
‘Twould rise to the cherub that watches Poor Jack;
Some held, but in vain,
With the first heavy rain
‘Twould surely come down to the Gardens again!

V.

But still not a word
For a month could be heard
Of what had become of the Wonderful Bird;
The firm Gye and Hughes,
Wore their boots out and shoes,
In running about and inquiring for news.

VI.

Some thought it must be
Tumbled into the Sea;
Some thought it had gone off to High Germanie
For Germans, as shown
By their writings, ’tis known
Are always delighted with what is high-flown.

VII.

Some hinted a bilk,
And that maidens who milk,
In far distant Shires would be walking in silk:
Some swore that it must,
“As they said at the fust,
Have gone again’ flashes of lightning and bust!”

VIII.

However, at last,
When six weeks had gone past,
Intelligence came of a plausible cast;
A wondering clown,
At a hamlet near town,
Had seen “like a moon of green cheese” coming down.

IX.

Soon spread the alarm,
And from cottage and farm,
The natives buzz’d out like the bees when they swarm;
And off ran the folk,–
It is such a good joke
To see the descent of a bagful of smoke.

X.

And lo! the machine,
Dappled yellow and green,
Was plainly enough in the clouds to be seen:
“Yes, yes,” was the cry,
“It’s the old one, surely,
Where can it have been such a time in the sky?”

XI.

“Lord! where will it fall?
It can’t find out Vauxhall,
Without any pilot to guide it at all!”
Some wager’d that Kent
Would behold the event,
Debrett had been posed to predict its descent.

XII.

Some thought it would pitch
In the old Tower Ditch,
Some swore on the Cross of St. Paul’s it would hitch;
And Farmers cried “Zounds!
If it drops on our grounds,
We’ll try if Balloons can’t be put into pounds.”

XIII.

But still to and fro
It continued to go,
As if looking out for soft places below;
No difficult job,
It had only to bob
Slap-dash down at once on the heads of the mob:

XIV.

Who, too apt to stare
At some castle in air,
Forget that the earth is their proper affair;
Till, watching the fall
Of some soap-bubble ball,
They tumble themselves with a terrible sprawl.

XV.

Meanwhile, from its height
Stooping downward in flight,
The Phenomenon came more distinctly in sight:
Still bigger and bigger,
And strike me a nigger
Unfreed, if there was not a live human figure!