Anon
(c.1750)

Balance a straw
(Song)
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Theatre song whose tune was adopted by several Morris traditions. The tune was arranged (?perhaps composed) by James Oswald, who also used in in The Tulip (Airs for the Seasons).
Lyrics: Tobias Smollett

From the man whom I love, though my heart I disguise,
I will freely describe the wretch I despise;
And if he has sense but to balance a straw
He will sure take the hint from the picture I draw.

A wit without sense, without fancy a beau,
Like a parrot he chatters, and struts like a crow;
A peacock in pride, in grimace a baboon,
In courage a hind, in conceit a gascoon.
A peacock in pride, in grimace a baboon,
In courage a hind, in conceit a gascoon.

As a vulture rapacious, in falsehood a fox,
Inconstant as waves, and unfeeling as rocks:
As a tiger ferocious, perverse as a hog,
In mischief an ape, and in fawning a dog.
As a tiger ferocious, perverse as a hog,
In mischief an ape, and in fawning a dog.

In a word, to sum up all his talents together,
His heart is of lead, and his brain is of feather:
Yet, if he has sense but to balance a straw,
He will sure take a hint from the picture I draw.
Yet, if he has sense but to balance a straw,
He will sure take a hint from the picture I draw.