Of deep research and cogitation,
Of many a head and many a nation,
While all in vain
Have tried their wits to answer whether,
In silver, gold, steel, silk or leather,
Of human parts, or all together,
Consists thy brain!
When first I viewed thine awful face,
Rising above that ample case
Which gives thy cloven foot a place,
Thy double shoe,
I marvelled whether I had seen
Old Nick himself, or a machine,
Or something fixed midway between
The distant two!
A sudden shuddering seized my frame:
With feeling that defies a name,
Of wonder, horror, doubt and shame
The tout ensemble,
I deemed thee formed with power and will;
My hair rose up-my bloodstood still,
And curdled with a fearful chill,
Which made me tremble.
I thought if, e'en within thy glove,
Thy cold and fleshless hand should move
To rest on me, the touch should prove
Far worse than death;
That I should be transformed, and see
Thousands and thousands gaze on me,
A living, moving thing, like thee,
Devoid of breath
When busy, curious, learned and wise
Regard thee with inquiring eyes
To find wherein the mystery lies,
On thy stiff neck,
Turning thy head with grave precision,
Their optic light and mental vision
Alike defying, with decision,
Thou giv'st them "check!"
Some say a little man resides
Between thy narrow, bony sides
And round the world within thee rides;
Absurd the notion!
For what's the human thing would lurk
In thine unfeeling breast, Sir Turk,
Performing thus, thine inward work,
And outward motion?
Some whisper that thou art he, who fell
From Heaven's high courts, down, down, to dwell
In that place of sulphury smell
And lurid flame.
Thy keeper then deserves a pension,
For seeking out this wise invention
To hold thee harmless, in detention,
Close at thy game.
Now, though all Europe has confessed,
That in thy master Maelzel's breast
Hidden, thy secret still must rest,
Yet it were great pity,
With all our intellectual light
That none should view thy nature right, --
But thou must leave in fog and night
Our keen-eyed city.
The just confide in me, and show
Or tell, how things within thee go!
Speak in my ear so quick and low
None else shall know it.
But, mark me! If I should discover
Without thine aid, thy secret mover.
With thee for ever all is over,
I'll quickly blow it!