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Enigma
by [?]


monstrum nulla virtute redemptum.

Come, riddle-me-ree, come, riddle-me-ree,
And tell me what my name may be.
I am nearly one hundred and thirty years old,
And therefore no chicken, as you may suppose;–
Tho’ a dwarf in my youth (as my nurses have told),
I have, every year since, been out-growing my clothes:
Till at last such a corpulent giant I stand,
That if folks were to furnish me now with a suit,
It would take every morsel of scrip in the land
But to measure my bulk from the head to the foot.
Hence they who maintain me, grown sick of my stature,
To cover me nothing but rags will supply;
And the doctors declare that in due course of nature
About the year 30 in rags I shall die.
Meanwhile, I stalk hungry and bloated around,
An object of interest most painful to all;
In the warehouse, the cottage, the place I’m found,
Holding citizen, peasant, and king in nay thrall.
Then riddle-me-ree, oh riddle-me-ree,
Come tell me what my name may be.

When the lord of the counting-house bends o’er his book,
Bright pictures of profit delighting to draw,
O’er his shoulders with large cipher eyeballs I look,
And down drops the pen from his paralyzed paw!
When the Premier lies dreaming of dear Waterloo,
And expects thro’ another to caper and prank it,
You’d laugh did you see, when I bellow out “Boo!”
How he hides his brave Waterloo head in the blanket.
When mighty Belshazzar brims high in the hall
His cup, full of gout, to the Gaul’s overthrow,
Lo, “Eight Hundred Millions” I write on the wall,
And the cup falls to earth and–the gout to his toe!
But the joy of my heart is when largely I cram
My maw with the fruits of the Squirearchy’s acres,
And knowing who made me the thing that I am,
Like the monster of Frankenstein, worry my makers.
Then riddle-me-ree, come, riddle-me-ree,
And tell, if thou know’st, who I may be.