An Enigma

Communicated by Miss E. Richardson


I am not tall, yet I am high
I am not short, yet I am low,
I cannot move, yet I can fly
I cannot walk, yet I can go.


I am quite dumb, yet I can speak,
And what must still excite your wonder
I’m very strong tho’ I am weak
And when I talk it is in thunder.


Huge is my mouth tho’ it is small
Bulbous my snout like a potatoe
And tho’ I have no foot at all
I have a little and a great toe.


Ugly as sin and black as night
I’m odious as the stubborn Jonas
Yet fair as all the sons of light
And lovely as the young Adonis.


My jaws are roomy like an oven
Nay than a kitchen chimney wider
And when I ope them you might shove in
A hogshead full of ale or cider.


Six strapping youngsters call me sire
And I’m the mother of a dozen
Begot in air and born in fire
And every one of them my cousin.


I march before a train of dames
Majestic as a reverend gander
And lead them all thro’ fire and flame
Unhurt like an salamander.