[Page 192]


1 As the Chameleon, who is known
2 To have no Colors of his own;
3 But borrows from his Neighbour's Hue
4 His White or Black, his Green or Blew;
5 And struts as much in ready Light,
6 Which Credit gives Him upon Sight;
7 As if the Rain-bow were in Tail
8 Settl'd on Him, and his Heirs Male:
9 So the young 'Squire, when first He comes
10 From Country School to Will's or Tom's;
11 And equally, in Truth, is fit
12 To be a Statesman, or a Wit;
13 Without one Notion of his own,
14 He Santers wildly up and down;
15 'Till some Acquaintance, good or bad,
16 Takes notice of a staring Lad;
17 Admits Him in among the Gang:
18 They jest, reply, dispute, harangue:
19 He acts and talks, as They befriend Him,
20 Smear'd with the Colors, which They lend Him.
21 Thus merely, as his Fortune chances,
22 His Merit, or his Vice advances.
[Page 193]
23 If happly He the Sect pursues,
24 That read and comment upon News;
25 He takes up Their mysterious Face:
26 He drinks his Coffee without Lace.
27 This Week his Mimic-Tongue runs o'er
28 What They have said the Week before.
29 His Wisdom sets all Europe right;
30 And teaches Marlbrô when to Fight.
31 Or if it be his Fate to meet
32 With Folks who have more Wealth than Wit;
33 He loves cheap Port, and double Bub;
34 And settles in the Hum-Drum Club.
35 He learns how Stocks will Fall or Rise;
36 Holds Poverty the greatest Vice;
37 Thinks Wit the Bane of Conversation;
38 And says, that Learning spoils a Nation.
39 But if, at first, He minds his Hits,
40 And drinks Champaign among the Wits;
41 Five deep, He toasts the tow'ring Lasses;
42 Repeats you Verses wrote on Glasses;
43 Is in the Chair; prescribes the Law;
44 And Lies with Those he never saw.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE CHAMELEON.
Author: Matthew Prior
Genres: satire

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Source edition

Prior, Matthew, 1664-1721. Poems on Several Occasions [English poems only]. London: Printed for JACOB TONSON at Shakespear's-Head over against Katharine-Street in the Strand, and JOHN BARBER upon Lambeth-Hill. MDCCXVIII., 1718, pp. 192-193. [42],506,[6]p.: ill.; 2°. (ESTC T075639) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [H 6.8 Art.].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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